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Super Mario: How Nintendo Conquered America Paperback – September 25, 2012
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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 ›
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 ›
Now if you DO know your history, this book could still be a interesting read. You will know what information is incorrect. But I DO NOT recommend this book to those just starting up on their video game history.
Ok, I'm a few more chapters in. And I am starting to wonder if the author is living in another dimension playing games that had taken a different path in development. Samus Arau is the heroine of Metroid? Yoshi starts out small, and needed to be made bigger by gulping down enemies?
I am starting to get frustrated now. How can this guy write a book with so many things that are so wrong. And claim to be a lifelong gamer? Why didn't I ever think to write a book about something I seem to know nothing of and make some money?
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Very light reading. Mostly for Nintendo fan boys. Learned a few things I didn't already know. Wished there was more detail and depth.Published 1 month ago by vilentsage
My son loves this book it is great for kids who don't like reading but enjoy a story about video booksPublished 3 months ago by Slakkie
my son is a mario freak and will read or play anything mario..this made a great surprisePublished 4 months ago by Sunshine
Been playing games since 1979. Was nice to hear the story of how one of the giants came to be.Published 5 months ago by Rick
Greg up in the 80s and Mario rules my Childhood. Great business insights to with regards to how Nintendo ruled the market.Published 10 months ago by Mopar guy