It is an Inde development game by 'Notch' who has earned a large sum of money from all the participants who donated to try out his Alpha release of the game. He received so much money that there was talk about Paypal seizing his Paypal account and alot of money was taken by Paypal never to be seen again by the developer (this story is arguable).
Anyway.. back to game discussion.
The game is popular because it is all "Procedural Generated" so nothing is the same each time you create a new world as it will be randomly generated each time. What is also popular about the game is so ridiculously simple art style as the world is made up of blocks which are textured in pixels (some texture packs can make them look more detailed but..), its almost like lego how you can manipulate the world.
If you bunch a tree block you get a tree block in your inventory which you can then either plant anywhere like a lego block or put it into your crafting system and craft new items or blocks out of it.
To create a minecraft game or to buy the game (Its very small and is either digital download or you can run it straight from your browser since the game is made in Java)http://www.minecraft.net/
The game has 3 gamemodes. Survival, Creative and Hardcore. (and technically Adventure)Survival
- start on a server and start mining to craft better items to better yourself in the environment full of monsters trying to kill you.Creative
- Your inventory no longer shows what you carry, but its pretty much a store of every block in the game which you can place down. Punching a block will instantly remove it so you can shape the world anyway you want.Hardcore
- A new gamemode which is Survival except if you die its perma-death so you won't respawn again.*Adventure
- Its a gamemode mentioned by the fan community as people make maps using modding tools and/or creative mode and then make up a story which you have to follow in survival mode. It usually includes reading notes from signs or notepad documents along side the game so you can be immersed in a storyline.