When Lance Barr redesigned the Super Famicom for the American market he was adamant that he could improve on Masayuki Uemura’s original design. “The Super Famicom was maybe okay for the market in Japan, but for the US, I felt that it was too soft and had no edge,” he told Nintendojo in 2005. “We were always looking at future modular components, so you had to design with the idea of stacking on top of other components. I thought the Super Famicom didn’t look good when stacked, and even by itself it had a kind of ‘bag of bread’ look”.
Lance clearly didn’t like bread, or nice colour designs for that matter and his US take on Nintendo’s 16-bit console is best described as ‘divisive’. Far more angular than its Japanese counterpart, it sports large purple buttons, which are replicated on the console’s pad (making it look like someone has stuck Parma Violets to the joypad). Regardless of what Lance’s console looks like, there’s no denying the incredible system it houses and it made no difference to Americans, as it went on to outsell the Mega Drive in the region (as it did elsewhere in the world). Regardless of which version of the Super Nintendo you own, it’s a highlight of the 16-bit era, with dozens upon dozens of essential games in its library. Little wonder, then, that readers recently voted it the greatest games machine of all time.