Some of you may have forgotten and some of you never lived it, but there were some truly horrific designs for PC towers in the mid to late '90s. Before I say any more, have a look at some of these gems helpfully narrated by Lazy Game Reviews:
Now obviously some of these, like the Corner PC, are just the result of an incompetent industrial designer (or a designer under the thumb of a clueless market research team). But what's interesting is that others essentially have the software used to design them written all over them.
What I mean by that is, CAD was still not widespread in the early '90s. When you went into ID firms of the time, you still saw drafting boards, T-squares and ship's curves. In other words, drafting things with an excessive amount of curves, or things that had compound curves in three dimensions, was a royal pain in the ass.
But once 3D modeling started to work its way in there in the mid-'90s, it was suddenly easy to create organic shapes, whether or not it made any sense to add arbitrary curves to a thing. My theory is that some of the designers of the time could not help themselves, and that "form follows function" went out the window because they were too excited at being able to create forms like…this:
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So our industry began cranking out things, I believe, that reflected what the software was newly capable of, rather than sticking with principles of good design. We let the technology get the better of us, and some companies paid the price. So let that serve as a lesson!