There was great excitement in the Nintendo Life team when the Super NES Classic Edition was revealed to the world, but of course it didn't take long for envy to set in from our US based colleagues when they saw the European version of the SNES Mini; the design differences have always been a hot topic. Heck, the North American version doesn't even have the colourful buttons on the controller, such a travesty!
This led us to wonder why the Japanese Super Famicom's sublime design needed to be messed around with at all. After a quick bit of online research we came across a fascinating interview with NOA's Lance Barr, which explains the reasoning. You can find it here, as unfortunately the original link from Nintendojo no longer seems to be working (we'll re-link if the page goes live again).
Here's what Lance had to say in regards to the motivation in making the US version more square looking:
The Super Famicom was maybe okay for the market in Japan. For the US, I felt that it was too soft and had no edge. We were always looking at future modular components (even the NES had a connector on the bottom), so you had to design with the idea of stacking on top of other components. I though the Super Famicom didn't look good when stacked and even by itself, had a kind of "bag of bread" look.
Lance Barr is still at Nintendo of America after a long 34 year career, where he resides as its Design & Brand Director.
Let us know what you think of how the North American Super NES compares to the Japanese Super Famicom (or European SNES) with a comment below.