Cheryl Gress Editor-in-Chief

2 minutes reading time (421 words)

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

Thank you HarperCollins for sending us a copy of this book to review!

The videogame industry is a huge multi-billion dollar industry.  It started and flopped in the early eighties with notable failures like Atari burying between 700,000 to three million copies of ET in a landfill.   Nintendo and Sega continued on and started a battle that defined a generation.  Console Wars is a 576 page book written by Blake J. Harris and weaves the history of these two companies based on over two hundred interviews from family, friends, and former employees of Sega and Nintendo.    

In 1990 Nintendo was dominating the videogame market with its 8 bit Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) and soon to be released 16 bit Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES).   Even though Sega's Genesis was the first available 16 bit console, it didn't get much recognition and as a result it failed to sell very well.  That changed when Tom Kalinske was personally recruited by Sega of Japan's president to become the CEO of Sega of America.  

When Tom started at Sega, he didn't know much about videogames, but he did know how to market things with huge successes including Barbie, He-Man, and Flintstone multivitamins.  He specialized in uphill battles and this story is no exception. It's so good, a feature film is being made about it!

The book goes into the humble beginnings of Sega, Nintendo, and eventually Sony's endeavors into the videogame industry.  Nintendo has an interesting past with their playing cards origins and briefly owning a hourly rental hotel.  They definitely became more family friendly later on which gave Sega a target for their aggressive commercials aimed at slightly older gamers.  Sonic the Hedgehog gave Nintendo and their mascot, Mario, a run for their money.  

While I enjoyed the book and look forward to the upcoming movie, I must caution parents thinking about letting their kids read or see Console Wars.  There is a lot of language (including F bombs) throughout the story and in the Foreward by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg.

For mature gamers, I wholeheartedly recommend checking out this book to learn how Sega briefly toppled Nintendo with their aggressive marketing but ultimately lost the war once Sony's PlayStation came into the market.  Even though Nintendo's side is fairly represented and respected, the story focuses more on Sega's viewpoint.   I could not help but root for the underdog while I read Console Wars: Sega, Nintendo, and the Battle that Defined a Generation.

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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