There’s a popular video of Samus running down corridors, hopping between platforms, and shooting parasites. It looks like any other piece of Metroid Fusion gameplay—until the camera slowly zooms out to reveal that the entire simulation is happening inside Minecraft.
That moment feels like an epiphany, in part because of how the fluid pixel animations of the Game Boy Advance game contrast with the flat, blocky surfaces inside Minecraft. That’s no doubt part of why the video blew up on the Minecraft subreddit last week and why its creator, Brenden, is still slowly chipping away at the project, which has now been going on for seven years.
“This is my attempt to re-create Metroid Fusion completely in vanilla Minecraft,” he wrote in a Reddit post last week about his progress. “Currently, the system has a working smooth camera, player physics, sprite and background animations. I’ve tried to match the original game as close as possible.”
Projects like Brenden’s revolve around Minecraft’s command blocks, which effectively let players program the environments they create on custom maps within the game. That’s how Redditor Magib1 was able to remake Pokémon Red in Minecraft back in 2015, although a more graphically intense game like Metroid Fusion brings its own challenges, like needing an extra set of shaders to make the game look properly pixelated and brighter than the surrounding landscapes.
“In all reality I could make just about any 2D snes/gba game if I had the resources,” Brenden said in an email to Kotaku. According to him, the game is fully playable using WASD controls with camera locks, door transitions, and scrolling parallax backgrounds. While the assets are stripped from an actual ROM of Metroid Fusion, Brenden said his custom map runs them completely mod-free within the original vanilla Minecraft. Now he’s just adding a bit more polish before releasing the full data pack.
“If It gets taken down by Nintendo I’m 100% fine with it,” he said. “I’m just doing this for fun!”
Nintendo itself is no stranger to hiding games within games, famously sticking NES ROMs inside the original Animal Crossing for players to discover and play. Even if Brenden’s eventual release does get hit with a copyright takedown notice, maybe his thankless toil will inspire the company to seed future releases with more playable easter eggs. At the rate old Nintendo games are getting added to the Switch, it might be the only way some games return from the past.