Several methods are available for delivering colors to plastics. One popular technique is called color compounding. Color both enhances and adds value to custom designed compounds. Colored plastics make a product look unique and special. In many industries, color compounding is used as a brand-marketing tool that signifies the companies “look”. A color compound can become synonymous with the name of an industry, which helps to generate sales.
In the video game industry, older shells and cartridges were colored in a specific fashion to highlight a brand, game type, or in some cases even characters.
For Nintendo, cartridge color used to be universal--each cartridge had a dull gray base affixed with a sticker logo and title of the game. Sega’s brand was known for their black game cartridges, which were slightly larger than their Nintendo rival. At the beginning of the video game industry, about 100% of cartridges were black, boring and similar looking. The only way to tell the games apart was to look at the bland title.
It wasn’t until the gold cartridge of the Legend of Zelda that a game was deemed special by the color of its cartridge. The dazzling gold of Zelda, something that had never been seen before, set it apart from every other game on the market. It made the game seem as if it was held to a higher standard, one that deserved a better cartridge than the mundane generic grey.
Once companies caught wind of the fact that colors increased sales, the spectrum of shades increased exponentially. For the Gameboy, Nintendo released Pokémon red, yellow, and blue, which were all relatively the same game. But with a different color they transformed into a collectible series. Nintendo 64 released a whole array of colors that included red, blue, silver, gold, and bright yellow for hit titles.
All of this was made possible due to the process of color compounding. By altering the hue and tone of the plastic, game companies were able to increase their brand marketing and eventually sell more games. Color compounding is still a vital aspect of the video game industry, as many of the disc holders are colored to match a corresponding brand. For instance, Xbox uses a light green plastic container while Sony uses a vibrant Blue.Related Reading