When Nintendo launched the Nintendo Entertainment System in the West, the console was gray and black. Its Japanese originator, the Famicom, was not.
The Famicom's colors (white, gold and red) have become iconic in Japan. The red isn't a simply a dark red, but an azuki red.
According to a report on IT Media, former Nintendo president Hiroshi Yamauchi said that the azuki red was good for the Famicom. But the two-tone design was selected for more than cosmetic purposes. At that time, the azuki red plastic was cheaper that other colors, IT Media reports.
Nintendo was able to save on the controllers as well as for some of the console's casing and switches. IT Media also points out that the reason why the second Famicom controller does not have a "Start" or a "Select" button was to reduce costs as well.
The Nintendo Entertainment System, however, did not have azuki red-colored plastic or missing "Start" and "Select" buttons. Nintendo might have cut costs for the Japanese Famicom, but it didn't for the NES. That doesn't mean Japan got a lesser console.
There were several differences between the two versions. For example, the Famicom featured controllers that were wired to the console, unlike the NES, which sported removable controllers.
Released in 1983 as the "Family Computer", the Nintendo Famicom was finally discontinued in Japan in 2003. In North America, the NES was discontinued in 1995.