The Designer of NES and SNES Has Left Nintendo After Nearly 40 Years

Lance Barr, the designer of the NES and SNES, is leaving Nintendo after almost 39 years.
Barr joined the Japanese giant in 1982 as a design and brand director. While Barr began his career designing arcade cabinets, he later redesigned Nintendo’s first two consoles, the Famicom and Super Famicom. This was primarily to appeal to western consumers on an aesthetic level
If you’re familiar with Nintendo’s Famicom line of consoles, you know that although they’re internally the same as the NES and SNES, their external appearance could not be more different. Famicom featured hardwired controllers, smaller cartridges, and a fun color scheme. The SNES’s design rework was much more subtle and only released in North America.
Nintendojo spoke with Barr about the process of transforming the Famicom into the NES:

“…the biggest change was the orientation and size requirements to accommodate a new edge connector for inserting the games. The new edge connecter was a ‘zero force’ design that allowed the game to be inserted with low force and then rotated down into the ‘contact’ position. The case had to be designed around the movement of the game and required the shape and size of the NES to grow from the earlier concepts. Many of the features remained, such as the two-tone color, left and right side cuts, and overall “boxy” look, but the proportions changed significantly to accommodate the new edge connector.

Throughout his career, Barr has continued to influence Nintendo’s hardware design. Barr has left his creative mark on Nintendo’s legacy with everything from the NES Zapper to the Nunchuck controller.
What is Barr going to do next? On his LinkedIn page, the designer indicates that he has retired. His website indicates he will move on to other untitled projects in the future. Barr certainly deserves some time off, but perhaps he has more in store for the iconic designer.
However, we wish you a long and happy retirement, Lance, and thank you for all you have done for us.

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