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Console Wars Audiobook

Console Wars: Sega, Nintendo, and the Battle That Defined a Generation

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Publisher's Summary

A mesmerizing, behind-the-scenes business thriller that chronicles how Sega, a small, scrappy gaming company led by an unlikely visionary and a team of rebels, took on the juggernaut Nintendo and revolutionized the video-game industry.

In 1990, Nintendo had a virtual monopoly on the video-game industry. Sega, on the other hand, was just a faltering arcade company with big aspirations and even bigger personalities. But all that would change with the arrival of Tom Kalinske, a former Mattel executive who knew nothing about video games and everything about fighting uphill battles. His unconventional tactics, combined with the blood, sweat, and bold ideas of his renegade employees, completely transformed Sega and led to a ruthless, David-and-Goliath showdown with Nintendo. Little did he realize that Sega's success would create many new enemies and, most important, make Nintendo stronger than ever.

The battle was vicious, relentless, and highly profitable, eventually sparking a global corporate war that would be fought on several fronts: from living rooms and school yards to boardrooms and Congress. It was a once-in-a-lifetime, no-holds-barred conflict that pitted brother against brother, kid against adult, Sonic against Mario, and the United States against Japan.

Based on more than 200 interviews with former Sega and Nintendo employees, Console Wars is the tale of how Tom Kalinske miraculously turned an industry punch line into a market leader. Blake J. Harris brings into focus the warriors, the strategies, and the battles and explores how they transformed popular culture forever. Ultimately, Console Wars is the story of how a humble family man, with an extraordinary imagination and a gift for turning problems into competitive advantages, inspired a team of underdogs to slay a giant and, as a result, give birth to a $60 billion industry.

©2014 Blake J. Harris (P)2014 HarperCollins Publishers

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.6 (1907 )
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4.6 (1772 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Dremeljunkie 07-05-17 Member Since 2015
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    36
    4
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great Story and Performance"

    A great story that gives a behind the scenes look at the battle between Sega and Nintendo during the 1990s told largely from Sega of Americas perspective.

    The story is told largely via conversations between it's main characters and the excellent voice acting makes recognizing who is 'talking' very easy.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Luc Desormeaux 07-04-17
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    REVIEWS
    10
    3
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    Story
    "Great book. If you are a gamer, it's a must. "

    This is a great book. The type of book that you wish would go on and on and never finish. The story is awesome and well structured. I have to point out the great performance of Fred Berman, the guy that reads the book and voices the characters. Being a child of the 70s and 80s, I truly enjoyed everything about this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tomus Magnus 06-14-17
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    REVIEWS
    9
    6
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    Performance
    Story
    "Great bqckground on the Sega/Nintendo era."

    This is a great book for those of us nostalgic about this era in video game history. This is really more about one individual, Tom Kalinske, than anything else though. Still a great read / listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dan and Jenn 06-01-17
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    REVIEWS
    2
    1
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    Performance
    Story
    "Amazing Story of a Battle of Epic Proportions"

    Labeled as the story of the battles between companies, this title thoroughly covers the men and women behind this war. With excellent and engaging narration, hear the story of Nintendo's rise to fame, Sega's "David vs. Goliath" campaign for dominance, and Sony's betrayal-laced beginnings. Starts in earnest in 1990 with Tom Kalinske's hiring as Sega of America's CEO and ending in 1996 with his resignation. A definite must-listen for fans of either company and gaming in general.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Zayne 05-30-17
    Zayne 05-30-17 Member Since 2015
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    2
    1
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    "Fantastic must read for video game buffs"

    Amazing behind the scenes look at what Sega did for the video cage industry. Had it not been for them the video game industry would have died years ago.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    marie 05-25-17
    marie 05-25-17 Member Since 2015
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    4
    2
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    "amazing"

    this book defines the war that was my childhood I can't recamend this book enough.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cody 05-12-17
    Cody 05-12-17 Member Since 2017
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    REVIEWS
    2
    2
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    "A Gamers Must Read!!!"

    Such an amazing book. If you are a gamer and are interested in the history of to iconic Giants in the industry you gotta read/listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dustin Adamczyk 05-08-17
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    2
    1
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    "An exciting era in games, brilliantly summarized"

    It's a well voiced and thorough history of videogames that stays interesting to listen to with clever metaphors.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    mercblue281 05-05-17
    mercblue281 05-05-17 Member Since 2015
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    29
    5
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    "Great listen!"

    Fantastic... Turned what should be a business school case study into a remarkably gratify story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ryan 05-03-17
    Ryan 05-03-17 Member Since 2017
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    10
    1
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    Performance
    Story
    "Just a bit too much Hero-worship"
    Any additional comments?

