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Console Wars: Sega Vs Nintendo - and the Battle that Defined a Generation (English Edition) [Format Kindle]

Blake J. Harris , Blake Harris

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Descriptions du produit

Revue de presse

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)

Présentation de l'éditeur

In 1990 Nintendo had a virtual monopoly on the video game industry. Sega, on the other hand, was a faltering arcade company with big aspirations and even bigger personalities. But that would all change with the arrival of Tom Kalinske, a man who knew nothing about video games and everything about fighting uphill battles. His unconventional tactics, combined with the blood, sweat and bold ideas of his renegade employees, transformed Sega and eventually led to a ruthless David-and-Goliath showdown with rival Nintendo.

The battle was vicious, relentless and highly profitable, eventually sparking a global corporate war that would be fought on several fronts: from living rooms and schoolyards to boardrooms and Congress. It was a once-in-a-lifetime, no-holds-barred conflict that pitted brother against brother, kid against adult, Sonic against Mario, and the US against Japan.

Console Wars is the underdog tale of how Kalinske miraculously turned an industry punchline into a market leader. It's the story of how a humble family man, with an extraordinary imagination and a gift for turning problems into competitive advantages, inspired a team of underdogs to slay a giant and, as a result, birth a $60 billion dollar industry.

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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 4.3 étoiles sur 5  195 commentaires
42 internautes sur 46 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Fascinating information and absolutely worth reading; however, the authorial presence is far too strong 19 mai 2014
Par Spotless Mind - Publié sur
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
Console Wars largely chronicles the period between 1989 and 1995, when Sega battled Nintendo for dominance in the home console market, ending as Sony displaces Sega in the 32-bit era as Nintendo's main competitor. In a sense, it does serve as a sort of sequel to David Sheff's gold-standard account in "Game Over" of the rise of Nintendo in the 80's, which left off at the point where Sega's Genesis had just started to get a serious foothold in the market. However, the styles in which the two authors approach their subjects are very different, and it's interesting to compare them.
Sheff's Game Over contained very little conversational dialogue. He wrote his book like a reporter: documenting scenes and incidents by describing the people and particulars involved, the content of what they said, and the effect of their interactions. His book was full of individual quotes, but the large majority of them were presented matter-of-factly as accounts made by the subject either directly to the author in interview, or to another source of record which Sheff was citing. In-scene "dialogue" was used sparingly, and mostly limited to short lines that reflected exactly what was known by the subject or other observers to have been said, or something very close to it. This gave Sheff's book a journalistic crackle, keeping the pace moving, the flow of information constant, and the level of authorial distance removed enough that the reader always maintained a panoramic view of the bigger picture, and didn't get bogged down in superfluous, artificial detail.

In contrast, Harris's book is written like a screenplay, with full "scenes" that progress via elaborate, lengthy dialogues between "characters", while novel-esque, detailed stage directions record their precise movements and interior thoughts, all of which can only have been manufactured by the author (as he himself loosely admits in his author's note) based on the factual framework of an interaction that did occur. Where Game Over was a documentary, this book is much more a historical re-enactment. It's obvious that Harris already had a film in mind when he was writing, and the cinematically styled sharp, pithy dialogue (or at least, attempts at such), and conversational set-ups and payoffs were designed to translate easily to the eventual film. This may make the book more engaging than Sheff's reserved style for some, but I found it distracting and a little gratuitous. Irrelevant detail often gets in the way of what's interesting and entertaining about the information.

That said, the information and voluminous research this book does contain is incredibly valuable, and makes for a truly rewarding read. The saga of the Sega and Nintendo battle in the US is as fascinating and provoking as any story the business world has to offer, and there's more than a little tragedy in seeing how Tom Kalinske and Sega of America were able to achieve a brilliant and improbable success, only to be cut off at their knees, in the end, by Sega of Japan. The often clumsily overwritten "reconstructed" dialogue by Harris makes me doubt I'd be interested in any fiction of his, but this particular subject matter is rich enough that my issue with his authorial indulgences is just a quibble. This is by all means a book worth reading.
28 internautes sur 35 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Awesome flashback to the good ol' gaming days. Tons--I mean TONS--of insider scoop. 13 mai 2014
Par Ryan J. Dejonghe - Publié sur
Oh man, this book is good. If you’re like me, an important part of your childhood revolved around saving princesses and hitting up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A on your controller. This book, CONSOLE WARS, brings it all back. And then some.

Word of warning: this book is hefty. Weighing in at 550 pages, this is a good chunk of verbiage covering half a decade of video gaming history. Is the journey worth it? Hell yeah!

