Today is the Nintendo GameCube’s 20th anniversary in North America, and we’re learning the iconic purple color was highly debated within Nintendo ahead of its release.
Speaking to VGC, Nintendo’s former VP of marketing and corporate affairs Perrin Kaplan said Nintendo of America was very concerned about bringing the purple color to store shelves.
“We actually suggested that the purple was not the best to start with and [Japan] said, ‘no, we’re going to use that’,” Kaplan said. “Then we pushed for black and silver, because I think in the US nobody had ever really done the purple colour before.”
Kaplan added they worried they would get bad publicity because of the purple choice.
“It wasn’t that you couldn’t bring out hardware that was a different colour, 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.”
At the time, the late Hiroshi Yamauchi was president of Nintendo, and Kaplan said he had a much different leadership style than his successor, Satoru Iwata. Kaplan said, “Under Yamauchi, we knew he was the boss,” and it seems feedback from Nintendo of America was not heavily considered.
In North America, the GameCube ended up appearing in black, and silver variations in addition to purple, as Kaplan says Nintendo of America pushed for. Other regions saw white and orange versions, as well.
The GameCube ended up selling 22 million units in its lifetime, losing out to both the Xbox (24 million) and the runaway success of the PS2, which topped 155 million units. Still, the GameCube is fondly remembered by Nintendo fans to this day for games like Super Smash Bros. Melee, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, Metroid Prime, and more.
If you’re feeling nostalgic for Nintendo’s purple cube, check out our picks for the best GameCube games of all time.
Logan Plant is a freelance writer for IGN. You can find him on Twitter @LoganJPlant.