There’s probably no indie game more famous, popular, or beloved than Minecraft. The hype is well deserved, as Minecraft perfectly blends simplicity and depth into an addictive sandbox experience like none other. From PC to Xbox Live Arcade, and even on smartphones, Minecraft has sold over 18 million total copies, sparking our creativity as we shape our own virtual worlds.
As widespread and influential as Minecraft has become, there’s still room for more expansion. The recently launched Nintendo Wii U offers an opportunity for Minecraft to reach an entirely untapped market. In fact, the Wii U offers several distinct advantages that would make it a perfect platform to host the game.
Touch Screen Controls
The most immediately notable advantage that the Wii U offers, especially in comparison to Xbox 360 verison, is the Wii U GamePad and its touch screen. Any games with large inventories and maps translate well to the Wii U GamePad, and games originally designed for the PC can make a far smoother transition to the Wii U than any other home console, as a touch screen is far more suitable replacement for a keyboard than a more conventional controller.
Touch screen controls lend themselves well to the crafting elements of Minecraft, as raw materials can easily be combined to form more complex items with a simple touch. Meanwhile the map, inventory, and server controls could all easily be tabbed through on the GamePad without cluttering up the TV screen or having to pause the game.
With Nintendo aiming to create better cross-compatibility between the Wii U and 3DS, even going so far as reportedly combining their handheld and console divisions, it’s possible that the 3DS could even be used as a controller for a Wii U version of Minecraft, opening up the experience to even more players and expanding the multiplayer experience.
Perfect For The Nintendo Crowd
Let’s talk about the Nintendo fanbase for a minute here. In order for Minecraft to come to the Wii U and take advantage of the unique opportunities offered by it and its connectivity to the 3DS there has to be a viable audience. If there’s one group of people that Minecraft is perfectly tailored to please, it’s the Nintendo crowd.
Nintendo is all about having fun, and Minecraft at its very core is just pure, unadulterated fun. Exploring and molding the world around you while manifesting all the creations of your imagination to your heart’s content is just a pure joy. I’ve often said that Minecraft is like living in a limitless world of Legos, and we know that Lego games have a following at Nintendo. Nintendo has a target audience of casual fans who love picking up fun, simple games like Minecraft.
If there’s any doubt that Minecraft fans and Nintendo fans are of a similar mindset, the numerous Nintendo-based Minecraft creations and mods are more than enough proof. GenGAME’s own Hyrulecraft is a perfect example of the dedicated Nintendo fans who love Minecraft, and there are numerous other examples. A quick trip to Youtube will reveal that people, places, and items from various Nintendo franchises, including Zelda, Mario, and Pokémon, are incredibly popular in the Minecraft community.
Still, a large number of Nintendo fans are single-console owners, and many of them are not PC gamers. For as strong as the Nintendo presence in the Minecraft community already is, there’s still a large untapped audience of Nintendo console owners that could be reached with the Wii U.
Free Online And Miiverse Community
Of course, with a game like Minecraft and a dedicated fanbase like Nintendo, you’re going to need a strong online experience. This hasn’t been an area of strength for Nintendo in the past, but the Wii U is set to change all of that. Unlike the Wii, the Wii U can provide a fast and efficient online experience that rivals that of Xbox Live. Best of all, the Wii U’s online service is completely free.
One of the unique features of the Wii U that really helps it make the most out of its online experience is the Miiverse. Miiverse is the perfect combination of social media and gaming, allowing Wii U owners to discuss games online in a very Facebook-like format, share tips and game experiences with each other, upload screenshots from their games, and find and add friends with similar game tastes. Given the creative nature of Minecraft, this community feature is perfect for sharing your creations and finding people with similar goals to friend and invite to your servers.
Given the high number of Nintendo-related mods present in Minecraft, Mojang could even release Wii U-exclusive Nintendo-related downloadable content to sweeten the deal. Having that much creative power over a Nintendo themed world is a deal that will appeal to quite a few people.
For as popular as Minecraft has already become, there are still plenty of people who haven’t experienced just how fun and addictive it truly is. The nature of the game is perfectly suited for the fun-loving casual audience of Nintendo fans, and the many Nintendo-inspired Minecraft creations already in existence prove that there’s a strong interest from the Nintendo community.
The Wii U’s hardware itself is also a nice fit, as the GamePad touch screen makes the transition from PC to home console smooth and simple. Meanwhile, Nintendo’s free online policy and interactive Miiverse provide the perfect environment to share your Minecraft experience with the world. All in all, the Wii U and Minecraft are just a perfect combination.