Recently we got confirmation that the 3DS is about to go purple, which was no doubt big news to Prince and people who still know what Teletubbies is. But it's just the latest in a long line of alt-color reissues intended to let you play in any shade or hue your heart desires (which, for the ladies, only translates to pink according to marketing).
While the custom of releasing base editions in Staunch Black or Lifestyle White continues to this day, recolored consoles (and we're not counting fan-mods or faded-SNES yellow) have been getting issued since home gaming was a thing. Join us now for a technicolor adventure through the history of console reissues that aren't beige.
We'll start at the low end of the color spectrum with black (yes, color nerds, we're tackling this one subtractively). The color without any color has adorned many a base-edition, because we're talking about products historically targeted toward people who think colors are a bit "fruity" (ie defensive pre-teen boys). This same demographic are also likely to buy your console if the only alteration is making it smokey gray, or putting a little logo on it somewhere.
However, if you want to get technical about it, the first Japanese Sega Master System was white, making Sega's subsequent line of badass-black reissues some of the company's first alt-color editions (whereas you could have a Genesis in any shade you liked, as long as it was black). One Game Boy Advance SP comes in black, emblazoned with the challenging legend WHO ARE YOU?; the beer-themed PSP, given out to Stella Artois reps a while back, disappointingly chooses a muted black over bottle-green, beer-amber, or hangover-vom puce.
Nowadays, it's considered normal for handhelds to come in a range of stylish colors (and then some), but once upon a time it was apparently believed that nobody would know you were playing Game Boy unless it was workstation-beige. Thank goodness for footballers Manchester United, then (oh, the enemies we've just made in Chelsea), for sneaking a vibrant red, Man U-branded Game Boy into British stores.
One of the first recolored Game Gears was also impeccably-branded in gorgeous Coca-Cola red (oh, the enemies we've just made at Pepsi-Cola). Sega also did a special Christmas Red edition of its Seaman-branded Dreamcast, because apparently all the regular-colored Seaman Dreamcasts had sold out? You can also get the Game Boy Micro in Mother 3 Red, a taunting reminder to English-speaking Mother fans which breaks with Nintendo's tradition of branding red things after Mario or the original Griffindor-tinted Famicom.
While nowadays orange (or Spice) colored machines get relegated to the sell these ones when all the black ones are gone shelf, the very first alternate-color console was in fact an orange one. Magnavox's Odyssey 100 began a line of alt-color machines that would traverse the hues of yellow, white, red and, um, white again all while competitors were cranking out wood-panel machines by the crate, because God bless the 1970s.
While many companies apparently haven't discovered that anything exists between red and yellow, Nintendo's been doing orange machines since before the N64 though confusingly the Tigers-branded Gamecube isn't among them. Extremely limited-edition models of the Xbox and Gamecube came in Atari Orange and orange-ish faux-wood-panel respectively, because God bless the 2000s.
You best believe Nintendo's done a machine or five that's yellow, because Pikachu is yellow and kids love Pokemonses. The Game Gear also came in vibrant yellow, this being the vogue for trendy electronics goods at the time. Japanese players could enjoy a transparent-yellow Game Boy, while a Donkey Kong-branded GBASP came in Banana Yellow with brown accents.
And then of course there's gold, which is just a really ballin' version of yellow. Nintendo's done its best to corner the market on this entire shade due to its long-standing association with Zelda. Nowadays the company doesn't even have to make gold consoles for them to find their way into the world: THQ sent Her Royal Highness Elizabeth II, Queen of England and the Commonwealth Realms, a gold-plated Wii to celebrate the launch of BIG Family Games. Which is of course why we all own and play that game on a regular basis.
If you'll recall, the N64's heyday coincided with the Apple Mac's celebrated foray into multicolor, and Nintendo released a line of strikingly similar-looking machines - including a green one - in an early sign of appreciation.
But there are plenty of other reasons to color a console green, such as there's a Metal Gear Solid game on it or there's a Halo game on it or people like to drink Mountain Dew. The MGS series, in particular, saw a host of PSP recolors in various camo hues, which would be immensely useful if you were hiding out in the jungle and really needed a blast on Liberty City Stories. Or you could go with the Mazora Green Dreamcast, whose look might be described as like a bowling ball you could play Jet Set Radio on. The best of both worlds!
Did you know that up until relatively recently, blue was considered a girly color and boys were supposed to favor red or pink? Of course, if manufacturers still paid attention to such things, all game consoles would be black until someone specifically asked for another color say, to adorn a Lion King-branded Game Gear or tenth-anniversary PlayStation reissue.
Pokemon fans could pick up a blue Pokemon-themed Nintendo 64, presumably because some Pokemon are blue and there are N64 games with Pokemon in the title; we're more partial to the Gundam-themed Dreamcast or ice-blue Xbox that got released alongside Halo 2. Some sort of edition-limited-for-a-reason prize has to go to the Dead or Alive-themed Xbox, which started in inoffensive-enough blue then got slathered with airbrushed art of the DoA girls that wouldn't look out of place on a Have you seen this van?? poster.
Despite providing the 3DS that inspired this feature, we're lumping these two colors in together because otherwise it'd be a lonely couple of entries and Sir Isaac Newton isn't around to object. Suck it, father of the Enlightenment! Anyhow, there are lots of consoles that could charitably be called violet or fuchsia or whatever color it is you make something when you want girls to buy it.
Indeed, Sega's Brazil-only Master System Girl revolves entirely around this conceit, with a fuchsia shell, purple buttons and... an extremely rare conversion of Street Fighter II, because why not? SNK released the Neo Geo Pocket in three different kinds of purple, an overemphasis which explains why we're not all playing Blue's Journey on the bus today. Sony's hit on the notion that girls apparently like lurid colors and pop music, releasing pinkish consoles to tie-in with P!nk, Hannah Montana and Singstar.
Thank goodness you could get the Saturn in white, because that way you could play NiGHTS on it and buy people a Moody Blues record when they realized how clever you were being. You'll laugh when you get it. We'll leave you to it.
Both the Intellivision and C64 saw white variations - because in the early days of consumer electronics, heaven forfend you should branch out into a color that's actually interesting. Even Nintendo's NES 2 played it safe.