In the world of gaming, character is important. Not just with actual game characters, but also console design. Gaming hardware with a distinctive and instantly recognizable look goes a long way in making a gaming platform a success. Nintendo’s consoles over the years have had various designs and looks to them. But one thing I think Nintendo always nailed with hardware design, was creating a very distinctive and instantly recognizable look for its products.
Let’s take the Nintendo DS for example.
It’s vertical Dual Screens arrangement, clamshell design, stylus and SNES style button layout gives the system an immediately understandable character that’s hard to replicate. Just by looking at it, you can instantly tell what it is, and what its main features are.
Or how about the Nintendo Switch. The promo material from the initial 2016 reveal used grey colored Joy-Con controllers.
But I think the Neon Blue and Red Joy-Con that the system ended up launching with really helped add a lot of character to the Switch’s design, practically becoming the default colors of the system.
The Switch immediately stands out with this look. It’s quirky, sleek, and also functional highlighting that these are not only detachable controllers, but the mismatched colors also symbolize the built-in two player support with each color representing player one and player two respectively.
Going back further with the NES, it’s controller is an iconic relic of the 80s that still somehow retains a timeless design, even today.
It’s a dead simple design, but one that’s also instantly understandable to new and old-school gamers alike.
I’m sure there’s other examples, and creating iconic gaming hardware isn’t restricted to Nintendo alone. But I do think its one aspect that they’ve consistently nailed with their platforms.