The story of Nintendo’s rise and the beloved icon who made it possible
Nintendo has continually set the standard for video game innovation in America, starting in 1981 with a plucky hero who jumped over barrels to save a girl from an ape.
The saga of Mario, the portly plumber who became the most successful franchise in the history of gaming, has plot twists worthy of a video game. Jeff Ryan shares the story of how this quintessentially Japanese company found success in the American market. Lawsuits, Hollywood, die-hard fans, and face-offs with Sony and Microsoft are all part of the drama. Find out about: Mario’s eccentric yet brilliant creator, Shigeru Miyamoto, who was tapped for the job because he was considered expendable; Minoru Arakawa, the son-in-law of Nintendo’s imperious president, who bumbled his way to success; and the unexpected approach that allowed Nintendo to reinvent itself as the gaming system for the nongamer, especially now with the Wii.
Even those who can’t tell a Koopa from a Goomba will find this a fascinating story of striving, comeuppance, and redemption.
©2011 Jeff Ryan (P)2011 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
“One of America’s favorite pastimes is covered in exhaustive, enthusiastic detail.” (Publishers Weekly)
I'm a twenty-something year old guy who loves science, space, and knowledge.
I grabbed this book as my first free book on my free trial and I was not disappointed. I learned so much about a company I previously didn't think much about. Now I have such a great deal of respect for them. This book is a well constructed, witty biography of the life on Nintendo and it won't disappoint you.
Learning about how Nintendo got started in the video game industry, and how they gained a monopoly for almost all of the early years in videogaming.
I felt he had a real connection to the material, making it a pleasure to listen to.
Yes, I didn't want to stop listening.
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.
Say something about yourself!
Jeff Ryan's Super Mario is an ode to the cultural staying power of Nintendo, points made with egregious metaphors and allegories. It starts off with a bang, trekking Nintendo's rise to power and meanders towards the end. Strangely the book is packed with factual errors as Ryan professes the original Super Mario to have 4 levels per level, the Genesis was backwards compatible (failing to mention it required an expensive add-on), Xbox required all games to have online multiplayer, the Playstation 4 cost $100 for online play, all things that can be verified in minutes.
Inevitably I was left to question, "If I spotted these errors, how many other errors are there?" I don't profess to be a gaming expert. It's well narrated and written well enough besides overstated points, and find itself most at home waxing poetic on the nature of Mario. Its unfortunate as I was entertained.
This was a nice little book. I took a star away because some of the information was wrong, but overall it was entertaining. Most of the focus of this book concerns the history of Nintendo beginning with the arcades through the N64. There is some history of early Nintendo and some history of the gamecube and Wii era's but the bulk is what's in between. Overall it was a fun little book, if you were into games in the 70's - 90's you'll probably enjoy this book.
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.
This was a really great listen for a lot more details of Nintendo's history that I never knew. When it gets into the more recent history it gets a little weird with commentary and what may come next because this was written years ago... some of the things have come true, and some comments are off. Overall worth it though. I do wish, however, that someone had gone over pronunciations of character and business names with the narrator, some are pretty bad. "oobasoft" for Ubisoft? Ugh.
From a non-gamer this is A super fun, fascinating look into the world of Mario. I feel like I know more about the gaming world than I ever thought possible.
First , if you grew up in the 1980's and 90's, be prepared for a lot of nostalgia. This book read like a tour of my childhood, from gaming to cartoons to films, all the while also delivering a great corporate history lesson.
And in that corporate history there was another story: how design and paying close attention to the user experience created one of the world's great companies and icons.
I couldn't stop listening to this. Finished in about 3 days. I would have finished it sooner, but those pesky responsibilities get in the way.
Excellent book, and phenomenal performance.
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