Designed by one man, Markus “Notch” Persson, and downloaded over 1.3 million times at $20 apiece despite its primitive graphics, minimalist setup and overall unfinished state, the PC game has become a breakout hit amongst gaming enthusiasts. The title is currently playable in Web browsers and available for online download. An open-ended building game wherein players explore a charmingly blocky 8-bit world gathering resources for their increasingly inventive constructions, it was an unexpected favorite with industry insiders.
Arguably doing for independent gaming what Angry Birds has done for mobile games, Minecraft continues to surge in popularity — despite, or maybe because, of the way in which it recalls the early days of freeware and shareware. Hundreds of fanciful creations keep popping up online, an original documentary on the game’s cultural influence is in the works, and Persson recently invested profits from the game in opening professional studio Mojang.