Game over: How Nintendo Zapped an American Industry, Captured Your Dollars, and Enslaved Your Children Hardcover – 1 May 1993
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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.Read more ›
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Author David Sheff concludes, "Nintendo sailded past stalwart American corporations such as IBM, Disney, and Apple Computer, not only in profitability, but also in impact on American culture." The melodramatic title broadcasts his peculiar premise that there is something very sinister about millions of obsessive American children playing witty and clever video games - if they are designed by a Japanese company for profit. (Do American companies seek a loss?) Written during the mid 1990's when fear of Japan was still strong, Sheff's seems to pander to populist anxieties about new technologies, foreigners, and big international companies in the opening chapters.
Ironically, the majority of Sheff's book undercuts those exaggerated fears of conquering Asians using "ruthless scorched earth" business practices like developing affordable hardware and creative software products. Social scientists and psychologists are extensively quoted praising Nintendo games as more interactive, intellectually demanding, and entertaining than television. (This was written in the pre-internet, pre-web era.) Sheff also dissects parental allegations that Nintendo games hynotize kids by releasing endorphins, and notes that Nintendo wasn't invented to be a babysitter. Sheff suggests, however, that Nintendo might be a better babysetter than commercial television for latch-key kids.
Beneath the sensational promotional title and occasssional Japan-bashing nonsense, Game Over ultimately emerges as a solid examinatin of modern warfare and the rise of a dynamic Japanese entertainment empire. An excellent book for business professionals, Nintendo players, and college students taking economics or media studies.
I do have a few complaints with the contents and focus of the book; there are the usual small factual errors which may obscure future historical video game research; there are the regurgitations of various industry spokesmen without proper interpretations; and there is the unwavering focus on Nintendo which tends to downplay the parts played by their competitors/rivals in the industry. I have yet to read the updated version of Game Over (Press Start to Continue), and the new version may rectify some or all of these shortcomings. Regardless, Game Over stands as a slightly flawed, but amazingly useful research tool and entertaining book.
Game Over gave a near-perfect insite to Nintendo's beginning of a handfuda card company (Japanese cards), develop into a game / toy company, & eventually entering the Video Game company.
David Sheff did an excellent job in writting this book & does go in depth into things as well as actual translation of the name ("Leave Luck to God" is my favorite).
If the Nsiders is a cult/ religion, this would be our bible!
This is a great book to read, even though there are slight minor flaws & this version only goes up to 1993. It's a must read good & would Highly suggest picking up the revised sequal, "Game Over: Press Start to continue"