Whether you love or loathe it, there's no denying the impact of Minecraft. It's rampant success transformed the simple block builder into a cultural phenomenon, spawning astounding creations and fueling the creative fires of gamers the world over. Which is odd since there was almost a reality where Nintendo, as opposed to one-man-developer Notch, had been in charge.
This alternate reality was hinted at by Shigeru Miyamoto—whose official job title is 'Creative Fellow', because of course—during an interview with Glixel, where he stated that #Nintendo had been designing something 'very similar' to #Minecraft for the Nintendo 64.
Nintendo Were Working On A Similar Game To Minecraft In The N64 Era
While Miyamoto tends to prefer gardening or carpentry in his spare time, when pressed about what games he enjoys playing when he gets the chance, he responded:
I do like Minecraft, but really more from the perspective of the fact that I really feel like that's something we should have made. We had actually done a lot of experiments that were similar to that back in the N64 days and we had some designs that were very similar. - Shigeru Miyamoto, Creative Fellow at Nintendo
To give a little context to the situation, the Nintendo 64 was 'retired' in 2001, that's a whole decade before Minecraft released in 2011.
So if Nintendo were working on a similar game, what happened? Miyamoto shines a light on the downfall of—as I'd like to call it—Nintencraft.
It's really impressive to me to see how they've been able to take that idea and turn it into a product. - Shigeru Miyamoto, Creative Fellow at Nintendo
There seems to have been a struggle regarding how to market such a product. Before games like Minecraft and LittleBigPlanet, the idea of User-Generated Content was a relatively alien concept. They couldn't understand how people would adapt to it. However, as we saw with Minecraft in particular, it was actually the gaming community itself that would do all the marketing for the publishers.
The efforts and creations of gamers, like the thriving metropolis that took four and a half years to build or the perfect recreation of the My Neighbor Totoro trailer below, are just a couple of examples of the countless creations labored over each day. How could something like this not inspire more to participate?
It's this labor of love that turned Minecraft into such a runaway success and simply something that Nintendo couldn't predict in the 90s. Though even if they had, I couldn't imagine building anything on the N64s 'M' controller.
What about you? Can you imagine a world where Nintendo had created Minecraft? Would you have preferred it?