Console Wars: Sega, Nintendo, and the Battle that Defined a Generation Blake J. Harris - 2014

History of videogames (focused book)

Console Wars: Sega, Nintendo, and the Battle that Defined a Generation

Author(s) : Blake J. Harris
Editor : It Books
Publication date : 05-13-2014
Language : english English

This book deals with the war opposing Sega to Nintendo during the 90's, in the USA, for the control of the home console market. Over 550 pages, it follows the story of Tom Kalinske, who ran Sega US branch from 1990 to 1996. The book tells the many efforts the man and his team made to push the Genesis / Megadrive onto the US market, to try to make a dent in Nintendo's near monopoly over this market. This war is made of many battles, such as an offensive marketing campaign around the game Sonic (1991) in order to mock Mario and Nintendo, or the harassment of Wal-Mart to make them sell Sega products in their stores. Thanks to a tireless work, Kalinske manages to break into Nintendo's market share, and even to steal them the leading position between 1992 and 1994. Unfortunately, this victory is short-lived. On one hand, Sega Japan, strongly disagreeing with Sega America, decides to abandon the Genesis / Megadrive in order to focus on the Saturn, while Nintendo releases Donkey Kong Country (1994), a game that will have a very strong impact on Super NES sales. More than the market failure of both the 32x and the Saturn, it's the growing tension between US and Japan branch of Sega that lead to the dismissal of Tom Kalinske in 1996, incidentally paving the way for Sega's demise in the following years. While mostly focused on the story of Tom Kalinske and Sega, this book also dedicates many chapters to what was going on at Nintendo, as well as the arrival of Sony on the market. The distinctive particularity of this truly captivating book is how it "romanticizes" history: the story is told through many dialogs, reconstructed like a novel. Even if the historical accuracy of the dialogs is far from 100%, this choice makes the books very easy to read, to the point it will "hook" you until the end. It's a excellent book about the history of video games, delivering many unique information while being as captivating as a good novel.


Keywords : sega, nintendo, 16 bits, usa, marketing, sony , tom kalinske, genesis