Renegade Kid co-founder and game director Jools Watsham professes a love for Nintendo in his recent blog post, which is why he also says it hurts him to see the Wii U struggling to forge its identity in the public eye.
Watsham says he understand why Nintendo would want to keep the Wii brand name — even if “Wii U” might not have been the best way to go about it — but the cosmetic decisions that went into the console confound him:
The visual design of the console itself, however, has no excuse. The Wii U is essentially a smoother looking version of the Wii – and that is only apparent if you’re really paying attention. At a quick glance, most people could easily mistake a Wii U for a Wii.
Nintendo’s game development teams, Watsham argues, would have avoided such an aesthetic trap. He uses the recently conceived variants on classic Mario items as examples. A Gold Flower in New Super Mario Bros. 2 conveys both a similarity to the Fire Flower but also implies a different function. The size differences between Mini and Mega Mushrooms tell the player at a glance that they will have very different effects even when in the same “family” of items.
Watsham points to the design variations of the Gamecube and N64 as evidence Nintendo has not been afraid to experiment with visual design in the past. But even if the Wii U model was kept as it is, Watsham says changes in colour could have helped it stand out more. He offers some fetching blue, green and "executive silver" variants for your consideration.
Do you think changing the Wii U’s visual design would have helped it to attract more attention from the general public? If so, what kinds of changes would you have made? And while you’re at it, why not head over to our recent Talking Point on the Wii U’s identity crisis and vote in the polls?