Minecraft is the kind of one in a million idea that explodes, and leaves all other developers asking, 'why didn't we come up with this idea?'
According to Super Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto, Nintendo feel somewhat the same, and claims they nearly did create something like it the way back in the N64 era. Speaking to Glixel, Miyamoto said:
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. It's really impressive to me to see how they've been able to take that idea and turn it into a product.
A Nintendo based game like this could really have been something. Hell, it probably would have looked quite similar in that era too. Unfortunately for them, it was Mojang who packaged that idea in a palatable way.