Mojang's Minecraft is a game about building in more ways than one. Its loose gameplay structure, open world, and massive popularity has turned it into fertile fuel for fans who use Notch's blocks to express themselves creatively, sometimes with amazing results.
Look around the community long enough and you'll find several projects worth pointing out.
The Legend of Herobrine
If a video game, TV show, or other element of media becomes popular enough, it may well spawn one or more "creepypasta" tales. "Creepypasta" is a tortured slang term for a scary story. And while the term may be relatively new, the practice of adding dark lore to otherwise harmless kids' stuff sure isn't.
The legend and lore spun around the ghostly Minecraft character "Herobrine" is a good example. This blocky haunter was born on 4chan's /v/ board, but he catapulted into the larger Minecraft mythos after pictures of his "existence" were fed into the chat of a BroCraft stream.
According to the tales, Herobrine is the spirt of Minecraft creator Notch's deceased brother who somehow still lives in-game. Notch has denied the existence of Herobrine with a mix of exasperation and amusement. He's assured Minecraft fans several times over that he doesn't have a brother, let alone a dead one. He once told reddit "The Herobrine stuff is awesome and kind of scary at the same time. It really shows how little control a content producer has over the content."
Depending on who's telling the story, Herobrine can be benevolent or malevolent. His presence is usually heralded by trees without leaves and mysterious tunnels and pyramids. Whatever his motivation, he always has white eyes that glow softly, and he's not easily approached.
Herobrine features in a lot of Minecraft fan works, including some of the ones referenced on this list.
The Gameknight999 Series
The Gameknight999 series is an expansive line of books by author Mark Cheverton. The adventures star the titular Gameknight999, a boy who's zapped into the world of Minecraft after he fiddles with his father's experiment (which, of course, is placed precariously close to the computer running the game).
Gameknight999's scrapes with video game danger should resonate with older game fans who grew up with FX Nine's cheesy Nintendo game-based novels. But being a product of a very connected time in gaming, Cheverton's series also carries important messages about online etiquette and fair play. Gameknight999 begins the first book as a troll and a griefer who antagonizes other Minecraft players, but he learns a hard lesson about why that sort of behavior is uncool.
The Fallen Kingdom Video Trilogy
You'd run out of numbers before you managed to tally all the Minecraft music videos on YouTube, but three are particularly worthy of a mention: Fallen Kingdom, Take Back the Night, and Find the Pieces. Put together, the videos tell the story of a king whose kingdom is lost to Herobrine until he's avenged by his son.
The Fallen Kingdom videos are impressive pieces of work assembled by an entire team of animators and builders. The anthem for each story is written and sung by TryHardNinja, who parodied Coldplay's Vida la Vida for the first video but wrote original music for the other two.
Give them a watch. You might be surprised at how much emotion you're made to feel over characters built out of blocks.
Mods, Mods, Mods
It wouldn't do to talk about Minecraft fan works without giving a shout-out to the countless mods currently available for the game. Some, er, give you a leg-up in Mojang's world (like the X-Ray mod that lets you seek out valuable minerals without digging), while others add incredible depth to the base experience.
Minecraft has mods for improved graphics, realistic dinosaurs, mutant creatures, water-blocks, custom NPCs, and much more. We've already highlighted some of the cooler ones in a handy list.
Like Minecraft music videos, it's hard to narrow down Minecraft's global reconstruction projects to a single re-creation of note. But if forced with the threat of flaying, we'd have to give the nod to Jacob Granberry's build of Westeros, the war-torn continent from George RR Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire books / HBO's Game of Thrones TV series.
The project, which was built with the help of fans, has a tour video narrated by Isaac Hempstead-Wright, who plays Bran Stark in the show. Epic work deserves epic narration.