It is hard to believe but the classic GameCube is now twenty years old. The system which launched in 2001 had some excellent Nintendo content such as Luigi’s Mansion, Super Smash Bros Melee, Star Wars Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader, The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker, and more, but some gamers at the time were put off with the vibrant purple colour choice and almost child-like design.
To celebrate the GameCube’s 20th anniversary, VGC has spoken to Perrin Kaplan, who was VP of marketing at Nintendo of America at the time, who told them that the PR and marketing teams at Nintendo of America were not happy with the default purple colour choice and they informed Nintendo Japan of this. However, as the Japanese branch has the final say on what goes, Nintendo of America were basically told, ‘nope, the company is going with this’. Nintendo of America wanted to have a Black GameCube and a Silver GameCube at launch, as they thought that the purple GameCube looked to feminine at the time and they were nervous that it would be slated at E3 based on the system’s colour.
“We actually suggested that the purple was not the best to start with and (Japan) said, ‘no, we’re going to use that.’ Then we pushed for black and silver, because I think in the US nobody had ever really done the purple color before. It wasn’t that you couldn’t bring out hardware that was a different color, it was just a very… ‘female’ looking color. It just didn’t feel masculine, I think. I remember us being very nervous at E3 that we were going to get bad press purely based on the color.”Perrin Kaplan, Nintendo’s former VP of marketing and corporate affairs
“This pre-dates Apple. Picking your color these days is like making a statement. But back then all the game systems were black… even white hadn’t really been done widely. Nintendo was never a technology story, but we were always combating what our competitors at Sony and Microsoft were doing from a PR perspective and having this purple box didn’t quite help there.”Nintendo of America’s former director of corporate communications, Beth Llewelyn