Lance Barr, the redesigner of the NES and SNES for the west has retired from his position of Design & Brand Director at Nintendo of America after nearly four decades (38 years) of working there. His announcement is short and sweet, stating that "After almost 39 years at Nintendo, I am retiring and moving onto “other” projects." Who knows what those projects might end up being, but if he's done for good with video games he's leaving behind an impressive legacy.
In a 2005 Nintendodojo interview about the Famicon being redesigned into the NES, Barr stated that the design was originally conceived as a wireless and modular system. It also looked like a stereo system and was presumably much more expensive. Nintendo then asked Barr to help reduce overall costs. To do so, the wireless functionality was eliminated along with some of the modular add-ons such as the keyboard and data recorder. However, the biggest change was the "orientation and size requirements to accommodate a new edge connector for inserting the games", which apparently was a pretty big deal as it allowed the game to be inserted into the system with "low force".
Barr wasn't a one-trick pony either. He also created the NES Zapper, NES Advantage, NES Max, and the top-loading NES redesign along with its unique 'dog bone' controller. He also helped redesign the SNES into the more box-like shape we know today due to the feeling that the Famicom version was "too soft and had no edge".
In more recent years, he helped to design the Wii Nunchuck controller, which even with my big hands was a comfortable controller to hold and use.
What do you think of this news? What's your favorite creation/redesign of Barr's? Have you ever tried a NES Zapper, NES Advantage, or NES Max? Let us know in the comments!