07 August 2014
Review: Console Wars: Sega, Nintendo, and the Battle that Defined a Generation
Console Wars: Sega, Nintendo, and the Battle that Defined a Generation by Blake J. Harris
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I grew up a Nintendo partisan. My brother had the Genesis, my friends at school certainly thought Sega was "cooler," but knowing that I liked RPGs from the beginning, you could only get Final Fantasy, Dragon Warrior, basically any SquareSoft game, on Nintendo. So I did the Nintendo Power thing and that was the end of it - there was no internet to know about the different plans for the companies like we see today, no discussion outside of classrooms/workplaces, and so on.
Console Wars is an oral history of sorts of the timeframe of the growth of the console market in the 1980s and early 1990s. It covers the time of Sega making their big run toward the Super Nintendo up until the announcement of the Nintendo 64 and the Sega Saturn with the introduction of the PlayStation, and does so in a breezy, direct way.
The pros of this book are the personalities as well as the structure of the narrative. We get very distinct ideas of the people central to the discussions, and it's a great nostalgia trip for someone who lived it. The major con is that it is centralized almost entirely on Sega. As someone who lived the Nintendo dream, I appreciated that part, but if I were reading this ignorant of the whole situation, you'd almost think Sega ended up coming out ahead in the end, and we know how that resulted.
Overall, still a fun, solid read. Definitely good for anyone who loves or loved video games, and a great account of the times on a whole.
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