Anyone who grew up in the early 90s remembers the battle for video game dominance. Nintendo had become king of the hill after the massive success of the NES. Sega, looking to break in on their market, launched the Genesis before Nintendo’s own follow up, the SNES. The Genesis steadily took away market share by positioning itself as the cooler, more adult gaming system. A line was drawn in the sand, and the first major console war began.
The face off between Sega and Nintendo left a lasting impression in my youth. I remember the magazine articles, the commercials and the discussions on the playground. The “Sega Scream” still stands as one of the most memorable marketing techniques in my lifetime. It was a great time to be into video games.
In his book, Console Wars: Sega, Nintendo, and the Battle that Defined a Generation, Blake J. Harris recounts the battle between Sega and Nintendo. Harris tells the story in a non-traditional, narrative format following Thomas Kalinske, the head of Sega of America at the time. The writing approach may throw some readers off at first, but soon the text will draw you into its world of corporate war and high stake decision making. The perspective makes readers feel like they are there as the events unfold.
Console Wars is filled with insight drawn from an impressive number of sources. The information is informative and interesting. I never felt bored, as if I was reading through facts. And even though I lived through the times, and knew the general outcome, I was on the edge of my seat. For those who have read other books, like Game Over, Harris offers new information and perspectives. It keeps the book feeling fresh, an applaudable feat for a subject that is two decades old.
I gushed over Console Wars when I read it earlier this year, and I still cannot recommend it enough. For fans of video games, history or anyone who grew up in the 90s, Console Wars offers a blast of nostalgia wrapped up in a great story. Do not miss out.