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Console Wars: Sega Vs Nintendo - and the Battle that Defined a Generation (English Edition) par [Harris, Blake]
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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)

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’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)

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.

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 10874 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 589 pages
  • Pagination - ISBN de l'édition imprimée de référence : 0062276697
  • Editeur : Atlantic Books; Édition : Main (13 juin 2014)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 4.3 étoiles sur 5 311 commentaires
67 internautes sur 72 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.
27 internautes sur 33 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.
32 internautes sur 41 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
Format: Relié
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

8 internautes sur 9 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Entertaining, but................. 7 mai 2015
Par Conrad Hoss - Publié sur
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
I'm torn here. I liked the book and it was entertaining like a movie. But the truth is still out there. This was too biased, even if the description warned me that it was going to be. It started off at 5 stars, then lost one when I realized I wasn't going to get Japan's side, and another one when I realized the writing wasn't that good. Many times the dialogue and descriptions feel like an amateur screenplay, although there are flashes of talent a la Michael Crichton.

It's shame "Console Wars" is basically a biography of Sega of America's Tom Kalinske (who is awesome, don't get me wrong) as opposed to a straight historical account of Sega vs Nintendo spanning from the early days until Dreamcast (which is not even mentioned in this book). I thought the book would have been more balanced, but Harris decided to make it from Mr. Kalinske's point of view, and makes usfeel sorry for him as an underdog who managed to make a dent in against "Goliath" (in the U.S.).

Since Tom is the "good guy", we don't get to question if he was too cocky, if he was justified to be so angry at Nintendo, if he was really sincere about being concerned with video game violence, or why his employees whispered in Al Nilsen's ear that they were going to quit after Al left.

The book is a "reenactment book", like the book "Washington's Spies" by Alexander Rose. It's basically a style that tells history via reconstructed (or fictional) dialogue, so it feels like a novel, or in this case a screenplay. Harris had a disclaimer about how he massaged things, but it still is jarring and took me out of the story a few times because Harris just isn't a polished writer.

Some of his descriptions are corny at best, and the dialogue treats us like idiots, as it retells or re-frames the scene. If the book was organized it wouldn't have to. But even if it was, Harris likes to have "surprise" scenes- in a history book?

The book is organized in a weird way and is not chronological- with tons of flashbacks which feel like double flashbacks, jumping around time, segwaying into personal scenes, focusing on scenes unrelated to the theme, and shifting POVs without revealing who is the focus is yet. It is like Harris felt forced to use the bulk of the quotes he received from the interviews he conducted. I see Harris responding to some reviews and disbelieves that he has to improve his writing skills. My advice: master the basics first, and then experiment.

At its heart, it is a business book and valuable to anyone in the industry, or people involved in marketing, manufacturing, venture capitalists, corporate world, etc. Gamers into actually playing games or programmers into game design need not apply, although gamers in their 30s+ would enjoy the trip down memory lane. The book focuses on the sales and marketing of the top selling games, not the actual gameplay or why the games were popular (besides Sega choosing to market them).

So awesome Genesis games like Earthworm Jim, Streets of Rage 2, Gunstar Heroes, Phantasy Star IV, Landstalker, Shinobi III, Shadowrun, Castlevania: Bloodlines, Vectorman, Flashback, Splatterhouse 3, etc didn't make the cut. We get the origin of Ecco the Dolphin, but no mention of its sequel Ecco:The Tides of Time. The focus is on the development and advertising of Sonic the Hedgehog and Joe Montana Football. Even big sellers like NBA Jam and the Genesis version of Street Fighter 2 weren't mentioned (the superior SNES version was focused on).

The sales team celebrated when Sega's Mortal Kombat 1 beat the SNES version in sales and magazine reviews, and Tom framed it as the face to face battle of which system is better, but there was no discussion about how MK2 was superior for the SNES, or how Street Fighter 2 for Sega was inferior.

The book was entertaining, and I couldn't put it down. So in the end, I guess that's all Harris wanted. But as I digest everything, I really wish the Japanese side of Sega, Nintendo, and Sony were more accessible so we could hear their side, which is described as villainous. Most of his sources were from the American sales team.

One can't help but notice that the message of the book is that "the tortoise beats the hare, but the hare was handcuffed by racist Japanese businessmen and engineers."

In conclusion, this is not a straight history book- it is a tribute to Tom Kalinske; there are even many personal scenes where Tom is with his family or helping out a dying little girl. It is not even a Genesis vs Super Nintendo 16-bit battle, most of it is Genesis vs 8-bit Nintendo. Game Gear vs Game Boy is rarely mentioned, because it doesn't fit the story. Why was Sega CD a flop? The other video game history books are more clear.

So...buyer beware. After reading this, just realize you didn't get the whole story. The real title is "SEGA! The Rise and Fall" or the rather mundane "The Biography of Tom Kalinske".
13 internautes sur 16 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
2.0 étoiles sur 5 A fascinating story, very poorly told 4 juillet 2014
Par Adam T Swiderski - Publié sur
Format: Relié
Wow, is this book problematic. I am sure that there is a really great story to be told about the battle between Sega and Nintendo for console supremacy in the early '90s, and I was intrigued early on by the characters that were presented and the trip down memory lane to a very different time in pop culture. As I got deeper into the book, however, Harris's writing style started to grate...then irritate...then flat-out infuriate. And I felt a bit misled. This book isn't about games at all, really; it's about marketing. Things like Sega's false trumpeting of Blast Processing are hailed as genius despite the fact that they were duplicitous, for example - I mean, yay for lying, I guess? And other reviewers are right about the lionization of Tom Kalinske and his team. At one point, near the end of a chapter when Kalinske finds out the government is going to start investigating the games industry, the author - without, as far as I can tell, a hint of irony - compares SOA's CEO positively with the mythical figure Prometheus, who stole fire from the gods to help humanity advance and was eternally punished for it by having a buzzard eat his magically-regenerating liver every day for all time. Hyperbole, much? Ugh, and don't even get me started on the grammatical errors. There are interrogative sentences that end in periods. There are split infinitives everywhere. Poor structure abounds. I am sure book editing is hard, but some of these problems are really surprising in something that was professionally published.

Overall, while I was intrigued by the tale the book was trying to tell (I was a teenager and college student in this era and am very much a part of the generation that played an active part in this whole first console war), I can't get behind a package as shoddily put together as this. Hopefully, someone will come along some day and do a better job of it.
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