Industrial-Sized Deals Best Books of the Month Shop Women's Handbags Learn more nav_sap_SWP_6M_fly_beacon Disturbed Storm Fire TV Stick Subscribe & Save Find the Best Purina Pro Plan for Your Pet Shop Popular Services Home Theater Setup Plumbing Services Assembly Services Shop all TransparentGGWin TransparentGGWin TransparentGGWin  Amazon Echo Fire HD 6 Kindle Voyage The Walking Dead\ Shop Back to School with Amazon Back to School with Amazon Outdoor Recreation Deal of the Day
Super Mario: How Nintendo Conquered America and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Super Mario: How Nintendo Conquered America Hardcover – August 4, 2011

60 customer reviews

See all 10 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
"Please retry"
"Please retry"
$49.72 $5.88

Best Books of the Year So Far
Best Books of the Year So Far
Looking for something great to read? Browse our editors' picks for 2015's Best Books of the Year So Far in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The history of how a Japanese video game featuring two Italian brothers became one of America's favorite pastimes is covered in exhaustive, enthusiastic detail by video game reviewer Ryan. The author takes readers through Nintendo's early business machinations; the story of Mario's eccentric creator, Shigeru Miyamoto; and the game-changing emergence of Nintendo's motion controller for the Wii, with a breezy journalistic style. At times the tone slips into the white hat–black hat morality employed in most video games, often painting Nintendo's business competitors or detractors with broad reductive strokes—"hardcore gamers sneer at Wii"—and paeans to new Nintendo releases get smattered with exclamation points, so that some pages read like Nintendo promo material. All of this is distracting but not fatal, and the book is a thorough history of Nintendo's victories, written by an enthusiastic and knowledgeable fan. (Aug.)

About the Author

Jeff Ryan, a lifelong gamer, has been featured on and All Things Considered. He reviewed over 500 video games and covered four console launches as the games editor for Katrillion, a popular dotcom-era news and entertainment Web site. He lives in Bloomfield, New Jersey.


Best Books of the Month
Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Portfolio (August 4, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591844053
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591844051
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #556,895 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

56 of 61 people found the following review helpful By KingGeorge24 on August 11, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The best part of this book, by far, is the cover. It's an arresting piece of artwork for anyone who grew up with a Nintendo: Mario paused in mid-jump, a perfectly Nintendo shade of blue wallpapered behind him. It's an image that promises more than the book offers.

The writing is clean and straightforward but far too often Ryan resorts to pop culture jokes (the intro to Sonic the Hedgehog is particularly brutal) or cultural stereotypes (in the section detailing with the creation of the first Mario arcade game are the inevitable references to yin and yang and Japanese Zen). It's a style that should be familiar to anyone who's read Wired magazine. There are also a few spelling errors sprinkled throughout the book, nothing terrible, although Konami is referred to as Komani.

As a history of Nintendo it's a worthy primer but don't expect anything as in-depth or meticulously researched as David Sheff's "Game Over: How Nintendo Conquered the World," from which "Super Mario" paraphrased a cover image and a subtitle. "Game Over" was a video game book but also a business book. At nearly 500 pages it offered a level of detail and character necessary to understand the under-scrutinized subject. Ryan too often focuses on the trivial and skates by the interesting; multiple page bios on historical footnotes like Captain Lou Albano and Billy Mitchell yet a single paragraph of background on Shigeru Miyamoto. For a more compelling look at the history of Nintendo and Miyamato, I'd first refer one to "Game Over" and "Master of Play" by Nick Paumgarten from the New Yorker.

