Please, Please, Please, Sony: Give The PlayStation 5 Some Curves
By now, there's a good chance you've seen (the front of) the Xbox's next evolution, the Series X. The successor to the Xbox One and Xbox One X is due at the end of 2020, price TBA, and it looks like... well, it looks like a boring black plastic brick.
And look, I appreciate that some favour functionality and practicality, utilitarian efficiency. I totally get that some of you out there want your consoles dark, sensible, unobtrusive. You want these machines to slip into the shadows beneath your equally dark and sensible television, beside your darker and even more sensible Sky box (or whatever). Heaven forbid that a Device For Playing Games on should look like a toy.
But that's precisely what these things, these contraptions, these delightful distractions, are - primarily, at least. I acknowledge that my own main PS4 has become a Netflix and Minecraft machine, mostly, in the wake of the Switch's release - but I did buy it to play games on, way back when. Next to my Neon Red and Blue model Joy-Cons, though, said console - and the (PSVR-running) Slim, and the first-wave Xbox One beneath it - looks so incredibly drab.
PlayStation has long been locked into a series of unremarkable black shells for its console designs, all right angles and dusty grills, going back to the PlayStation 2 days. The PlayStation 3 certainly had some curves to it, especially that thicc OG model, but even those were subtle when stood beside systems from a few generations earlier.
And I miss that breed of games machine - the likes of the lumpy and bumpy Nintendo 64, the SEGA Mega Drive (mark one, obvs, with the off-centre cartridge slot inside the raised circle), and even the Xbox 360 before its squared-off and slimmed-down redesign. The red ring of death hasn't visited me, so my off-white original 360 is still at home, just behind the PS4 - a rattling ray of sunshine whenever I need a blast of Blur or Binary Domain.
Modern consoles have shaken off their deathly dull aesthetics now and then, of course, in the form of game-specific or anniversary based special editions. That translucent-blue PS4 Pro, produced in a strictly limited run to mark 500 million PlayStations sold, is absolutely a thing of beauty, and a callback to the 1990s trend of manufacturers producing see-through consoles for fun. If your eyes have never drunk in the clear-ish build quality of these Nintendo 64s, this SEGA Saturn and this Game Boy, please, take a moment and get a little intoxicated on them.
Perhaps this is the aging gamer in me speaking - well, no perhaps about it. I'm at the point of my life, and of my career, where I don't dislike looking back as well as forwards, and I've a huge soft spot in my centre for games consoles that were bright, colourful and fun. Oh no, you can't stack them? Mate, why are you stacking your consoles?
I can't help but feel that North America planted the seeds for this conservative console design preference when it insisted on adding sharp corners to the otherwise curvaceous Super Nintendo way back in 1991. The story goes that Nintendo of America thought the Japanese (and European) SNES looked like a bag of bread, and would look bad if they ever introduced a CD peripheral to sit beneath it. Never stopped SEGA, mind, whose Mega Drive and its sleek contours looked just fine with a Mega CD attached.
But back to the here and now, and Microsoft's Series X really is, IMO, the dullest-looking console yet. There's zero personality to it, no life, no zest or zeal for the gaming medium. It's the blankest box we've ever seen. Oh sure, it'll receive some special editions, I'm sure - but those, these days, are usually more offensively garish than not. We've a Star Wars: Battlefront II PS4 in the GAMINGbible office, and it upsets me every time I turn it on; and that 'camouflage' Call of Duty: WWII one of 2017 looks like someone threw up over it, out of both ends.
Besides, it's less about the colour and more about the shape, to briefly riff on the Foo Fighters back catalogue. What I would love to see, in the future, is a new game console that really embraces its primary reason for existing, and exudes playfulness in its design. Nintendo's Switch is novel of design, for sure, but it's still just a tablet with some detachable bits - flat and oddly joyless until you get zesty with those 'Cons.
So what I'm saying, what I'm begging, likely to deaf ears, is simple: PlayStation, please, put some curves on the PlayStation 5. Yes, your logo is the same as it's always been, and that's fine. Heck, it's good - brand recognition is important. But what with the PS5 devkit looking a darn sight more curvy (and, well, weird) than prior models for the PS3 and PS4, could we be in for a mass-produced console that actually harkens back to the don't-put-your-glass-here gradients of what remains, for some, gaming's 16-bit golden era?
Nah, probably not. But those translucent N64s really were something, eh.
Featured Image Credit: Sony Interactive Entertainment