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on 11 February 2004
...Game Over essentially is the definitive profile on Nintendo. Covering a period from its humble beginnings as a Hanafunda playing card manufacturer in the late 19th century, to a point where they've become a multi-billion dollar business and have just announced their collaboration with silicon graphics on the infamous 'project reality' in the autumn of 1993.
With great detail this book covers the various stages of Nintendo, to which the first few chapters are devoted, giving a solid background to the company and the people who ran it. Focusing more on the business side of things rather than technical, in-depth accounts are given on Nintendo’s 'American invasion' and its rise to become a multi-billion dollar company with a stranglehold on the home video gaming market by the late 80's.
Moreover, the book also includes detailed coverage on the various lawsuits against Nintendo from Atari and Tengen, the confusion regarding the Tetris rights and the battle for the 16-bit market with Sega becoming a major player in the United States, to name but a few. The book finishes on the note of Nintendo announcing their ‘project reality’ aka the Nintendo 64, which also makes it very interesting to recapture the hype and hopes for the video games market of that time.
As a book written from a American business standpoint, it is a shame that hardly any games receive a great deal of attention and that neither the European nor the Japanese market are covered in vast detail. Although Sheff does describe some of the technical aspects of Nintendo’s hardware, in particular the NES to some extend, unfortunately it nonetheless is not as extensive as one may wish. It would have also been nice to see more coverage on the wealth of competition trying to steal a slice of Nintendo’s cake.
However these drawbacks are minor in a book which covers Nintendo with such great detail and is a joy to read all the way through.
In summary, Davis Sheff’s ‘Game Over’ is an essential read for anyone interested in the medium. Although written from a business standpoint, it is nonetheless written in such a manner, that it will intrigue any gamer. One gains a great insight into the mechanics behind one of the most influential companies in video gaming and learns the works behind what makes this company tick. The amount of information covered is phenomenal and should become the bible for any ‘Nintendoholic’ and a must for anyone else with interest in video gaming.
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