    Ok, so normally I'm they type of person not to even bother with a review, but I feel this one needs a bit of a warning.<br/><br/>Let me preface with, I liked this book, and would read it again.The preformance is excelent, and even the over-the-top dialog is fun.<br/><br/>That said, This is one exceedingly biast book. The author seems to have a love affair with Tom Kalinske, and the hero worship can get a little grating.<br/><br/>"Hey guys, remember when Tom Kalinske predicted the coming of violent video games years before they happened? Remember how cool he was when he helped create the Nintendo 64 to spite SoJ? He helped cure AIDS y'know!"<br/><br/>I don't know how historically accurate any of the book is, but if you were to tell me that the author was Tom Kalinske himself using a pen name, I would not be surprised.<br/><br/>I do recommend this book, especially in the audio version.The performance is quite enjoyable. However, expect to be hit over the head every few chapters with how amazing Kalinske is and how SEGA's downfall was Japan's fault entirely.<br/>

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • Robert Doyle
    4/28/16
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    Performance
    Story
    "Definitely a change of mind. "

    freaking loved it.
    no spoilers but Sega really took a battle.
    I've listened to my fair share of audiobooks and the narrator was the best. easy to listen to. gave each character a personality. love love it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • craig
    3/16/16
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    Performance
    Story
    "excellent"

    love this book the rise and fall of
    the protagonist is fascinating a book you will be unable to stop listening

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • S. Sharma
    UK
    12/19/15
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    Performance
    Story
    "as a Sega kid this was awesome"

    told from the point of view of Sega. great insight in the rise and fall of Sega

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Olaf
    Bristol, United Kingdom
    12/17/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Fascinating story"

    Moves at a fast pace. I enjoyed it. Few up with the consoles as a kid.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Mr. L. M. Crosdale
    UK, Essex
    5/26/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "brilliant and well worth a listen."

    well worth the credits/money. Brilliantly performed and overall a great listen, not sure I'll find any more better than this.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Ben
    Drogheda, Ireland
    1/30/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Not as poorly told as some would have you think"

    An insightful account of politics and history of the men who helped to build the video gaming generation and the tales that brought us to the point we are at today. Listening to this book it is easy to understand why the video game industry is only at the point it is now and that things are frankly not more advanced. It's because of men like the ones portrayed in this book that we are only yet to receive a consumer version of Virtual Reality, and this book and the story it tells, explains why we are at the level we are...
    The narrater him self is adept with an excellent array of voices for each of the characters. The style of this book is completely designed to lend it self to a movie rather then a documentary, and thats a good thing as there are other books and videos out there which will give you the documentary style if you want it. A lot of people have spoken out against the script, and while I understand what they mean, I have worked with business men who speak exactly like this. Business men who speak in overly 'cool' ways with no real substance to what they say, but unfortunately this seems to be the way of the business world. If anything the script is quick to get to the point, but if it were drawn out it would take ten years to read it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Phil
    1/24/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Ruined by the cheesey Americano style"

    This is just like a big greasy burger from an American diner, with extra cheese, and nothing but a big milk shake to wash it down. Initially that sounds great, but about half way through it you've had enough, and you realise why there is a problem with obesity in the United States.

    I was very curious about the Sega/Nintendo days of the early nineties. Listen to this - which is hopelessly biased against Nintendo by the way - and I'm sure you won't get more than half of the story.

    The lack of objectivity irritates after a while. This is purely for the Mega Drive crowd out there. I owned both (Mega Drive and SNES) - and further more over time I owned both the Gameboy and the Gamegear (the latter was hopeless because of the battery issues).

    Read this and you would like to think that it was Nintendo, and not Sega, that tanked immediately in the face of the Sony Playstation, and didn't even live to see the entry of Microsoft into the market.

    The dialogue between the central characters is so contrived that it couldn't possibly have happened. This is a fictionalised retelling of events that portrays the executives as American style hip shooting, fast talkers who riff with each other verbally. It is like watching an episode of 'Suits' or something as equally awful.

    So it is very very sickly.

    Plus the narrative performance is so incredibly American that you can only take so much. I think that there are any number of great American narrators - but this voice has everything that makes you want to switch it off. It is all incredibly smug.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Adam
    Histon, United Kingdom
    1/18/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Wonderful insight into a battle of a generation"

    As someone who grew up while the battle between Sega and Nintendo was on full force, this book gives a wonderful picture of what was going on behind the scenes to win the hearts and minds of my generation.

    The stories form an incredibly engaging narrative and I enjoyed this immensely.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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