Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2014-04-21
- Reviewer: Staff
In this engaging narrative, film director Harris (Such Great Heights) recounts one of the fundamental pop culture rivalries of the ‘90s, the so-called "Console Wars," which saw Sega and Nintendo vying for market dominance in the early days of the home entertainment console industry. Harris portrays Nintendo as the distinguished incumbent, obsessed with quality control and perfection, while Sega is painted as the ambitious upstart willing to rewrite the rules of engagement. At the heart of it all is underdog businessman Tom Kalinske. While not the only primary character, it's his efforts to make Sega of America into a viable operation and a serious contender that drives much of the book. Harris covers all sides of the ongoing conflict (including the arrival of third party Sony) with cunning thoroughness, turning hundreds of interviews into a riveting story full of colorful characters. While the story is presented as a series of contrasts—Nintendo Entertainment System vs. Sega Genesis, Mario vs. Sonic, 8-bit vs. 16-bit vs. 32-bit—it's also a fascinating, even illuminating, history of the video game industry as seen through the experiences of two influential companies and a host of participants, ending with the advent of the fifth generation consoles, and Kalinske's resignation in 1996. This is an essential read for any interested in the evolution of video games, and the rise and fall of Sega as a console contender. Agent: Alex Glass, Trident Media Group. (May)