Throughout its many years of operation as a producer of video games and platform holder, Nintendo has created some of the most desirable objects in the history of video games. The company is renowned for making digital novelties to delight players of all ages, but it's also capable of building staggeringly beautiful hardware when its talented engineering and design teams put their minds to it.
Not every single one is an evergreen beauty, of course — it might take a new iteration on the original design, or a particularly fetching colour variant to really get the pulse racing — but Team Nintendo Life has been casting a wistful eye over our collective console pool (and spying a few others’ collections across the interwebs) and has produced the following shortlist of the loveliest-looking Nintendo hardware for your consideration.
We're not factoring in the respective systems' software libraries here, although those alone are enough to make any self-respecting gamer go weak at the knees. No, we're focusing on the pure animal magnetism of the hardware itself: the console and the controller. Forget about personality — today we're going on skin-deep looks alone.
There's a poll at the end for you to cast your vote for the sexiest Nintendo console from the shortlist we've assembled, and feel free to let us know other consoles (Nintendo or otherwise) that inspire lustful thoughts and languorous hours scrolling through auction sites in the comments.
Before that, though, grab yourself a fan and prepare to perspire as we present to you, in no particular order, the eight sexiest Nintendo systems ever. They're all really really really ridiculously good-looking...
Game Boy Micro (any)
We've called this little beauty 'the sexiest and most impractical Game Boy ever', and we stand by that. Don't get us wrong — when it comes to actually playing games, we tend to go for the comfort of larger handhelds these days (the chunkiness of an original DMG-001 still feels fantastic in the hands).
No, in terms of actually using the thing, this final iteration of the Game Boy Advance line isn't much better for playing text-heavy titles than Sega's recent keychain pendant, the Game Gear Micro.
Practicality be damned! The Game Boy Micro — in any of its guises, not just the anniversary edition pictured above — is a stunning (and stunningly expensive) piece of kit. It exists only to harvest your love and respect; to be cradled, caressed and doted upon.
Not played. Are you mad?! For the love of Zeus, never play the thing.
Sexiest feature? Where to begin? The awesome little faceplates? Those little ‘b’ and ‘a’ buttons that feel so good? Let's go with the tiny screen which looks marvellous thanks to its increased pixel density.
Marvellous until you want to read anything, of course.
Game Boy Advance SP (any)
The first version of the Game Boy Advance wasn't bad. The horizontal layout was more comfortable than the vertical set-up Nintendo went with for the original Game Boy, but you needed the light of a thousand suns (okay, slight exaggeration — just the one sun) to see the screen. The Game Boy Advance SP solved that issue with the addition of a backlight (technically a frontlight, unless we're talking about the updated AGS-101 version with the improved backlit screen) and its clamshell design made it smaller, with the added benefit of protecting the screen when it's in your pocket.
We could have chosen the NES edition, or the Pikachu Yellow one, or any number of Special Editions, but personal preference aside, each and every GBA SP is a beauty.
Sexiest feature? The clamshell design — there's just something about a gadget that folds.
New Nintendo 3DS XL (SNES Edition)
When it comes to the 3DS family of systems, there's no shortage of variants to choose from. Throw in the various 2DS versions and a plethora of special editions and you're spoiled for choice when it comes to fabulous-looking handhelds.
If we had to pick one, though, it would probably be the Super Nintendo Entertainment System Edition of the New 3DS XL. It's not just the coloured face buttons; the standard New 3DS with the faceplates had those, too. It’s the care and attention that's gone into other aspects of this handheld tribute. Things like the subtle grey touches of the bezel, stylus and the peripheral buttons, and the considered recreation of the SNES’ appearance on the lid and bottom. In fact, the only thing that could improve it is if the printed red Power 'LED' on the top actually was an LED.
When it comes to NA versus EU/JP, we Europeans are a little biased (more on that later). But whatever your preference, but they're both very, very handsome systems.
One's just more handsome.
Sexiest feature? The buttons, probably.
GameCube (Spice Orange)
Two decades ago when the average teenage gamer had to choose between the PlayStation 2 and the colourful GameCube, Sony's ultra slick styling stole away the hearts and minds of millions of self-conscious teens who had previously been Nintendo kids through and through. Still, looking at the two consoles today, we'd say it's Nintendo's box of tricks which has stood the test of time from an aesthetic point of view.
This little console has such personality and spunk — really quite the design feat for what is essentially a box with a handle attached. A clean, cared-for example of any colour variant is a thing of beauty.
