Minecraft has been around over a decade now and in that time diamond axes and creepers and Steve's blocky head have become ubiquitous. They've also been all over YouTube and today the platform is celebrating over 1 trillion Minecraft video views with some impressive stats about all the many creations to date. I've spent my fair share of time watching Minecraft livestreams, building guides, and more, but those haven't been the most popular Minecraft videos for the past decade. All this time, the most-viewed Minecraft YouTube videos weren't even made in Minecraft at all.
To commemorate the milestone, YouTube has pulled together some visual representations of all the biggest Minecraft videos on the platform since 2010. They're broken down into categories I expected like "Survival Games" and "Survival Multiplayer" and "Speedrun" but are also joined by the likes of "Role-play" and "Animation". Although popularity varies by country, which YouTube has also shown, the consistently dominant category over the years has been animation with nearly 5 billion views in both 2020 and 2021.
The animation label is home to a lot of different Minecraft videos, the biggest of which aren't actually made in Minecraft. Coming in at 178 million views to date is an animated short in which Minecraft meme cryptid Herobrine has various monster families competing to see who's strongest.
With 127 million views is a video from 2018 about a stick person battling a cross-section Minecraft world, reminiscent of that popular old Animator vs Animation video that folks of my era may remember. There are also the real life crossovers, both in the form of Minecraft in real life and also real life in Minecraft.
Then there's the music videos era, during which CaptainSparklez dominated the most popular Minecraft videos for three years with pop song parodies and snazzy 3D animations styled to look like Minecraft worlds and characters.
I'm fascinated, because although I've played Minecraft for an entire decade I have never seen a single one of these videos. Minecraft launched when I was in university, so my nostalgia all belongs to starting a server with my first co-workers and using it as a way to hang out with friends who'd moved across the country. I watched players my age build in hardcore worlds on Twitch in 2014.
We probably aren't the ones who made Minecraft a global phenomenon though. That honor belongs to the kids who were watching Minecraft and Five Nights At Freddy's crossover parody songs in 2017. They sure are experiencing nostalgia in the comments section of that video.
No judgement—and I mean that genuinely. These Minecraft videos are awfully polished compared to the equally silly flash animations that were popular on early YouTube. Remember when being able to quote this one was the height of lunch room comedy?