Remember, Nintendo's Shigeru Miyamoto doesn't just make games, he plays them. And one that he's liked a lot over the last few years has been Minecraft, though not necessarily because it's something he likes playing. It's because he wishes Nintendo had made it instead.
In an interview with Glixel, Mario's creator says "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 have been able to take that idea and turn it into a product."
You know, when you break it down and look at what Minecraft was originally doing, and not necessarily what it's become over the years, at its heart it really does seem like a very Nintendo kind of experience. Just with more dicks.
As for the design experiments he was talking about, it's worth remembering that there was a lot of stuff going on in the 90s at Nintendo that, sadly, we never got to play.