By Jared Newman | Tuesday, July 6, 2010 at 5:08 pm
It makes little sense that I miss having Nintendo’s GameCube in my living room. The Wii plays GameCube games, and it has a slimmer profile, but something’s lacking. Frankly, I think it’s the GameCube’s indigo shell.
I came to ponder color in game consoles — that is, in their physical design — while reading about Sony’s plans to release a white Playstation 3 in Japan. That completes the trifecta; with the Wii and Xbox 360 both going black, all three current gaming consoles have reversed polarity, or at least offered the option for customers to do so.
But isn’t there room for game consoles in the middle of the color spectrum? Not if history’s any indication. Take a few minutes to scroll through TheGameConsole.com’s brief retrospective of home gaming systems. You’ll find a few funky outliers — Magnavox’s Odyssey 300 from 1976 was bright yellow — but for the most part game consoles come in black, white or gray.
The exception to this rule is portable gaming. Nintendo’s DSi XL comes in debuted in burgundy, and the DSi launched stateside in black or light blue (white and pink followed). Though Sony’s PSP comes mainly in black in the United States, blockbuster games are sometimes accompanied by limited edition color PSPs.
I think I understand why this happens. Portable consoles are a personal thing, onto which gamers can project their self-image with color. At home, a game console’s best bet is to blend in. Entertainment centers are black tie affairs, so don’t be the only set-top box wearing a Hawaiian shirt, so to speak.
Thing is, game consoles are supposed to be the fun ones, the crazy uncles that do all the fun party tricks. Colorful game consoles may not be totally appropriate, but the living room just feels a little too bland without one.