Video game console designs are taken for granted. As long as they feature high-performing power supply units (PSUs) and central processing units (CPUs), they could look like disfigured boulders, and no one would bat an eye.
While that may seem like a good thing, it’s not.
The thing is, it takes years to design a video game console. Teams of several experts work day and night to ensure it looks unique, distinguishing their company’s product from others.
So, you can imagine what the designers must feel when they read reviews stating that the appearance of a video game console doesn’t matter; the performance does.
Well, we have a message for those geniuses: we see you. And we’re writing this blog for you. Think of it as an acknowledgment of your hard work.
Here, we’ll talk about the most beautiful console designs of the century.
Designed By: Shin'ichi Ogasawara
PSP, short for PlayStation Portable, was Sony’s first attempt at entering the handheld game console market, directly competing with the Nintendo DS, the industry leader at that time.
Although which console was better is a debate for another day, we can say, with 100% surety, that PSP was far superior in terms of design.
The PSP, with its black and white color theme, matured appearance, and shiny exterior, was an elegant piece of hardware. Adding more to the beauty was the console’s large and colorful screen. Not to forget the buttons, ergonomically placed on both sides.
The console received many updates, like the PSP Go and PS Vita (which, by the way, also had a stunning design). But none could beat the original.
Designed By: Hideki Sato
Have you heard about Sega Mark III? No?
Well, you’re not alone.
It never got released in the West, and that’s a bummer because the console looked really nice (as nice consoles could look in 1985).
Reminiscent of a gadget from the sets of a dystopian sci-fi film, Sega Mark III had a white fascia color, coupled with subtle cartridge and card slots. On the center of the console was a yellow pause button.
Unfortunately, Sega Mark III never took off in Japan, despite having a stronger processor than its competitor, Famicom. Nonetheless, the console deserves a spot on this list simply because of its retro-futuristic design.
Designed By: Andrew Kim
Though it’s not been confirmed, we like to think that the S in the Xbox One S stands for sleek, slim, and sharp. And those who’ve seen the console will fully support this statement.
Xbox One, Xbox One S’s predecessor, was revolutionary in many ways, particularly in introducing online games. However, one area where it significantly lacked was the design; it was black and bulky, prompting netizens to compare it to the 1980s-era VCR.
Microsoft was having none of it, though.
They defended their console’s design, claiming it was a new approach.
And then came Xbox One S with a bang.
Ditching the monolith-like design for a slim one and replacing black color with white, the console was a winner on all fronts. Even though Microsoft released other units, Xbox One S remains undefeated.
Designed By: Yoshiaki Koizumi
Nintendo consoles have always been self-explanatory; the Switch was no different. It was the first hybrid unit that let players ‘switch’ between a handheld and home console.
In addition to the console’s versatility, Nintendo Switch was hailed for having an innovative design and delivering an immersive gaming experience. And its first-party titles, like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Animal Crossing: New Horizons, Super Mario Odyssey, and plenty of other games, deserve the credit for the unit’s success.
Back to the design, the controllers – or Joy-Cons, as they’re referred to – are made from glass and metal. Because of this, the controllers are comfortable to hold and look premium as well.
Another feature that stands out in the Nintendo Switch is the colors; Neon Blue and Neon Red.
Designed By: Yujin Morisawa
The design of PS5 was significantly different than its predecessors. And that, according to the Senior Art Director Yujin Morisawa himself, put a lot of pressure on him.
After the console was revealed, it immediately became a target of Twitter trolls. They started poking fun at PS5 for bearing a resemblance to a humidifier, router, and even the Eye of Sauron.
We’re glad to say that we weren’t one of those people. If anything, we were fascinated by the design, its striking white and black color scheme complimented by blue lighting elements.
What’s more, Yujin spent a lot of time perfecting the details. And it’s evident from the PlayStation shapes that can be seen on the DualSense wireless controllers.
He called them ‘easter eggs’ and encouraged players to find more.
Designed By: Steve Mayer & Ron Milner
Just because a console was designed decades ago doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be appreciated. Sure, the Atari 2600 may be old and looks weird as heck, but you must remember that technology hadn’t progressed much back in 1977.
In that sense, the Atari 2600 had a cool and retro design, oozing class and elegance.
At first glance, the Atari 2600 doesn’t even look like a gaming console; it looks like a VCR, owing to the wood-effect front panel. But that was intentional.
Ask your grandparents or parents, and they’ll tell you that every household in the late 1970s had wooden furniture; that was the inspiration behind the Atari 2600’s wood-like design.
And how can we forget the joystick controller that was practically a large button?
All in all, the Atari 2600 had a distinctive design that we couldn’t help but love.
Designed By: Ken'ichiro Ashida
Did you know that Queen Elizabeth II – may she rest in peace – was quite fond of Nintendo Wii? In fact, she might be Britain’s only monarch to have played games on the console.
Well, if you insist on knowing the whole story, it goes something like this: back in 2008, the British newspaper The People reported that Elizabeth II was so fascinated by her grandson’s Wii that she used to play with him.
Unfortunately, the only person who could tell you the truth has, well, you know, kicked the bucket.
So, we’ll never know why Her Majesty liked Wii so much. However, we’re willing to bet it had something to do with the console’s design.
And why shouldn’t it?
Nintendo Wii had sharp edges, and it sat on a gray stand. Combine these two features with the console’s white color, and what you have is an aesthetically pleasing game unit.
Designed By: Dave James & team
1979 saw a heated battle between multiple gaming consoles; Intellivision was one of them – yup, the name’s a mouthful, we agree. It was a portmanteau of ‘intelligent’ and ‘television.’
Mattel Inc. (then known as Mattel Electronics) launched Intellivision against the Atari 2600, which was leading the industry at that time. The former console was superior to the latter in many ways, including better hardware, higher resolution graphics, and a versatile color palette.
Speaking of colors, Intellivision was a mixture of two: gold and brown. It had faux wooden panels on both sides. The console’s joysticks looked more like cordless telephones than controllers, thanks to the 12-button keypad.
Despite the odd appearance, Intellivision sold more than 3 million consoles in three years. It was discontinued in 1990, but the unit is still remembered for its retro design.
Designed By: Shigeru Miyamoto
A mini box that played little discs with a tiny handle so small hands could carry it to their friend’s house.
“Umm… is the writer okay?”
Also not sure.
Okay, jokes aside, the first line is what Nintendo’s GameCube was all about. Although the name may suggest the console was a cube, it wasn’t.
It was 6 inches long, 6 inches wide, and 4.3 inches tall.
For those who missed their math classes, a cube must be equal in length, breadth, and height.
Some criticized the chunky design, but many, including us, were fond of it. The GameCube wasn’t a showpiece manufactured to enhance your living room’s aesthetics; it was a machine for playing video games on.
Nintendo first released the console in four colors: indigo, black, orange, and silver. They were later joined by pink, gold, and platinum.
The GameCube has aged gracefully, despite the initial criticisms of the design. We, as well as other experts, agree that it’s one of the most innovative consoles ever released by Nintendo.
Forget about the processing power of your gaming console. For once, admire its design, the sharp edges, and the color contrast. It’ll remind you how far we’ve come in terms of technology.
It’ll also remind you to be thankful to all the studios, manufacturers, and designers who leave no stone unturned in making the perfect product for you.
Kevin D. is a Chicago-based ghostwriter who finds pleasure in writing about different niches. Though gaming and tech blogs are his strong feat, he equally enjoys writing about trending fashion. Apart from writing and researching, Kevin takes a keen interest in refining his cooking skills, which he feels are the sole survival method.
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