Minecraft Castle (lost inaugural fanmade YouTube video of sandbox game; 2009)

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Screenshot of Minecraft Castle.

Status: Lost

On 17th May 2009, Markus "Notch" Persson publicly announced the alpha release of his sandbox game, Minecraft. Within an hour of this announcement, gameplay footage started popping up on YouTube. The very first fanmade Minecraft YouTube video was uploaded by EvilVille under the title of "Minecraft Castle". Alas, the video was taken down in 2011 and no re-uploads are known to exist.


Notch publicly unveiled Minecraft's first alpha edition on the Developer section of the TIGSource forum.[1] The announcement kickstarted Minecraft's first public era, retroactively coined as the Classic Era,[2] which lasted from May to 23rd December 2009 following the release of the inaugural Indev version.[3] Four days before his TIGSource post, Notch uploaded "Cave game tech test" that showcased a pre-Classic/"tech demo" version of Minecraft.[4][5] It contains the oldest known footage of Minecraft.[6] Initial TIGSource reception was very positive, with most users praising the inaugural build mode which allowed them to establish complex creations.[1] Naturally, the early alpha builds were barebones in nature; Creative mode had yet to exist, though Notch promised he would incorporate it at a later date.[7][1]

Among the enthusiastic early players was a user by the name of EvilVille.[1][6] Within an hour of Notch's post, EvilVille announced he had uploaded a YouTube video showing off his castle, as well as providing a screenshot of it.[1][6] Though this was naturally not predicted at the time, EvilVille had initiated Minecraft's long-standing popularity on YouTube, with relevant videos generating over one trillion YouTube views combined by December 2021.[8] Research conducted by r/lostmedia user CryptographerOk2905 on 9th February 2021 indicated the video lasted 2 minutes and 58 seconds and was filmed at 480p via Camtasia Studio 6.[9] A snapshot was successfully preserved by the Wayback Machine on 27th December 2010, which stated the video had accumulated 65,221 views, 47 likes and 27 dislikes.[10] The surprisingly mixed reception to said video might have been the result of newer players criticising EvilVille's construction methods, limited by Alpha's constraints.[10] One user questioned why the castle did not contain stairs; in response, EvilVille stated the build he utilised was 0.0.9a, which lacked many of the taken-for-granted features found in 2010 versions.[11][10] Thus, EvilVille was forced to create a basic block staircase which involved constant jumping to elevate oneself.[11][10]

0.0.9a is itself a lost media mystery. This version was released on 16th May 2009, a day before Notch's TIGSource post.[12] The interesting aspect is that 0.0.9a was not fully publicly released but was instead given out to a few select TIGSource users, including EvilVille.[6] The version believed to have been unveiled to TIGSource was 0.0.11a,[12] as also noted by a Word of Notch post published on 17th May 2009.[13][1] 0.0.9a has since been declared as lost media among other early builds; aside from only being available to a select few, the .jar files were not archived in any known capacity.[14][12][6] Minecraft Castle is believed to be the only YouTube video that contained footage of the 0.0.9a build.[15][6] Additionally, a few screenshots were uploaded by TIGSource users, including one featuring a castle.[16][1]

The Hunt

EvilVille also uploaded an additional four videos by December 2010.[10] Alas, Minecraft Castle is known to have been deleted by 2011, with EvilVille's channel having since been terminated.[17][6] But while Minecraft Castle's presence on YouTube was short-lived, it gained enough attention for Guinness World Records to recognise it as the "Oldest fan-made Minecraft video on YouTube" on 17th May 2015.[18][6] Guinness also declared a video simply titled "minecraft" as the oldest to still exist on the platform.[18] It was uploaded on 17th May 2009 by jwaap (now renamed to Jan Willem Nijman), who like EvilVille was a TIGSource user who gained access to 0.0.9a.[19][1] jwaap provided screenshots from both 0.0.9a and 0.0.11a and uploaded two YouTube videos from the latter version.[1] "minecraft" lasted a minute and four seconds, consisting of jwaap climbing a complex dirt creation of his.[19] He then swiftly uploaded "mariominecraft", a 46-second clip where he showed off his Minecraft rendition of Mario's sprite from the original Super Mario Bros..[20]

jwaap claimed "minecraft" was "The first ever video of Minecraft."[19] But outside of Guinness World Records,[18] a few other pieces of evidence can be used to debunk this. Firstly, by utilising a YouTube metadata-checking website, it is established that "minecraft" was uploaded at 13:41:05.[21][6] In comparison, an analysis of the TIGSource IRC logs state EvilVille finished recording the video at 12:58:42.[16][6] He then provided the link to the now-deleted video at 13:11:11, therefore about 30 minutes before jwaap's video was uploaded.[16][6] EvilVille also shared his castle screenshot to his own website, but this has since been taken down and was not archived.[22][16]