Perhaps the fact that we never got the Orange Spice version in the West gives that particular one a special allure, though. No fewer than five members of Team NL have been compelled to track down this lovely creature for themselves. Throw in a copy of F-Zero GX and a WaveBird and you’ve got yourself a Saturday night.
Sexiest feature? How more orange could this be? None. None more orange. Oh, and the handle’s great — always has been. Gives you something to hold onto, doesn’t it? [Steady! - Ed]
As if the Japan-only Spice Orange GameCube wasn't enough, the Panasonic Q had us eyeing imports back in 2001/2. This special Panasonic-branded version of the GameCube had the ability to play DVDs via its full-sized front-loading tray. That might sound like nothing these days, but it's hard to overstate just how hot DVDs were around the turn of the millennium; PS2's dual function as a DVD player was a major factor which helped propel Sony's console ahead of the competition. The Panasonic Q also sports stainless steel housing, a polish mirrored front panel, and a fancy LCD screen with a blue backlight, the most sensual of backlight colours.
Unfortunately, it sold poorly and these days a clean specimen will cost you silly money on your auction site of choice, although there are always bargains if you’re patient. It would likely be a disappointment in the flesh anyway, but the idea of the Q still gets us going a couple of decades later (meaning it causes us to trawl eBay once a fortnight to double-check that, yes, prices are still astronomical).
Sexiest feature? It's hard to pin down just one thing. Let's go with the incredibly un-Nintendo mirrored façade.
Nintendo DS Lite (any)
Nintendo DS Lite arguably represents Nintendo's most dramatic jump forward in a single hardware revision. The initial DS was a chunky monkey, more of a proof-of-concept showcase than a final piece of retail hardware. The arrival of the DS Lite in 2006 was the catalyst that turned the system into the demographic-conquering behemoth it became.
There’s really not a ‘bad’ colour in the batch. We were always quite partial to the Lime Kiwi Green one, ourselves.
Honestly, the Lite didn't have to do much to be smaller, sleeker, and infinitely sexier than the original, and we're saying that as people with fond memories of the DS 'Phat', as it's known colloquially. Perhaps, though, the perfection of the Lite was only possible thanks to its ungainly forebear. The DS Lite was the Switch to the original's Wii U... maybe.
Sexiest feature? The contrast between the gloss finish on the outside and matte on the inside was, as we say in there business, ‘a bit of all right’.
Opinion amongst Nintendo Life staff is divided along territorial lines when it comes to which version of the Super Nintendo is loveliest.
While acknowledging the sultry sophistication of the Super Famicom and its near-identical European cousin, our minority US contingent had an understandable soft spot for the redesigned North American version, with its purple highlights and the concave lilac 'X' and 'Y' buttons. Conversely, no European on the team would go to bat for the boxy NA version, certainly not against the curves and classiness of the EU console.
The European majority can totally appreciate the nostalgic attachment to the console of one's youth — and those concave buttons are pretty great, we'll give you that — but when it comes to choosing between the two, we'll just have to agree to disagree and hope it never comes to a vote.
Speaking for the NL ‘many’ versus ‘the few’, the Super Famicom is every bit as reliably solid as the North American version, yet also coquettish with its dashes of colour and gentle curves. It's business and pleasure in one subtle, near-perfect package.
Sexiest feature? Oh, let's be diplomatic and go with the coloured or concave buttons, depending on your region.
Wii (any, except the ‘Mini’)
And finally, we come to the plucky Wii. Famously just three stacked DVD cases in size, this glossy little wonder was a breath of fresh air in a staid gaming landscape filled with hulking great boxes. The grey-silver stand propped the original up at a jaunty angle in ‘vertical mode’ and it sat there unassumingly beside your TV, just wanting to have fun.
The fiddly wire trailing from the sensor bar to the console is the most unsightly thing about the cute console and we've got great memories of coming downstairs in the morning and being greeted by its little blue light pulsing away.
The Wii is a cracking console in any hue, and it knows how to have a good time. There’s much to be said for a new system that looks great perched next to the telly; one you don’t need to house in an entirely new entertainment centre.
Sexiest feature? The blue light emanating from the tray-less drive when it sucks in a disc. If only those discs had the curved edges of its successor's games... *bites lip*
Can an inanimate object be 'sexy'? Yes, of course it can. Silly question!
Let us know below which of the fine specimens above have you dashing for a cold shower. And, of course, feel free to share your own personal preferences when it comes to some fine-looking hardware, including you personal favourite special edition variants — there’s certainly enough of those! We’re off to eBay to hunt down one of those red anniversary Wiis...