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That's because of Atari crashing in the early 1980s that stopped the video game market and nearly killed it in the US making US retailers skittish on offering retail space for any video games. When considering bringing over the Famicom, it was decided that it should look more like a kids device than an actual video game system. So it was decided to turn it into the famous gray side-loading "toaster" along with Super Mario Bros., R.O.B., and the NES Zapper for Duck Hunt during the early NES life cycle.
These changes single handedly resurrected the video game market in the US and made retailers less afraid to stock Nintendo products and later other video game products not by Nintendo (like SEGA with their 8-bit Master System).