- Paperback: 494 pages
- Publisher: Cyberactive Media Group Inc/Game Pr (April 15, 1999)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0966961706
- ISBN-13: 978-0966961706
- Product Dimensions: 1 x 5 x 7.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #893,735 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Irresistable...almost as hypnotic as a successful video game. " An intriguing potrait of what it takes to succeed in today's competitive computer industry." (Washington Post Book World)
"Game Over...is ultimately less absorbing than 'Tetris' but not by much. The opening chapter alone stuns us... A fascinating insider's loook into the Nintendo juggernaut."(Wall Street Journal) -- The New York Times
About the Author
David Sheff's articles have appeared in Playboy, Rolling Stone, The Observer, and Foreign Literature(in Russia), among other publications, and on National Public Radio's All Things Considered. His book The Playboy Interviews with John Lennon and Yoko Ono was a Literary Guild Selection. Sheff lives in Northern California with his wife, Karen Barbour, and son, Nicolas.
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Top customer reviews
Coming into this book, one of my biggest fears is that most of the book would be information I knew already. In addition to the obvious worries that the book would be a bland historical retread with intense corporate oversight and editing. As it turns out, the fears were completely unfounded. This is probably among the most complete historical account of Nintendo around and it is extremely interesting. From beginning to end, I constantly learned things I never knew, such as Hiroshi Yamauchi's childhood background, Miyamoto's various inspirations for the enemies in Super Mario Bros, and etc. More importantly, I finally got a definitive answer to the question of 'how the Nintendo/Sony deal went awry'.
Surprisingly enough, my favorite thing about the book is not all the new informative video game-related tidbits I learned, but what I learned about how Nintendo (and some other companies) operated as a corporation. Honestly, I was extremely surprised to hear how the NOA CEO Minoru Arakawa went around to arcades to research and got cussed at by ill-parented children, how Yoko Arakawa got her first taste of American unions (which were completely opposite of how Japan worked) when trying to set up an office, and most fun, how Nintendo's lawyers operated. Even the part about Nolan Bushnell running a company which Apple's Steve Jobs describe as having facial hair so thick that you never see their faces. :D
All in all, I don't have any complaints about the book. I came to it expecting to learn about Nintendo (and maybe video games in general) -- I got far, far more than what I could have even hoped for. Probably the best $40 I've ever spent on a book.
The only problem with this book is that the author has a blind irrational hatred of Nintendo. This can often color his stories. For example, he refers to a port in the NES that was designed to allow the later addition of a modem, as a fiendish plot to steal the souls of our children. But if you can get past this bias, it is a pretty good book.
Everything you would expect is here, from Nintendo's humble beginnings as a Hanafuda playing-card company in 1889 to the release of the N64 game console in 1996. During the journey we are introduced to all of the players involved, along with their facinating bios. From Japanese president Hiroshi Yamauchi, to game design wunderkind Sigeru Miyamoto, to Nintendo of America head Minoru Arakawa...we follow the early stumbles of the fledgling company, and its rise to the top of the vicious, cut-throat videogame market with the help of some Western allies. Game Over delivers both a facinating glimpse into the operations of a Japanese conglomerate, as well as a thrill-ride though the volatile games industry. Author of the original book Sheff adopts an easy-going, if somewhat dry, prose style...but it still reads better than your typical business tome.
You know that any company as tight-lipped and controlling as Nintendo is going to try and put the thumb on any would-be biographer looking for privledged access, and while I won't go so far as to call Game Over biased towards Nintendo, it certainly does lean towards the point-of-view of its subject matter. However, saying this, the book does not gloss over the rather ruthless practices that Nintendo has engaged in, both with its facist attitude towards its licencees, as well as with its battery of high-priced, go-for-the-throat lawyers. Of course, no company can rise as quickly to the top as Nintendo and not fall into the sites of hungry barristers, and Game Over sometimes gets bogged down in the morass of litigation fired at the company. Another thing I found lacking was a real in-depth look at the battles Mother N has engaged in with its two chief rivals: Sega and Sony. While the two companies are certainly mentioned, I was looking for a detailed battle-of-the-systems between them, something that unfortunately never materializes. I had hopes that this might be covered in the added-on chapters, but Eddy's entries are little more than reminises from the people involved.
So, in the end we have a perfectly facinating peek behind the pixel curtain, into the company that created the most kid-recognizable icon since Mickey Mouse. Mario, we hardly knew ye.