Nintendo Designer Responsible for NES and SNES Retires After Almost 39 Years

In short: You might not be familiar with Lance Barr’s name (no, he’s not an NSYNC member, it’s Lance Bass), but chances are you’ve played on one of the game consoles he developed. However, having devoted almost 39 years of his life to one company, the designer moves on to other projects.

Barr joined Nintendo of America back in 1982 as director of design and brand for the company, a position he held throughout his nearly 39-year career with the company.

Barr’s first job for Nintendo involved arcade cabinet design, but pretty soon he was tasked with developing a Nintendo entertainment system for the North American market. In 2005 interviewBarr said the original NES “was conceived as a wireless modular system, more like an elegant stereo system than an electronic toy.”

After his first show at CES, he was asked to redesign some elements to meet the new engineering requirements. This included removing the wireless functionality and dropping some modular components. The biggest change, according to Barr, is the new way of inserting game cartridges into the console.

“The case had to be designed with the game in mind and required the shape and size of the NES to grow from earlier concepts. Many of the features remain, such as the two-tone color, left and right cuts and the overall “square” look, but the proportions have changed significantly to accommodate the new edge connector. ” – Lance Barr, 2005

Barr also worked on the mid-cycle NES update, as well as the North American design for the Super Nintendo.

Regarding the Super Famicom, Barr said the design “might be okay” for the Japanese market, but they always looked at future modular components, which meant they had to design with the idea of ​​stacking components on top of each other.

“I thought the Super Famicom looked bad when folded and even looked like a bag of bread in itself,” Barr said.

Barr on his LinkedIn page confirmed his resignation from Nintendo in July and said he was moving on to “other” projects.

Image courtesy of Jason Leung

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