Lance Barr The Designer Of The NES And SNES Has Retired From Nintendo After Almost 40 Years

Darunion

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Ugliest industrial designs though. Top loading NES was probably the worst to me. First NES "lets make a box and overly complicate the pcb connection to the cartridge!". Great systems but would have been great systems with a completely different look too, it was all about the games and marketing.
 

Red Falcon

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The original NES in the mid-1980s was so hi-tech looking had such a futuristic aesthetic that other consoles of that time couldn't match.
Beyond aesthetic, it definitely had more than a few issues, but the games were fun, and the console has been iconic to this day.

Hope he moves on to bigger and better things!
 

sfsuphysics

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Barr was instrumental in reshaping 1983's Japanese Famicom for the North American market, developing the unique front-loading VHS-style mechanism which made the console so unique when compared to previous examples of the hardware, like the Atari VCS.
So instead of just pushing a cartridge down, he's solely responsible for a generation of kids blowing into the end of a cartridge and reinserting it when contacts didn't touch correctly? :D
 

[Spectre]

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I always gave it a good blow, then inserted it into the slot and gave it a good wiggle...

Giggity!
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cybereality

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Can't imagine working the same job for 40 years. Dude is awesome, but also a relic of the past.
 

Jonnycat99

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Deoxit D5 would have fixed that problem.
Too bad no one knew anything about it back then.

There were other products back then, but you had to read an electronics supply catalog to find out about them. I used de-ox-id from GC Electronics (smelled like Kroil).
 

Derangel

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So instead of just pushing a cartridge down, he's solely responsible for a generation of kids blowing into the end of a cartridge and reinserting it when contacts didn't touch correctly? :D

Nope. If you actually read the article, you'll find a quote of him talking about the NES design. The edge connector was forced on him after they already had a public prototype.
 

THRESHIN

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one interesting point about blowing the cartridges (jokes aside) that ties in with human bias - apparently blowing on the connections did nothing. sure we all did it including me. we saw that if we did this a couple of times the game would (maybe) work. so thanks to human bias, we figured that this works. except it didn't....it was the act of removing the cart and reinserting it that did it. this gave the connections another chance to make contact.

i didn't know this myself until only a couple years ago. came up in a seminar at work regarding human bias and human nature. i thought it was interesting but at the same time felt like a fool for blowing the nintendo. at least the nintendo had a good time.
 

Armenius

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Sorry, I prefer the design of the one on the left. The colors of the Japanese flag could have been changed or at least added some blue in there. Instead we got that hulking boxy thing on the right.

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Chris_B

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Not sure why the SNES needed a redesign, afaik the U.S. is the only country to get one that looked different, everywhere else got the Japanese design.
 

Armenius

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Not sure why the SNES needed a redesign, afaik the U.S. is the only country to get one that looked different, everywhere else got the Japanese design.
Also don't know why they had to make the buttons monochrome shades of purple. Is there any story as to where the purple color scheme on the NTSC/U version came from in the first place?
 

Chris_B

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Also don't know why they had to make the buttons monochrome shades of purple. Is there any story as to where the purple color scheme on the NTSC/U version came from in the first place?
Dunno what the story was there, just seemed like it was changed for "reasons". Even the redesign of the console didn't make a lot of sense, it just added bulk and sharp edges instead of rounded edges. Overall it seemed pretty pointless. The NES according to that article was redesigned to take some components out of it, the SNES just seemed to be redesigned for no reason at all. Even the cartridges were redesigned to have a different shape and sharp edges.

6st3vf6.jpg
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His early designs for the snes were a bit mad looking as well.

https://snescentral.com/article.php?id=0877


Found this vid, around 30 seconds in it says why the changes to colours were made, apparently so it wouldn't look like a toy.
 
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Armenius

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Dunno what the story was there, just seemed like it was changed for "reasons". Even the redesign of the console didn't make a lot of sense, it just added bulk and sharp edges instead of rounded edges. Overall it seemed pretty pointless. The NES according to that article was redesigned to take some components out of it, the SNES just seemed to be redesigned for no reason at all. Even the cartridges were redesigned to have a different shape and sharp edges.

6st3vf6.jpg
View attachment 389167

His early designs for the snes were a bit mad looking as well.

https://snescentral.com/article.php?id=0877


Found this vid, around 30 seconds in it says why the changes to colours were made, apparently so it wouldn't look like a toy.
That's a laugh. The US SNES arguably looks more like a toy than the Super Famicom. I recall fondly purchasing our SNES with my grandfather at Toys 'R Us and the console fit in very well with the rest of the toys in the store.
 

GoodBoy

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That's a laugh. The US SNES arguably looks more like a toy than the Super Famicom. I recall fondly purchasing our SNES with my grandfather at Toys 'R Us and the console fit in very well with the rest of the toys in the store.
That would actually be a valid reason. The left snes looks more like an appliance. Looking at it, for all I know the lid opens and it takes VHS tapes. I prefer the one on the right.

For the nes, I think the Japanese one had wired in controllers. Which meant fixed length cords, and you couldn't replace them easily, it had to be taken apart. That alone justifies some design changes. The grey box allows the room for the controller connector and other connectors.
 

cybereality

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I don't know, I think blowing on NES cartridges did something. I mean, it would work.

Also, anyone else put your cartridges in the freezer? That was the other trick if blowing didn't work.
 

Krenum

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I don't know, I think blowing on NES cartridges did something. I mean, it would work.

Also, anyone else put your cartridges in the freezer? That was the other trick if blowing didn't work.
Never heard of putting them in the freezer. We just blew on them. Sometimes a little alcohol & a Q tip to clean the contacts. Then wiggle.
 

Armenius

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I don't know, I think blowing on NES cartridges did something. I mean, it would work.

Also, anyone else put your cartridges in the freezer? That was the other trick if blowing didn't work.
What in the world is the idea of putting them in the freezer?
 

cybereality

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Not sure, there wasn't the internet back then so I think someone just told me about it.

It wasn't for long, you would let the game freeze for about 5 or 10 minutes. Seems dumb now.
 

kirbyrj

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Deoxit D5 would have fixed that problem.
Too bad no one knew anything about it back then.

That wasn't the only problem. The 72-pin connector would physically warp from moving it up and down over time also.

I think a company called Blinking Light Win made a whole replacement connector to avoid the wear on the pins, but it's probably long sold out by now.
 
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