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Discussion Do you think Nintendo has some of the most iconic hardware designs?


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 its a DS, 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.
For both better and worse. You climb over virtual boys and wii u gamepads to get Switch's or N64s.

But all are iconic in their own bubble.
Not as much as Apple for example. (I can admit that while having switched over to android a year ago). But DS Lite was quite cool looking back in the day. And I think the white wii with the wiimote also looked good, but nine have gotten yellowish over time.

They have more designs that I would not think highly of though. Virtua Boy, Wiiu and original DS to name those I like the least.
Yeah of course. The GameCube is very iconic. The DS. Wii. They're shaped in ways different from the competition that stands out.
Not really but the Switch branding/iconography/aesthetic is amazing.
I believe that Sony and Sega also had great designs, MS on the other hand only got it right on the 360 and Series X.
I mean yeah... I can't think how anyone can disagree with that.
The NES and Gameboy alone are beyond iconic.
No doubt. The Game Boy, Super Famicom, Nintendo 64, GameCube, and the DS-line are among my favorite hardware designs, and are instantly recognizable.
Among the current console makers, yes.

In general, you can make an argument for various SEGA consoles, the Japanese PC-Engine, the PS1 and maybe the PS2 (not a fan personally, but a lot of people are) and various handhelds.

Current consoles from MS and Sony are just boxes. Sometimes I'd say they try too hard and are tasteless. Nintendo and older consoles have a more minimalist approach.
Nintendo systems tend to have good clicking noises making the experience tactile and associating audio cues with the system. Like snapping in the Joy cons, opening/closing the DS/3DS, ejecting an SNES cartridge, locking a GameBoy cart, etc. Sega was also good about these things, but Sony systems just rarely have this feeling or emphasize it in their design. The 360 button to open/close the tray is probably the closest Microsoft has come and I did always like using that.
I don't know, does the major leader in hardware sales over the past 4 decades have iconic console designs? Let me think about that for a minute...
GameCube is still the king of this concept.
But my favorites are Wii and 3DS (Flame Red is the most beautiful ever)
I saw a comment that Nintendo's industrial design isn't as iconic as Apple's.

Honestly, I think there's an argument to be made that they're more iconic.

Yes, Apple products are broadly speaking more iconic. But I don't think we would ever see Apple bring back the original iPhone design. Meanwhile, Nintendo regularly releases reproductions of their old hardware and controllers. And those reproductions are generally praised for their faithfulness to the original design and materials.

The iPhone may be the biggest product on Earth. But that's mostly because the product has stuck around and evolved. For Nintendo, people want the authenticity of the originals.
One thing I found funny with the game Unpacking - after I finished the game I looked online to see whether there was a list to identify some items that I had never figured out what they were supposed to represent. I found lots of people asking about the Gamecube knock-off 😂. That seemed to have the most questions over any other item.
I'm really torn on this. My favourite console ever is a Nintendo, and it's possibly their worst designs in the "iconic" category, Wii U was just a rounded Wii. Which is certainly my FAVOURITE console design ever, but not iconic. Some others that fall into this category would be New 3DS (non-XL) for handhelds, and OLED Model for hybrids.

Iconic, though?

Wii, Switch, N64 and Game Boy are all up there. Switch is the obvious modern choice. It has a much more balanced, industrial design next to OLED Model. It's inferior, sure, but WOW... A V1 Switch with a left Neon Blue and a right Gray Joy-Con just looks CLASSY and FUNCTIONAL.
If we're talking purely aesthetics, "is popular thing recognizable?" Undoubtedly, yes. "Is popular thing cool and distinct looking?" Ehh... but most current consoles simply aren't. The most distinctive current console is probably the PS5, but it looks like a router. Very uncool. Feels like most consoles, of any era, want to just sort of disappear underneath the TV instead of being observed at all.

This is something that's been affecting consoles as far back as the NES, with the choice to redesign it as a gray box to resemble a VCR instead of how absolutely rad the Famicom design was to suit western tastes at the time. Feels like the only international banger of a console design they've really had was the Gamecube. You see that from a distance and you KNOW what it is.
Feels like the only international banger of a console design they've really had was the Gamecube. You see that from a distance and you KNOW what it is.
I think the Switch and their other handhelds have this too though. Seeing a tablet with two candy-colored controllers attached to it, most people would probably instantly know its a Switch.

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