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Power Up: How Japanese Video Games Gave the World an Extra Life Paperback – 29 Jul 2016
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From the Back Cover
"Chris Kohler brings the passionate intensity of a hardcore fan to his writing, but he also has the background knowledge and the critical facilities to explore video games as an industry, as a medium, and as a cultural phenomenon."--Wired.
Why are Japanese video games a worldwide sensation? This enjoyable and informative survey explores the reasons, starting with how Japanese developers raised the medium to an art form. The book also traces the ways in which the developers' ideas infused popular culture beyond the gaming world.
Interviews, anecdotes, and personal accounts offer insights from giants of the industry, including Shigeru Miyamoto, Hideo Kojima, and others involved in the creation of Donkey Kong, Mario, Pokémon, and other games. This revised edition includes updated material throughout the book as well as a new bonus chapter.
Dover (2016) republication of the edition originally published by BradyGames, Sacramento, California, 2004.
See every Dover book in print at
About the Author
Chris Kohler started writing for Wired in 2002 and founded wired.com's Game|Life channel in 2005. He is the author of Retro Gaming Hacks and co-hosts the Stitcher Award–winning podcast Good Job, Brain!
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Don't, however, let these minor complaints stop you from buying what is otherwise a good introduction to games in Japan and why the Japanese do them so well. It fills the current academic void (in English at least) and is full of genuine passion and understanding.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
I recently purchased this book and, in one day, have gotten about 40 or so pages in. I can easily say that I am greatly enjoying my time with it so far.
Kohler writes very clear and concise. It has been very informative to read on the Japanese side of the video games industry, especially regarding its origins and both some of the significant people and companies that made it happen. Kohler's pacing for the two chapters I have read so far seems to be very balanced; just enough side information, fun facts, pictures, and minor variations throughout that make this so much more than a dry history book or thesis paper (which, ironically, this book started out as). It has been entertaining as well to read more in depth on Shigeru Miyamoto's beginnings (i.e., childhood interests, novel and academic/technical experiences, first encounters with Nintendo).
As Kohler puts it in the introduction, what you are getting here is a snapshot from his perspective and research of how the Japanese contributed to the video game industry as a whole. I noticed other reviewers stating things such as: "there were other companies other than Nintendo", it is "too narrow in scope", and it is "too short and too shallow", but would like to remind you that Kohler never claims his intent is to provide an all-in-one, comprehensive book on the subject matter. I believe, if you go in with this knowledge, it won't disappoint.
Even though I have a long way to go before I'm able to provide my definite thoughts, I feel confident in saying that I'd highly recommend this book to any gamer that has an appreciation for not only the games that they play, but the companies and individuals that started the games industry as well.
I hope this helps you in making a decision. I'm glad I chose to give this one a try.