- Paperback: 576 pages
- Publisher: Dey Street Books; Reprint edition (June 2, 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0062276700
- ISBN-13: 978-0062276704
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.4 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 404 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #25,968 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Console Wars: Sega, Nintendo, and the Battle that Defined a Generation Paperback – June 2, 2015
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*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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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)
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Top customer reviews
The book is written like historical novel from a specific persons perspective and not in a traditional non-fiction third person. It goes to great lengths humanizing the team at Sega of America, providing background and personal developments like marriages and the birth of children. This makes them more than just names on a page unlike many historical non-fiction books, it makes them people you hope to succeed. While some of the book does show the behind the scenes of the to greatest rivals of Sega of America, Nintendo and their Sega colleagues in Japan, if you're looking for equal time provided for all participants, you'll be disappointed.
The book can be divided into thirds. The first third is about Tom Kalinske taking over as CEO of Sega of America, building an incredible team, and developing the plan to bring down Nintendo. The second third is about Sega implementing this strategy and Nintendo slowly realizing that they were no longer the sole kings of the home consoles. The last third is the sudden fall of Sega to a reinvigorated Nintendo and powerhouse Sony. While the first two thirds are well paced and fascinating, the last third is by far the weakest feeling drown out by its constant use of full length primary source documents, like page long press releases and CES conferences.
Overall it is a good read for those who remember the Genesis/Super Nintendo fight of the early 90's or for those who want to see what all the fuss was about.
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.