Great story about the ramp up to success for Nintendo. There were some interesting strategies in the early days of the "table games." Good strategy, coupled with a little luck, evolved into a company that measured unit sales in the 100+ million range. Solid narration too.
Ray Porter is my favorite narrator and his reading can make an average book feel great. I think this might be why this book gets such good reviews. Either that, or die-hard Nintendo fans love hearing lists of the gazillions of variations on all the Mario games.
What I got from this book was that Nintendo found a formula that worked and were careful to not change things too much and milk that baby for all they could get out of it.
Don't get me wrong - I like Nintendo. I like that their devices and games are usually high quality, family friendly and I especially liked the Wii with its introduction of less sedentary gaming.
But after the first hour the book, it became less of a personal story and entrepreneurial success story and more like a high level chronology of a corporation's product rollouts.
Still, Ray Porter can make the ingredients list on a packet of peach rings sound enthralling :-)
Yes! Who wouldn't want too know Mario/Nintendo's backstory.
Who's on the cover? Thats my answer.
No. Sorry cant answer this one.
When Nintendo, through thick and thin never gave up...thats motivation.
Learn, understand, then decide whether you accept or reject.
Nintendo, one of the biggest entertainment companies in modern history, has faced some unique technological and social challenges. This explores the history of Nintendo from the crash of 1983 up to the rise of the Wii.
Jeff Ryan clearly knows how to write about videogames - that is to say that he knows how to spin un-researched anecdotes as probable facts, and how to turn attention to merchandise and pop culture rather than the topic at hand. I learned more about Captain Lou than I did about Nintendo, Miyamoto or Mario.
If I hadn't already listened to Masters Of Doom, this would have turned me off from videogame nonfiction entirely. It's pretty well-known that games writers are not great nonfiction writers, and the idea of a stack of books of this quality is enough to make me steer clear. Luckily David Kushner has already shown that it is possible to write a compelling, well researched, nonfiction story about game studios, so I remain hopeful that lightning can strike twice.
The reader seemed bored most of the time, and when he tried to spice things up, it always fell flat. One moment that stuck out was when he described Mario's accent in the cartoons, he said the words "New York accent" in a cartoonish BOSTON accent. It gives me douche chills just thinking about it.
If you're looking for a more-or-less chronological list of Mario themed merchandise from the 90s, you'll find it here. If you just want to hear someone utter the words "Super Mario Bedsheets" so you can say "HEY! I had those" then you might like this book.
This book promises to be fun, and the history of the gaming industry is so full of twists that the author doesn't have to work hard to keep it interesting. And he didn't — or rather it may be that Mr. Ryan in fact tried too hard: sometimes the author's bombastic "voice" distracts from the plot. Each chapter is saturated with goofy comparisons, groan-inducing puns and corny jokes.
That's a small price to pay for such a great story — and you *could* argue that his style suits the subject matter… if you think Mario is sort of a dork.
Porter's narration takes the text at face value and then hams it up even further with seemingly sincere exuberance… this is a bit hard to take when the text itself veers into silly lists of Mario merchandise. But that's not Porter's fault. His performance does justice to the book. (For better or worse.)
i was genuinely interested in learning about the history, and the book was actually very informative — i thought i knew a thing or two before, but there were plenty of fascinating surprises. All in all: a little trivial, but pretty good fun.
Try listening to it when you'd rather be playing Super Mario, but have to do something else instead.
I enjoy reading fantasy, science fiction, and horror the most. To improve, I read about language, psychology, spirituality, and art. I read about computer science and business for professional reasons.
A decent business book which chronicles the rise of Nintendo. While the business information is a slightly interesting history of a large Japanese corporation, the detailed descriptions of the Nintendo game characters are outstanding reminders of the great and original artwork that video games used.
I enjoy history, biographys, and nerdy/ dorky things.
At 8 hours the flow was perfect. Great insight into Nintendo's early, middle and latter years. I have been a Nintendo fan boy since I was 6-7, I'm 30 now and have a Wii, Wii U, DS, you name it. It didn't bog down with boring negotiations, the story was about the development of different systems and games.
The behind the scenes history of Nintendo. Finding out what old urban-legends were real, and which were exaggerated.
Reminiscing about playing Super Mario Bros, or any of the other great games mentioned in the book.
If you are a Nintendo fan, this book is a must listen. I can not say enough good things about it.
Anger and disappointment.
I'm normally a rater, not a reviewer, but I couldn't not comment on this book. First the good: the narrator isn't boring, and... I'm sure some of the information was correct but...Now the bad: This book contains information that seems to have been gathered through a game of "telephone." There are insane inaccuracies that could have easily been avoided had the author either (1) been a gamer himself, or (2) done a couple Wikipedia searches. Every few minutes, BASIC information is inaccurate, which makes me wonder how much of the larger information was correct. On top of that, whoever directed Ray Porter DID NOT know how to pronounce all the words he was presented with. Sure, some of it wasn't his fault (since the original material was inaccurate), but when you pronounce the same word differently in different chapters, it makes me wonder what was going on. If you are a retro game fan, do yourself a favor and listen to the enormous catalog of Retronauts podcasts. If you already do that (or an equivalent), AVOID this book as you will find yourself wanting to throw your listening device across the room.
Not having read the print edition, I'm not qualified to fully answer this question. However, I can say that Ray Porter's sprightly narration complements Jeff Ryan's lively, conversational writing nicely. This is a book you can listen to during a commute or at the gym.
This book is at its best when it attempts to deconstruct the Mario mythos in an attempt to understand why it has captivated such a wide audience. In the early hours, Ryan explores how Shigeru Miyamoto subverts common hero tropes to subliminally engage and enthrall gamers. For instance, Mario, the hero of the first Donkey Kong game becomes the villain in the second, in turn holding the big ape captive. Little gems like these add depth to a book that often feels like an "Inside Baseball" look at Nintendo.
Ray Porter narrates the book in a conversational tone, mirroring the writing style. Ryan's writing is laden with puns and pop culture references, and Porter nails them all without missing a beat.
This isn't a book that's intended to elicit intense emotion. While the book is often intriguing, it's certainly not something you should wory about listening to in a waiting room or busy train.
In an effort to tell Mario's complete story from inception to time of writing, Jeff Ryan's book goes on long after the excitement has ebbed. Though a capable writer, Ryan simply can't milk the excitement and, perhaps most importantly, the nostalgia, from Mario's last decade on the GameCube, Nintendo DS, and Wii. Like David Kushner's Masters of Doom, Super Mario spends a long time tying up loose ends and bringing things current, even when later events aren't nearly as interesting as the early days. This is a double-edged sword, of course. If the book had ended at Mario's zenith, listeners, myself included, might have faulted Ryan for incompleteness.
If you've ever fed quarters into a Donkey Kong machine or held the rectangular unergonomic NES controller till your hands got sore, you will find a lot to love about Super Mario, long denouement notwithstanding.