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Super Mario: How Nintendo Conquered America | [Jeff Ryan]

Super Mario: How Nintendo Conquered America

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.
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Publisher's Summary

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.

What the Critics Say

“One of America’s favorite pastimes is covered in exhaustive, enthusiastic detail.” (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (363 )
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4.4 (332 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Dustin Walton, KY, United States 01-30-12
    Dustin Walton, KY, United States 01-30-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A fun little book"

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andy Westport, CT, United States 01-04-12
    Andy Westport, CT, United States 01-04-12 Member Since 2002
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    "more than luck"

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kyle 11-04-14
    Kyle 11-04-14 Member Since 2012
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    "Book has many incorrect facts and over simplifies"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    Remove the over simplification of the events covered. Far too often the author makes assumptions based on event outcomes rather then the actual events that lead to those outcomes.


    What was most disappointing about Jeff Ryan’s story?

    For book that is marketed as an in-depth look at a character, the Author often misses crucial points in the story that lead to the ultimate outcome he is trying to showcase.


    What does Ray Porter bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Ray did a good job of narrating the book. He is enjoyable to listen too.


    Did Super Mario inspire you to do anything?

    Remember how superior "Console Wars" is to this book


    Any additional comments?

    If this is topic you are interested in, I would strongly recommend the much superior book of "Console Wars" if you have not read it. "Console Wars" main storyline is about the rise/fall of Sega, but the book is so well researched, that you fully understand the various implementation of Nintendo, Sony, Phillips, and of course Sega in the overall console wars of the 80's/90's. I guarantee, you will get far more out of that book than this one.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chelsea 10-30-14
    Chelsea 10-30-14 Member Since 2012
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    "Thoroughly enjoyable"
    Any additional comments?

    Decently balanced, well structured, well researched, and expertly performed. A riveting story even for a non-fan of Nintendo.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marco Benavides 08-16-14
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    "Awesome"
    What did you like about this audiobook?

    Yes! Who wouldn't want too know Mario/Nintendo's backstory.


    How has the book increased your interest in the subject matter?

    Who's on the cover? Thats my answer.


    Does the author present information in a way that is interesting and insightful, and if so, how does he achieve this?

    No. Sorry cant answer this one.


    What did you find wrong about the narrator's performance?

    When Nintendo, through thick and thin never gave up...thats motivation.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sean Los Angeles, CA, United States 01-30-14
    Sean Los Angeles, CA, United States 01-30-14
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    "A poorly told story of popular culture."
    What disappointed you about Super Mario?

    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.


    Has Super Mario turned you off from other books in this genre?

    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.


    How could the performance have been better?

    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.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    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.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ryan Andrew Murphy 01-29-14 Member Since 2011
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    "doesn't disappoint…"
    What did you like best about Super Mario? What did you like least?

    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.


    What didn’t you like about Ray Porter’s performance?

    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.)


    Was Super Mario worth the listening time?

    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.


    Any additional comments?

    Try listening to it when you'd rather be playing Super Mario, but have to do something else instead.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Scott 01-20-14
    Scott 01-20-14

    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.

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    "Slightly entertaining business info"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    andrew Reserve, LA, United States 12-20-13
    andrew Reserve, LA, United States 12-20-13 Member Since 2013

    I enjoy history, biographys, and nerdy/ dorky things.

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    "Would rate 6 stars if possible"
    What did you love best about Super Mario?

    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.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The behind the scenes history of Nintendo. Finding out what old urban-legends were real, and which were exaggerated.


    Have you listened to any of Ray Porter’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    NO


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Reminiscing about playing Super Mario Bros, or any of the other great games mentioned in the book.


    Any additional comments?

    If you are a Nintendo fan, this book is a must listen. I can not say enough good things about it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark ABINGTON, PA, United States 12-11-13
    Mark ABINGTON, PA, United States 12-11-13 Member Since 2011

    solofire

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    "I can't not respond"
    What could Jeff Ryan have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    Fact check!


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    Mispronunciations.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Anger and disappointment.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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