Did you know that the Donkey Kong game was supposed to be a Popeye the Sailorman game? How about Tom Hanks being turned down for the Mario movie? And, are the rumors true: did Michael Jackson write music for Sonic 3? There’s a ton of information packed into the book. Every time I was tempted to skim ahead, something else caught my attention. The author, Blake Harris, weaves the dialogue and happenings that he collected from over 200 interviews into an interesting narrative that comes from all directions of the industry.

My personal story mirrors the boy in 8-BIT CHRISTMAS (if you haven’t read that book, do it). Santa usually stocked my tree with Nintendo-based presents. So, what interested me most in this book was the opposing history of Sega: mainly, how the underdogs took the proverbial bull by the horns and kicked its a**. When everything went wrong—prize fighter losing before game release; power outage at a major press conference; Walmart refusing to carry product—the folks at Sega owned the situation and rose to the top.

I was also especially interested in the nearness of a Sega-Sony merge. Can you imagine the state of video games if Sega released the Playstation with Sony? Nintendo had a chance, spurred Sony, and well…you’ll have to read about it all. Not to mention Sega of Japan’s involvement all along the way.

Marketing, strategy, and all the good insider information are laid out in full. Anyone that’s ever picked up a video game controller will find this book fascinating. Even if you don’t play video games, the approach to marketing and early 90s pop cultural is a blast (e.g., “Bo knows”, “Just Do It”, and Pepsi vs. Coke).

Thanks to It Books and HarperCollins for sending me a review copy of this book. It was awesome going back and reliving, and learning, about those good ol’ days.

This book comes out in the U.S. on May 13, 2014; check it out on Amazon, along with the other reviews: Console Wars: Sega, Nintendo, and the Battle that Defined a Generation

13 internautes sur 15 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Console wars = marketing and sales wars? 5 juin 2014
Par Donald R. Brown - Publié sur
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
I enjoyed the book overall, but was disappointed the book focused entirely on marketing and sales and basically ignored engineering and software development. There are occasional allusions to technology (16 bits vs. 8 bits, Nintendo's mode 7, Sega's Blast Processing, etc.) but basically this book implies the console wars were won and lost by the sales and marketing teams of Nintendo and Sega. The book is also very focused on the Sega Genesis and the NES/SNES. Very little is written on the Sega Saturn and its commercial failuree.

I understand the best engineering doesn't always win (Betamax), but the exclusive focus on marketing and sales seems unbalanced and superficial. I was hoping for a more balanced treatment of the subject including more details on the technical innovations in each generation of the console hardware and the incredible creativity and technical accomplishments of the game developers of this era. Instead, we are treated to stories of marketing and sales staff arguing over first-class airplane seats.
9 internautes sur 11 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Amazing insight into the evolution of video games and corporate culture! 18 mai 2014
Par Virgos Merlot - Publié sur
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
Harris did a phenomenal job at catching the essence of the corporate battle between various executives of the video game industry. Additionally, he tells a story while blending historical facts within the industry. It was great to read about the media selection process, business philosophy and how this moment in history forever changed the video game industry landscape. Out of this console war came the E3 show, video game rating system and, as obvious as it sounds, release days for video games. Sega did the first global release with Sonic the Hedgehog 2 which is more or less video games 101 when you buy games online now. Even with that global release, Sega of Japan still managed to impose their own unnecessary corporate drama. When you read this story and work in this industry, you see pretty much the same thing happening now with Nintendo, Microsoft, Sony and new players that are changing things in the space such as Valve and Ouya. Anyway, this is a must read for video game enthusiasts, people that grew up in the 90's and anyone curious about business and marketing deals really get done.
17 internautes sur 23 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
1.0 étoiles sur 5 Poorly Written, Some Interesting Content 25 juin 2014
Par Dan - Publié sur
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
While the meat of this book (what little there is) is interesting and it's obvious the author has done quite a lot of research, it's presented in such a poorly written way it makes the book difficult to read. A ridiculous amount of the text is pure filler, for example from page 40:

"After experiencing the nation's unquenchable thirst for videogames firsthand, Stone and Judy believed they had caught lightning in a bottle. But despite the bottle full of lightning their bank accounts weren't roaring with thunder."

I'm appalled that the editor (assuming this book had one) let this pass. Again, the content is fascinating to me as I'm interested in the industry and was looking forward to this book. However the superfluous, flowery, self-congratulatory writing style is extremely off-putting. I don't expect perfect scholarly writing here, and understand that the author is trying to tell a story, but it's just plain badly put together. Nearly every single paragraph so far has an instance like the one quoted above. It's as if a high school student was asked to write "as interestingly as they could".

This is the first time I've been bothered enough by something to write a review on Amazon, after shopping for hundreds of items over the course of a decade. That's how frustrated and disappointed I am. I would absolutely buy another version of this book that passed through the hands of a good editor, and it would probably be about a quarter the length making it a quicker read. As it stands I doubt I'll be able to get through it. It's possible the audio book might be better if it's read in a very conversational tone.
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