Will I be able to make this work in vanilla Minecraft, or do I need a mod to enable it?
What features (if any) do I gain by accessing the console?
Thanks to Tobias for the suggestion, from this thread.
The "console" isn't a part of Vanilla Minecraft, it's part of the Single Player Commands mod. By installing the mod, you can type in commands (listed in the thread linked) by hitting T, as if you were chatting in SMP.
Here's a video from the developer showcasing the commands.
As single player now has commands as well1 (albeit most depend on the "cheats" option on world creation): press the / (slash) key (or whatever key you have mapped to the "command" option in key mappings).
1 Since V1.3.1.
This is a very old question, and a lot has changed in Minecraft since this question was asked. In versions of Minecraft before 1.3, there were no single player commands, so in order to access such features, you needed to install external mods such as the Single Player Commands mod.
Now, you can access all these commands in-game without the need of installation of external mods. This can be done be typing
Command blocks could not be obtained from the creative menu, but rather by the command
I hope this helps explain all the new (or not so new) features of command blocks!
To enter a command, you type a / and then the command, inside the chat. To open the chat, press t(by default). The command
But to enter a command, you must have priveleges to enter a command. You can get those priveleges by allowing them on world creation(
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