What is Minecraft?
Minecraft is a game with few boundaries. The single player version has been described as "virtual Lego with zombies." The multiplayer versions, both survival and creative build mode, are slightly more complicated than that.
Minecraft was originally called 'Cave Game' and the first phase of development would be now called 'Classic' and started on May 10th 2009. This phase ended on December 23rd 2009 and started the phase of 'Indev'. Mojang however still have the 'Classic' version on their website as a sort of demo for Minecraft even though it is of poor quality compared to the current version of Minecraft. During Indev, Mojang focused mainly on turning the game into more of a Survival game whilst keeping the Creative aspect. Following InDev was InfDev which was launched on February 27th 2010. This was a test on Minecraft launching it's infinite map system where as the name suggests the map would be infinite instead of a square building area. Minecraft was then launched into the 'Alpha' phase on June 29th 2010. This was possibly one of the biggest updates to Minecraft and had 'secret' Friday updates every week. After the "Boo update" of Halloween 2010, things are even more complicated than they seem. The Boo update introduced 'biomes', areas of land that have different atmospheric conditions, weather phenomena, tree and grass types, to others. For instance, tropical forest is a Biome type. So is Arctic Tundra. The game's creator has been working hard to assure that biomes logically progress between each classification. In December 2010 the 'Alpha' phase was stopped on the 20th and the 'Beta' phase began. This would be the final stage of development where Mojang focused more on making Minecraft more stable rather than adding features (which they still did). One of the main features added during this time was an ending to Minecraft. After this was done the 'Beta' phase was almost over and the release version of Minecraft was released on November 18th 2011 and was celebrated with an event called MineCon. Minecraft still gets updates every month or so and also weekly development builds but is now lead by Jeb as Notch decided to stand down as the lead developer to go work on a new game.
You can build anything you like, craft tools to help you gather resources, farm, hunt, sail and, of course, mine. You can visit new worlds including The Nether and The End and also various Minecraft servers online. Minecraft is also special enough to have its own modding community to open up the world of Minecraft to new capabilities.
Start with the first chapter Basic Minecraft Setup or jump ahead using the navigation menu on the left.