Armed with this information, various individuals and groups began to search for the elusive Minecraft Castle.[23] Among the more prominent was Omniarchive, forged in September 2017 to uncover the lost Minecraft versions that were previously publicly available.[24][6][12] Among items the group has uncovered include over 80 missing builds,[24] to even the oldest Minecraft world,[25] which was originally established on 14th May 2009.[26] On 28th November 2019, the group contacted EvilVille and interviewed him about the video.[27] Though he confirmed he no longer possessed the video nor 0.0.9a, he was able to describe the castle itself as "really blocky" with "3 or 4 floors", stating it was "more like a large stone shed".[27] Further analysis by CryptographerOk2905 assessed the castle was large and partly wood-based, with it also containing low ceilings and an underground area.[9]

A breakthrough emerged in January 2024.[6] By assessing the IRC logs, researchers deduced that a 0.0.9a castle image floating around the internet was indeed from Minecraft Castle.[6][16] The screenshot depicts the castle as having a cobblestone foundation, at least four upper floors constructed from wood and a bridge with wooden support beams.[28] Though its appearance certainly contradicts EvilVille's memory of it being a "large stone shed", one must remember that the Omniarchive interview occurred a full decade after he constructed the castle.[6] As of now, this remains the biggest find surrounding the search for the video.


With Minecraft Castle still missing despite its growing notoriety, search efforts have continued to move forward. On 23rd March 2024, Paladin Ryan uploaded a documentary on Minecraft Castle titled "The Incredible Search for Minecraft's FIRST Ever Video".[6] Aside from providing a comprehensive review of the history and search efforts surrounding the video, he also noted that with at least 65,221 views by December 2010,[10] it is likely someone may have downloaded and preserved the video at some point prior to its deletion.[6] He also announced his official Discord would also begin examining Minecraft Castle's whereabouts.[6] In addition to Ryan and Omniarchive, the Lost Minecraft Video Archive Discord has been actively searching for Minecraft Castle since at least June 2021.[23]

It should be noted that Minecraft Castle is not the only missing YouTube video from Minecraft's early years. Research from the likes of Omniarchive and the Minecraft Wiki determine that a video from Yumyumbublegum titled "ARROW MINIGUN" was uploaded on 1st September 2009.[15] It was recorded in the 0.24_SURVIVAL_TEST version, released that same day to help debug Survival mode.[29][30] "ARROW MINIGUN" most likely refers to how the version introduced arrows, which could be rapidly fired simply by pressing tab.[30] Like 0.0.9a, 0.24_SURVIVAL_TEST is also mostly lost media, the only publicly available build being 0.24_SURVIVAL_TEST_03.[12]

Additionally, gamezgalore (later Mike Rose) is known to have uploaded "Minecraft Halloween Preview - IndieGames.com" on 29th October 2010.[31] It was recorded by IndieGames.com during its assessment of a special preview build for Alpha v1.2.0 aka the Halloween Update,[32] with only PC Gamer having also been granted access to it.[33] The blog previewed "The Slip", which eventually became The Nether.[32] Meanwhile, PC Gamer uploaded three gameplay videos, all of which remain publicly available.[34][35][36] In contrast, the IndieGames.com video lasted until at least 11th November 2014, having amassed 96,263 views.[37] This made the video's disappearance all the more disappointing, though its high viewer count, combined with Minecraft being extensively more popular by 2014 than 2009,[38] gave "Minecraft Halloween Preview - IndieGames.com" a decent chance of being re-uploaded in the future. It was eventually recovered by minecraft12 on 7th April 2023.[39]



Paladin Ryan's documentary on the search for Minecraft Castle.

"minecraft", the oldest fanmade Minecraft video still publicly available on YouTube.

A reupload of "Cave game tech test", the oldest known footage of Minecraft.

