Monday, 17 November 2014

Reading history

I have recently read the book "Console Wars: Sega Vs Nintendo - and the Battle that Defined a Generation" by Blake J. Harris. It mainly focuses on the 16-bit era of gaming in the USA, explaining how Sega grew to take over 50 percent of the market from a very dominant Nintendo at the time.

The book is well written, and explains a generation which I grew up with, not only from the perspective of consumers, but what actually happened behind the scenes on the business side of the war. I love the way the book explains meetings that took place and decisions within them; with actual dialogue. Told in a way that makes yo feel like you're there in the room when it happened. There are a lot of amusing scenes in the book, especially from Sega's side of things, as they were really doing their best to topple Nintendo's 95% market share from the NES era.

It's impressive reading how Tom Kalinske and his handpicked crew at Sega, managed to completely change a market around and actually become the the leading company. From being almost nothing, to a huge phenomena, and then again seeing the fall as they approach the disastrous Sega Saturn launch. It's also interesting to see how Nintendo changes from being very non-rigid company and slowly adapting to compete with Sega in a more modern fashion.

If you're an 80's kid like me and grew up playing videogames as a child in the early 90's, battling out in the school yard about what was the best of Sonic and Mario, this is really a great read. For younger people interested in the history of gaming I would think it appeals quite well, as this generation builds the foundation for how both Sony and Microsoft raised to fame in the later ones. It also illustrates how Sega modernised a lot of marketing for the industry, which even today is formula still being used.

Buy the book on Amazon:

Watch Blake talk about his book here:

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