Minecraft's Poisonous Potato update is a joke that's better than real updates: How to play it

The logo for the gag Poisonous Potato update in Minecraft
(Image credit: Mojang Studios)

On April 1, 2024, Mojang Studios released an unusual update for the hit game Minecraft: the Poisonous Potato update. It may be fun and silly, but it highlights a growing issue with the direction of Minecraft, one that might tank the massively popular game if Mojang doesn't change course.

I've been playing Minecraft for over 10 years now, so I've seen the game have its ups and downs. Mojang's April Fool's joke this year brought the game into all-new territory, though. Somehow, Mojang seems to have put more effort and creativity into a gag update than they have in most of their recent real updates. 

Here's a look at the Poisonous Potato controversy and how to play it yourself. 

The Poisonous Potato update is a joke — and a big issue

The splash screen for the gag Poisonous Potato update in Minecraft

(Image credit: Mojang Studios)

Mojang Studios quite literally outdid themselves for their April Fool's joke this year. Rather than simply post some Minecraft memes, they created an entirely new version of the game called the Poisonous Potato update. 

The press release announcing the update jokingly says, "Mojang Studios is proud to release our most well-boiled update to date," a statement that leaves a bad taste in the mouth considering the state of recent legitimate updates. The "Poisonous Potato" update is a joke, but Minecraft fans were quick to notice how extensive it is for a gag. In fact, you can actually play it. 

The Poisonous Potato update plays off one notoriously useless item in Minecraft, the poisonous potato, which will give you food poisoning if you eat it. Mojang created a wildly detailed gag update themed around this unfortunate spud, complete with new items, abilities, five new biomes, a poisonous potato boss, and even a whole new dimension in the game.

Many of the comments on Mojang's X/Twitter post announcing the gag included a mix of complements and complaints. One user, @MonarxhGaming, commented, "SO WE CAN MAKE A NEW BOSS AND DIMENSION FOR AN [APRIL] FOOLS JOKE BUT STILL NO END UPDATE." Both the all caps and shock expressed here perfectly sum up the frustration surrounding this joke update. 

A potato maze and reskinned abandoned mine in Minecraft's Poisonous Potato update

(Image credit: Mojang Studios)

If the End got this treatment, Minecraft fans the world over would be cheering in Mojang's X/Twitter comments. Unfortunately, fans were left shocked at the creativity of a fake update compared with disappointing real updates.

I love Minecraft. I get excited about every update and give it a fair shot. That said, I haven't truly loved an official update since the stunning Nether overhaul in version 1.16. The Caves and Cliffs update (1.17 and 1.18) looks cool, but makes world generation extremely resource-intensive, so it's difficult or even impossible to play Minecraft on many lower-spec computers. It also changes exploration significantly, making it a challenge to clear caves due to their sheer size.

The Wild update (version 1.19) caught my attention with the addition of ancient cities and the new Warden mob. However, I was disappointed to find that the Warden is not actually designed to be beatable, meaning it's tough to clear and explore ancient cities. Plus, the massive portal frames in the ancient cities don't go anywhere, despite being a seemingly perfect opportunity to add a new dimension to the game.

There are also smaller, although arguably more controversial, slights in recent updates, particularly when it comes to mobs. Every year Mojang holds a Mob Vote event where fans vote on which new mob will be added to the game. If celebrities and streamers get involved, it can lead to controversy, like the glow squid incident in 2020.

Even if the voting itself wasn't problematic, the mobs often end up being lackluster at best. For instance, while the sniffer looks cool, it's hard to find and its special ability isn't all that useful in actual gameplay. At the same time, highly-anticipated mobs, like fireflies, have been canceled or lost to the Mob Vote.

How to play the Poisonous Potato Update on Minecraft Java Edition

A new potato forest biome in Minecraft's Poisonous Potato update

(Image credit: Mojang Studios)

Considering all of this controversy, it's understandable that many Minecraft fans are frustrated with the Poisonous Potato update. The fact that it's just a joke makes it all the more frustrating. Hopefully, the backlash from this April Fool's joke motivates Mojang to bring this level of creativity to their next official update. 

Until then, you can try out the Poisonous Potato update yourself on Minecraft: Java Edition. Here's how. 

First, open the Minecraft launcher and make sure you're on Java edition. To the left of the big "PLAY" button, you can select the version of the game you're running. Currently, the Poisonous Potato update is the latest snapshot ("24w14potato"). If Mojang leaves the Poisonous Potato update available after they release their next snapshot, you will be able to find it in the Installations tab on the Minecraft launcher. 

Launch Minecraft with the Poisonous Potato snapshot. You'll need to create a new world. I suggest turning on cheats when you do if you just want to get into the new Poisonous Potato dimension and have a look around. 

The new pedestal portal in the Poisonous Potato Minecraft update

(Image credit: Mojang Studios)

Once in your new world, grab all of the materials in the mandatory bonus chest, which includes some starter poisonous potatoes you'll need soon. Find the nearest village or use the /locate command to search for a "pedestal" under points of interest (POI). Pedestals are located in villages and act as portals. If you place a poisonous potato on one, a blocky yellow void will appear on top. By stepping into it, you'll be transported to the Poisonous Potato dimension. 

Potato villagers in Minecraft's Poisonous Potato update

(Image credit: Mojang Studios)

Here you can explore the tatter-inspired biomes, complete with reskinned mobs and villagers. There are floating dungeons similar to abandoned mineshafts, mazes, and all kinds of new potato-themed blocks and items. You'll want to either bring an elytra or go into creative mode to easily navigate the giant islands of the Poisonous Potato dimension, though. 

And if you're thinking about heavy mods with this, consider using one of the best gaming laptops of 2024.

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Stevie Bonifield
Freelance Writer

Stevie Bonifield is a freelance tech journalist specializing in keyboards, peripherals, gaming gear, and mobile tech. Outside of writing, Stevie loves indie games, photography, and building way too many custom keyboards