See Also

External Links


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 TIGSource post where Notch announced Minecraft's alpha mode and EvilVille unveiled his Minecraft Castle video. Retrieved 3rd May '24
  2. Archived The Word of Notch post which retroactively coined the pre-Indev versions of Minecraft as Minecraft Classic. Retrieved 3rd May '24
  3. Archived The Word of Notch post announcing the first Indev version on 23rd December 2009, officially ending the Classic Era. Retrieved 3rd May '24
  4. The original "Cave game tech test" upload, which is fully region-locked though re-uploads can easily be found on YouTube. Retrieved 3rd May '24
  5. Archived The Word of Notch post where he announced the upload of "Cave game tech test" and called it a "tech demo". Retrieved 3rd May '24
  6. 6.00 6.01 6.02 6.03 6.04 6.05 6.06 6.07 6.08 6.09 6.10 6.11 6.12 6.13 6.14 6.15 6.16 6.17 Paladin Ryan's video on the search for "Minecraft Castle". Retrieved 3rd May '24
  7. Archived The Word of Notch post where Notch discussed incorporating such modes as Creative and Survival into Minecraft. Retrieved 3rd May '24
  8. The Guardian reporting on Minecraft-related videos being watched over one trillion times combined by December 2021. Retrieved 3rd May '24
  9. 9.0 9.1 r/lostmedia post where CryptographerOk2905 discussed their findings surrounding Minecraft Castle. Retrieved 3rd May '24
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 10.5 Wayback Machine providing a 27th December 2010 snapshot of Minecraft Castle (video was not saved). Retrieved 3rd May '24
  11. 11.0 11.1 ibxtoycat discussing the history of stairs in Minecraft. Retrieved 3rd May '24
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 12.4 Omniarchive index surrounding the status of publicly available Minecraft builds, including noting that 0.0.9a is lost (information available on the Java Clients (Full) tab). Retrieved 3rd May '24
  13. Archived The Word of Notch post announcing the release of 0.0.11a, believed to be the version unveiled at TIGSource. Retrieved 3rd May '24
  14. TheMisterEpic video on the lost versions of Minecraft. Retrieved 3rd May '24
  15. 15.0 15.1 Archived (and thus more concrete) revision of the Minecraft Wiki's page on early YouTube videos of Minecraft, noting Minecraft Castle was the only known video to showcase 0.0.9a. Retrieved 3rd May '24
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 16.3 16.4 A download containing TIGSource IRC chatlogs from 15th May to 3rd June 2009 (click May-15-to-June-03-2009/ to download them). Retrieved 3rd May '24
  17. Wayback Machine snapshot confirming EvilVille's channel was terminated by April 2017. Retrieved 3rd May '24
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 Guinness World Records declaring Minecraft Castle as the "Oldest fan-made Minecraft video on YouTube" but noting jwaap's minecraft is the oldest to still be publicly available. Retrieved 3rd May '24
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 Jwaap's "minecraft" video, which he erroneously declared as "The first ever video of minecraft". Retrieved 3rd May '24
  20. "mariominecraft awesome", the second oldest fanmade Minecraft YouTube video that is still publicly available on the platform. Retrieved 3rd May '24
  21. MW Metadata of "minecraft", confirming it was uploaded at 13:41:05 on 17th May 2009. Retrieved 3rd May '24
  22. EvilVille's now-defunct website which contained the image of the castle, but of which was not archived prior to the website's closure. Retrieved 3rd May '24
  23. 23.0 23.1 r/lostmedia post where Zunaka discussed their interview with EvilVille and noting that Minecraft Castle is being searched for by the Lost Minecraft Video Archive Discord. Retrieved 3rd May '24
  24. 24.0 24.1 Omniarchive's home page where they noted they uncovered over 80 previously missing Minecraft builds. Retrieved 3rd May '24
  25. Omniarchive announcing they had found the oldest Minecraft world on 26th March 2023. Retrieved 3rd May '24
  26. Archived The Word of Notch post concerning the oldest Minecraft world. Retrieved 3rd May '24
  27. 27.0 27.1 Omniarchive's interview with EvilVille (excerpt found in the Lost Minecraft Video Archive; can also be seen in Paladin Ryan's video at 3:09). Retrieved 3rd May '24
  28. The available screenshot of the castle. Retrieved 3rd May '24
  29. A surviving video from Telkir taken during the 0.24_SURVIVAL_TEST version. Retrieved 3rd May '24
  30. 30.0 30.1 Archived The Word of Notch announcing the release of the 0.24_SURVIVAL_TEST and the introduction of arrows. Retrieved 3rd May '24
  31. The first Wayback Machine snapshot of "Minecraft Halloween Preview - IndieGames.com". Retrieved 3rd May '24
  32. 32.0 32.1 Archived IndieGames.com preview of the Halloween Update, back when The Nether was called The Slip. Retrieved 3rd May '24
  33. Archived The Word of Notch post announcing a preview build of Alpha v1.2.0 was released to IndieGames and PC Gamer. Retrieved 3rd May '24
  34. First PC Gamer video on the Halloween Update. Retrieved 3rd May '24
  35. Second PC Gamer video on the Halloween Update. Retrieved 3rd May '24
  36. Third PC Gamer video on the Halloween Update. Retrieved 3rd May '24
  37. Wayback Machine providing its final snapshot of "Minecraft Halloween Preview - IndieGames.com" before it was taken down. Retrieved 3rd May '24
  38. Game Informer reporting on Minecraft being the second-most searched term on YouTube in 2014. Retrieved 3rd May '24
  39. "Minecraft Halloween Preview - IndieGames.com", re-uploaded by minecraft12. Retrieved 3rd May '24