Thirty Years of Nintendo Handhelds Stem from Make-Up Cases
Posted by James Newton
Clamshell design inspired by compacts
The most recent Iwata Asks article is a fascinating insight into the development of the Game & Watch series, showing off unseen design documents and now revealing the origins of the system's iconic style that lives on through Nintendo's current and next-gen handhelds. But where did the folding feature originate? In the gaming world's most natural partner of course: cosmetics.
Makoto Kano, one of the machine's original designers, studied make-up compacts to figure out how to create workable hinges and clasps to ensure the machine would be portable.
Kano: I wanted to research on things that folded up, so I went shopping for compacts.
Iwata: Compacts? You mean the kind used to hold make-up?
Kano: Yes. I was doing research on the hinge that held the top and bottom screens together. Those compacts are still lying in a drawer somewhere at the office! (laughs])
Between Satoru Iwata's 3D GameBoy Advance prototype and Mr Kano's compacts habit, the drawers at Nintendo's HQ must be ready to drop off their runners. The mind boggles when trying to imagine what Shigeru Miyamoto must have in his trinkets drawer.