Ryan's greatest mistake is in his disregard for any description of the actual act of playing video games. There's never any sense of what it's like to hold a controller in one's hands and play a game.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
30 of 34 people found the following review helpful By M. Lin on October 2, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am rarely moved to share my opinions on things, but there's a lot about this book that I can't keep quiet about.
As far as the content of the book, I agree with what other reviewers have said in that the author's telling of Nintendo's history up until about the SNES, at most N64 era, is the book's strongest. For Nintendo's history after that, you're not much better off than asking a Gamestop employee for it. As for this writing style, I also felt he was trying too hard to be hip and witty and detracted from the book. To call a past Japanese NOA president "Grandpa Ojisan" (Grandpa grandpa?) and then Reggie Fils-Aime "Will Smith" was about as funny as a Hiroshima joke. But that's his writing style and I've already bought the book, and that's not what really bothered me.
What really irked me with this book is the misinformation. This book seems more like a 200 page wikipedia entry than a published work. A few mistakes is forgivable but the amount this book has makes me wonder who proof-read it. For being written by a 'life-long gamer' and focusing on Nintendo, it's amazing how he can misspell the system that was the catalyst for video games throughout the whole book - the Famicom (FAMily COMputer) not Famicon. Also, it's the DSLL (or DSXL), not DSX (it's still on store shelves for crying out loud). There's also a lot of other wrong info and misspellings, but a few standouts were claiming the original PSP had 16gb of memory built in, that the Xbox 360 and PS3 both required $100 of extra charges to play online at launch, that the original Pokemon's types were fire, water and ice (assuming he was referring to Charmander, Squirtle and Bulbasaur) or claiming that both Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest were made by Square during the N64 era.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
26 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Nicholas J. Castellina on September 10, 2012
Format: Hardcover
The author obviously did zero research when putting this together. As other reviewers have mentioned, it is full of inaccuracies. I know it sounds nitpicky, but the author consistently calls the "Famicom" the "Famicon". (Also repeatedly refers to "Konami" as "Komani". Here are a few examples of facts that are incorrectly stated:

1. There is a princess at the end of every four levels in Super Mario Bros.
2. You have to push a button to use the hammer in Donkey Kong
3. Bowser is the end boss in the United States' Super Mario Bros. 2.

I've heard most of the stories in this book, so it wasn't too much of an issue to me, but it makes me wonder if the things I didn't know were completely inaccurate. Additionally, for some reason people like Billy Mitchell and Captain Lou Albano get more thorough biographies than Shigeru Miyamoto.

This is just a really poor effort, and it pains me that there are so few books about Nintendo history that something like this may endure and give misinformation to future generations.
2 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Thomas E. O'Sullivan on October 23, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Some day someone is going to sit down and write a truly intensive, well researched, deeply illuminating history of NINTENDO; as a company that started off with playing cards and ended up playing the global domination card by creating a cast of mascots that have become as much a part of world as the air we breath - Jeff Ryan's SUPER MARIO is not that book, it doesn't even come close to the idea of being that book. It's merely a cursory look at Nintendo and their history - a simple by the numbers approach time line, with already well established stories, backgrounds, ready mixed histories and tidbits - lots of tidbits. In fact, one of the worst problems with this book is the clear short selling of the material in favor of quick blog-style chapters and vapid web based prose that leaves you either bored or wishing for something more.

Despite Mario on the covering jumping over his own title the book has little in the way of action - I find it hard to believe that the rise of Nintendo was as cut and dry as it's laid out here; but Ryan seems content with delivering just a hands off, white glove, face front prose that - despite the facts - feels like fiction. The book is a book of lists - this came first, then was followed by this, which begat that, which bore this, which brought us to this moment here and no more. I wanted background, I wanted details, I wanted to know how the company ran, was run, is run now and if its hallways ever ran with blood - in a company of this size, with its long history, there have to be some bodies stockpiled somehwere. Ryan does not feel the need to dig - the book is landfill; shiny bits, glossy moments, glimmers of a bygone empire, with a hazy horizon at its summit and little else.

The book is neither SUPER or MARIO - it's a low scoring disappointment without an extra life; PRESS START and try again.
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Want to discover more products? Check out this page to see more: xbox 720 price