Lance Barr, the man who designed the Nintendo Entertainment System and the Super Nintendo, has announced his retirement. The announcement was made on his LinkedIn page, where he revealed that “after almost 39 years at Nintendo, I am retiring and moving onto ‘other’ projects.” It remains to be seen just what those other projects might be, but hopefully we’ll see more of his creative genius in the near future. Barr has had a historic run with the company, designing some of its most memorable products. It’s hard to overstate what an impact his designs have had, and how they’ve shaped the gaming industry.
Barr began his career with Nintendo in 1982, first designing arcade cabinets for the company. The Famicom released in Japan in 1983, but the system would see a number of changes before coming to North America in 1985. Barr helped redesign the Japanese Famicom, in order to sell the console in a region where interest in video games had greatly dropped off. In addition to the NES and SNES, Barr also designed the Wii Nunchuck.
It’s interesting to imagine what might have happened had the NES released with a different design! The console’s library might have been enough to win over gamers, but the system’s design remains a cultural icon 36 years after its initial release. Gamers can find the designs Barr created across all kinds of different products, from t-shirts, to LEGO sets, to Hallmark ornaments. It stands as a testament to his skills as a designer, and it seems like a safe bet that the designs of the NES and SNES will be remembered for decades to come.
While Barr might not be a household name to most gamers, his designs have played an instrumental role in Nintendo’s success, as well as the success of the entire video game industry; had the NES failed, there likely wouldn’t be an industry at all! There are countless people working behind the scenes in game development that might not get the level of recognition that they deserve. Hopefully, Barr’s contributions to the industry will be long remembered, and his next projects will find a similar level of success.
Are you disappointed to hear about Barr’s departure from Nintendo? What do you think of his designs for Nintendo? Let us know in the comments or share your thoughts directly on Twitter at @Marcdachamp to talk all things gaming!
[H/T: Nintendo Life]