For players who do not know how to begin their Minecraft journey, this Beginner's Guide provides advice to get your first game off to a good start, and in particular what to do in your first day, so as to comfortably survive through the following night. There are three sections: The first one discusses the interface and controls, the second provides an overview with goals, and the third provides step-by-step instructions. Within the game, while following this guide you also receive announcements of several achievements; you can see that page for full details of achievements, but for now you can safely ignore them. You may also acquire some experience; again, ignore this for now, as it is not useful until later in the game.
Before reading this page, it's expected for players to have already bought and downloaded the game. You must create a new world before starting the tutorial. For Java Edition, the page Tutorials/Menu screen can help with that. For your first game, you should probably select Easy or Normal difficulty; if you usually have a lot of trouble finding your feet in new games, you may want to consider starting in peaceful mode. A new player may also wish to enable the Bonus Chest option, which gives you a few resources to start off with, but this tutorial assumes you do not have a bonus chest.
It is entirely possible for your character to die in this game, but that doesn't end the game — indeed, it's mostly an inconvenience. If you take enough damage to die, your possessions fall where you died, and your character respawns elsewhere. By default, you respawn at a random spot within 20 blocks of the "world spawn", exactly as you did when starting the game. Using a bed lets you pick a specific spot to respawn (this is an important step, and beds are mentioned several times in this guide). Once you respawn, you have 5 minutes to get back to where you died, to retrieve your items before they disappear. Unfortunately, this isn't always an option: If you fell into lava, at least some of your items probably burned up in the lava, and if your death site is still guarded by the monster that killed you (or your items have fallen into the depths) you might not be able to retrieve them. See the page on Death for more information.