Minecraft: The Biggest Underground Trend of 2010?

December 22, 2010

The sandbox building game Minecraft first hit the web in May and exploded rapidly within the gaming world, receiving some media attention, but also creating a big web video trend that's gone unnoticed by many who don't closely follow web culture. It's a simple and open game created by Swedish programmer Markus "Notch" Persson with near limitless possibility, combining elements from strategy games and sheer user creativity. (Here's an introduction video created by YouTuber dreadmaker, which is pretty comprehensive.)

As you can see in this chart, searches on YouTube for "minecraft" videos have grown quickly and are peaking this this week with word of the game's move from its alpha version to a beta version. (For comparison, searches for "minecraft" have at times spiked significantly higher than some major news stories like "wikileaks," where video is concerned.)

So where does the YouTube part come in? As the video above shows, you can manipulate blocks and other objects within the game to create various structures and tools. While the idea was to use these abilities to protect your character, many power users began meticulously designing elaborate structures and devices.

Self-captured videos of those incredible creations then get posted to YouTube and shared among other fans within the Minecraft community for others to enjoy, pass along, and discuss. In addition to the Minecraft site, Reddit.com has become one of the most popular forums for spreading these. As of right now, the top 10 most-viewed Minecraft videos have drawn a total of over 15 million views.

Want to see some? (You do.)

This playlist chart shows some of the most popular and impressive creations from users around the world (click graphs to see videos):

What's most incredible about this is not just how quickly the popularity of videos like these grew, but also the amount of creativity, time, and commitment involved to producing them.

Have you spotted any others?