Nintendo Explains The Red Box, Dashes Hope For Yellow Ones

Why is the next big Mario game the first Wii title to not come in a white case? Credit Japan, Nintendo told Kotaku today. And don't expect it to happen again.

"It was an NCL idea," Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime said today, referring to the Japanese company's home office to which his office reports, during an interview at New York's Waldorff Astoria hotel.

Nintendo HQ had determined that New Super Mario Bros. Wii, which launches Sunday, would be the first Wii game to come in a red case, rather than a white one.

"New Super Mario Brothers is such a special title," Fils-Aime said, "It is something that [Mario creator Shigeru] Miyamoto and his team have been so passionate about — that when it came time for the final packaging, we had many internal discussions as to how we make it special.

"And that's where the idea of the red box came from: How do we signify to our Nintendo fans, to our greater community the specialness of this title? The red is Mario red.

"What we did differently here in the U.S., when we were looking at the final packaging, we were concerned that the Wii logo on the red, in what we call the branding bar, was a little too plain just white. So it's in our market we've made it silver with the metallic ink to make it pop more."

Fils-Aime has said that gaming retailers have been excited. As for other publisher reaction, he dismissed the idea that Nintendo's lone red box amid a wall of white Wii boxes at a game shop would distract attention from other publishers' games games. "I haven't heard any licensees concerned that the box is somehow going to overly sway the consumer," he said. "I think our licensees understand that, from a first party stand-point, New Super Mario Bros. is our biggest title for the holidays. And I bet most licensees are excited about the hardware-driving potential of that particular title."

One red box is not the start of a trend, however.

"We've been clear that this is kind of a one-time deal," Fils-Aime noted. "Don't expect to see a yellow box for x or a gold box for y."

An idea formed.... "Luigi's Mansion 2 would have a green box?" Kotaku offered helpfully.

Fils-Aime ignored that: "We wanted this to be very special and very unique which is why we went down the path with the red box."