Originally Posted by Laws00
Can someone explain to me what the those 4 black button ovals on the super Nintendo represent? Are they the controller buttons?
On the Super Famicom and European model I can see what they are doing with it but the USA model never made any sense to me.
The JP logo is referencing that there are two new buttons above the 'normal' two. The 2X2 button layout was revolutionary in 1990. The PC Engine had a straight Famicom controller (aka 1983 design) ripoff, and the Mega Drive essentially did too, adding a third action button in a line and a start button only got it up to Famicom spec (Sega spent the whole 8-bit era one step behind Nintendo
in controller designs)
They took the concept of adding a second row of buttons and made it clear in the logo. It also implies '3D' to a certain extent as the top two buttons are 'raised' in 3D - because 3D elements were one of the Super Famicom's points of difference, with the mode 7 stuff and plans for more things.
The four colours are also intricately woven into the system's design and packaging. The four sides of the box march the four colours of the buttons, and even the design on the top is a drawing of the console in lines of those colours. Many games factor the colours into their designs as well, eg the menus in Zelda are colour coded.
The US design takes the idea of the four buttons, and mixes it up with some late 80s 'rad dudes' imagery. The four buttons in a circle is stretched/elongated and cropped to imply 'non-conformist attitude'. It also has the grey lines, orange dots and turquoise square 'random shapes and lines and patterns on a black background' thing, designed to imply 'zany movement' - pretty standard 80s stuff, google image search '80s logo' and see many things with a similar aesthetic in more exaggerated form. But it didn't go too far, it was just on the edges of an otherwise standard presentation of technology (like home computers) thing.
Just like the console design itself, the American box and logo was late 80s 'rad' zeitgeist stuff. But IMO it kind of missed the mark by only getting halfway there - Sega did the same 'badass attitude' thing but better (worse?). Whoever chose purple buttons, it just makes no sense.
Whereas the Super Fami is more of a 'fun but high quality family edutainment' look. In Japan they the cute 'minimalist but fun' box. In Australia/Europe it was sort of a middle ground they made it even more bland like a home PC box, but kept the design and logo of the Japanese one.