Local Gamer Brings Minecraft World Record Back To Lunenburg

(Photo contributed)

The Guinness World Record for the longest tunnel in Minecraft survival mode once again belongs to Lunenburg gamer Brett Clarke.

At 169,420 blocks long, this virtual tunnel was dug in a straight line, but Brett’s path to the record was anything but.

Streaming under the Twitch handle @Jorst123, Brett pushed his body and mind to the limit for his dedicated live audience and defeated a gaming juggernaut from the other side of the globe.

Since its release in 2011, Minecraft has sold over 300,000,000 copies, making it the top selling video game of all time. It features quirky block graphics and no clear instructions, other than to collect resources and build whatever structures the player can imagine. At the time, Minecraft’s appeal wasn’t clear to local gamer, Brett Clarke.

“I knew of Minecraft and I never understood it,” Brett says of his early exposure to the game, “I didn’t get it and I kind of still don’t.”

“Kids know how to play it and they don’t know how to explain it.”

Brett’s partner Shannon Blair adds, “I tried to play Minecraft once and I could not understand it at all. I saw blocks and then I died.”

But after watching videos of popular streamer Dr. Lupo construct some amazing Minecraft buildings, they began to see the game’s allure. 

“We were like, ok, that actually looks kind of fun,” Brett says, “We got our friends to play it, we got my nephew to join. We were all building this world together and it was a lot of fun.”

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Brett began his own Twitch stream, playing Minecraft for a live online audience.

“My first stream, I was digging in a straight line, digging for diamonds in Minecraft,” Brett recalls, “and eventually I got to 50,000 blocks long and I was like huh, I wonder what the world’s longest tunnel is.”

After reviewing the 188 Minecraft related records on the Guinness Book Of World Records website, Brett discovered that no record for longest tunnel had been set. He contacted Guinness and set out to make Minecraft history.

“So, I kept on digging,” Brett says of the halcyon days of the first record attempt, “That was pretty much my stream, was digging in a straight line for five or six hours a day. Oddly enough, we were having a lot of fun doing it, me and my Twitch chat.”

Twelve weeks into the expedition, Brett finally received word from the Guinness Book of World Records. An attached PDF detailed Guinness’ rules that must be followed in order to verify that the tunnel was truly the world’s longest. Two immediately stood out.

Longest Minecraft Tunnel In Survival Mode Rule 6 There is no time limit for the attempt but it must be completed in one sitting.

Longest Minecraft Tunnel In Survival Mode Rule 9 The measuring of the tunnel must be witnessed by two independent witnesses who have knowledge of videogames [sic].

The current tunnel was completely invalid. 

At this point, Brett could have logged off and forgotten the whole thing. But, spurred on by his Twitch chat and his own sense of determination, he decided to begin again, this time with a new goal, 69,420 blocks.

On August 13, 2021, with Shannon and a fellow Twitch streamer sworn in as official witnesses, Brett began the daylong dig.

Bathroom breaks were coordinated between Brett and the witnesses, so that someone was watching the tunnel at all times.

Within 25 hours, the tunnel had reached 69,420 blocks. Then, in accordance with Guinness regulations, Brett spent an additional two hours and 47 minutes walking the entirety of the tunnel from beginning to end. In total, setting the record took 27 hours and 47 minutes of consecutive gameplay.

Then, all that was left was the month-long process of uploading the witness statements and two separate angles of video to the Guinness portal (56 separate one hour 720p videos had to be individually uploaded).

12 weeks later, Brett received an official certificate from Guinness, proving that he had the longest Minecraft tunnel in the world.

Life went on for Brett and Shannon after that. They moved back to the South Shore, founded Gooder Baked, a natural bakery, and began playing games other than Minecraft. Little did they know, the record was under threat from a rival on the other side of the globe.

On February 1, 2023, YouTube sensation Thomas Horabin spent 32 hours digging a 100,000 block Minecraft tunnel in Taiwan.

A 12 minute highlight reel of his record breaking dig is currently Tom’s most popular video, reaching over 563,000 views.

Translations of the Mandarin video have not been verified by Barnacle staff, however sections of the video depict Tom watching Brett set the record, studying his techniques, and raising an eyebrow at the number 69,420. The YouTube giant celebrated his victory with his 54,000 subscribers.

Guinness did not contact Brett to let him know his record had been broken.

“One day I Googled it and it was someone else’s name,” Brett says of the fateful moment that his accomplishment was unceremoniously erased.

Soon, comments began appearing on Brett’s social media. A comment on his YouTube channel from one year ago reads “Dude, Your Guinness World Record has been broken. It has now reached 100,000.” Brett replied, “For now. :)”

“Every time I heard something about it, I said to myself, I have the ambition to beat this,” Brett says, “I have not given up. Just need some time, we’ll get it back.”

While Brett was publicly smiling, his path to reclaiming the record looked bleak. In addition to the new pressures of running a business and owning a home, he became plagued by technical difficulties. 

“Shortly after we moved and got settled in, my hard drive on my PC crashed. I literally lost everything. All the video, my saved Minecraft world, even the tunnel itself,” Brett recounts, “That tunnel’s gone.”

Undeterred, Brett launched an official attempt to reclaim the record. But this time around, things didn’t go as planned.

“It was hard to find a day and then an extra day off afterwards to recover that also worked with my witnesses,” Brett says of the second attempt.

“The second time, I didn’t know it was actually going to happen,” Shannon recalls, “And then he set a date, but you weren’t prepared. It failed and we cut it off after a couple hours.”

Six hours in, Brett’s character fell into a pit of lava and died. The attempt was shut down.

“The witnesses were a little frustrated,” Shannon recalls, “Myself and this other woman who has a child, we were both a little annoyed.”

Yet, Brett persisted. He got to work, developing a new strategy with the help of Shannon and his devoted Twitch following. Different pickaxe types were tested for maximum efficiency, new possible digging coordinates were experimented with. Nothing was left to chance.

And finally, with a new optimal strategy in place, practice tunnels dug, and potions and axes fully stocked, Brett was ready. And on January 23, 2024, he reclaimed his record.

In a relatively brisk 21 hours, (13 hours of digging, 9 hours of walking) he dug a tunnel that was 169,420 blocks long, beating his original record by a full 100,000 blocks.

On May 22, 2024, he received his updated certificate from Guinness, once again officially declaring Brett Clarke of Lunenburg, Nova Scotia the record holder of World’s Longest Minecraft Tunnel.

While this new achievement is in every way equal to both previous tunnels combined, the new record hasn’t brought Brett peace of mind.

The spectre of Thomas Horabin’s return has haunted him from the moment the new tunnel was dug. While he holds no personal grudge against his rival, Brett is not ready to let Thomas take the record again without a fight.

“I think he’s actually a really nice guy. He seems like a good, smart kid,” he says, “But, there’s a part of me that’s like, I’m the tunnel guy. I’ve got the record, I set it twice. It’s been 69,420 both times. Back off.”

Despite Brett’s determination, it is unclear if his witnesses will stay awake for over 24 hours to watch him play Minecraft for a third time.

While the future of the Guinness World Record for Longest Tunnel in Minecraft is uncertain, one thing is sure. For now, it resides with Brett Clarke, right here in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia – where it belongs.

UPDATE: On May 26th, 2024, Thomas Horabin made an attempt to reclaim the record. As of press time, this attempt has not yet been recognized by Guinness.


One response to “Local Gamer Brings Minecraft World Record Back To Lunenburg”

  1. Zack

    Congratulations Brett! Thank you for bringing this record back home where it belongs. Great article, Bryn & Barnacle!

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