- Hardcover: 576 pages
- Publisher: It Books (May 13, 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0062276697
- ISBN-13: 978-0062276698
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.7 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 461 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #301,392 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Console Wars: Sega, Nintendo, and the Battle that Defined a Generation Hardcover – May 13, 2014
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From the Publisher
Ben Mezrich, bestselling author of Bringing Down the House and Straight Flush, Reviews Console Wars
OK, full disclosure: I spent most of my twenties obsessed with GoldenEye on the Nintendo 64; I’ve got enough old videogame cartridges to build a medium-sized cartridge castle in my living room; and I’ve spent hours arguing the relative merits of Playstation versus Xbox. But Console Wars had me hooked from the first page. Written as narrative nonfiction, the story zings along at a breakneck pace. Compiling a massive amount of research into a well-executed dramatic arc, Harris tells the David vs. Goliath story of Sega’s epic battle against the gaming behemoth Nintendo. I especially enjoyed reading about the development of Sega’s mascot – and would-be Mario-killer – Sonic, the frenetic, frenzied little hedgehog that eventually shifted the balance between the two companies, changed the gaming landscape forever. The character of Tom Kalinske, the brilliant business guru (who’d resurrected Barbie, turning a back-of-the-closet, anachronistic doll into a contemporary, billion-dollar phenomenon) tapped to transform Sega from a small-scale Japanese arcade game outfit into a global competitor, is deftly drawn; from the very beginning, he faces a herculean task, not the least of which is his need to bridge the cultural chasm between American consumers and Japanese managers. Infighting, corporate greed, scrappy genius vs. antiquated business models – Console Wars has it all. A thoroughly good read!
*Starred Review* At the dawn of the 1990s, Nintendo was the Goliath of the video-game industry. The company’s strictures on third-party development and its policy of understocking retailers contributed to the stranglehold on the market. But Tom Kalinske, who had rejuvenated Barbie and created He-Man for Mattel, was about to change that as the president and CEO of Sega. Like the pixels that together create a larger picture, Harris presents the various elements of the business in vivid color, from research and development to marketing, to show how Sega went from a joke to a market leader in just a few years. Along the way, Harris reveals the forces behind such decisions as Nintendo changing red blood to gray sweat in Mortal Kombat; the origin story of the nickname for Sonic’s sidekick, Tails; and even how Mario was supposed to be a certain spinach-guzzling sailor, in a manner that will engage both Gen X gamers and business-minded readers. Harris defines the players immediately, honing in on their most notable characteristics, and puts the reader in the thick of the meetings and deal-making with a confidence stemming from hundreds of interviews. Pegged for both documentary and feature-film adaptations, Console Wars is remarkably detailed and fast paced, pitting speedy Sonic against more-of-the-same Mario in a blow-by-blow account of the battle for supremacy in the burgeoning video-game industry. --Bridget Thoreson
A riveting story full of colorful characters… a fascinating, illuminating history… an essential read. (Publishers Weekly (starred review))
A highly entertaining behind-the-scenes thriller. (Kirkus)
It’s far and away one of the best non-fiction books I’ve ever read. (Forbes)
Like the pixels that together create a larger picture, Harris presents the various elements of the business in vivid color...remarkably detailed and fast paced. (Booklist)
Fast, fluid, and startingly accessible. (Entertainment Weekly)
A fast-paced page-turner...it’s exciting to finally get a no-holds-barred account of a history that has largely been kept secret from the public eye. (Wired)
A must-read. Period. (IGN)
Top customer reviews
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My favorite parts are the back stories when new characters are introduced, because they are not told in that manner. They are well written and interesting and I think I would have liked to see the whole book written that way.
And, the intro by Seth Rogen Evan Goldberg is just horrible. The book takes itself way more seriously than they do and they do it a real disservice. If they take the movie they are making based on this book just as seriously, it's in real trouble.
Unfortunately, the timeline felt a bit confusing and a lot of the dialogue and depictions felt a bit embellished. Also, I feel quite a bit was embellished, and there was too much focus on Tom Kalinske's role and Sega's position as the industry underdog. It feels more like a character driven story with Kalinske as protagonist than a documentary or history on that generation of consoles.
I'm glad I read it, but do take some of it with a grain of salt. Still completely worth a read if you're curious about the "behind the scenes" aspects of the 8 and 16-bit era Nintendo and Sega company politics.
I haven't really read many non-fiction books with this style (fictionalized first person conversations based off of interviews). This style made the story come alive for me, though I would imagine it may not be for everyone.
This was a book that I not only enjoyed, but also made me dearly miss playing video games.