Console Wars - Blake J. Harris

Console Wars

By Blake J. Harris

  • Release Date: 2014-05-13
  • Genre: Industries & Professions
4.5 Score: 4.5 (From 202 Ratings)


A BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR: NPR, Slate, Publishers Weekly, Goodreads

Following the success of The Accidental Billionaires and Moneyball comes Console Wars—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 that would all change with the arrival of Tom Kalinske, a man who knew nothing about videogames and everything about fighting uphill battles. His unconventional tactics, combined with the blood, sweat and bold ideas of his renegade employees, transformed Sega and eventually led to a ruthless David-and-Goliath showdown with rival Nintendo.

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 schoolyards 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 US against Japan.

Based on over two hundred interviews with former Sega and Nintendo employees, Console Wars is the underdog tale of how Kalinske miraculously turned an industry punchline into a market leader. It’s 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, birth a $60 billion dollar industry.


  • Essential

    By Ezee_peezy
    An excellent and essential read for anyone interested in video games, especially those into gaming history and anyone who grew up enjoying the amazing 16 bit era. Can't recommend this enough!
  • Kind of idiotic

    By Raymond Brigleb
    This is one of those books that's probably 90% fiction. It's just too melodramatic, from the disclaimer in the intro it's kinda clear. It just reads way too pulp and not nearly well-enough researched for my taste. “Slowly but surely,” Kalinske said, almost surprised to realize he was indeed starting to get a handle on things. “Slowly but surely.” Ugh.
  • Phenomenal Read

    By Jrbrier
    All in all a great read, it really helps to capture the mind set of those involved in such an interesting time.
  • Should be called "The Biography of Tom Kalinske"

    By CrazyPackersFan
    I was expecting a back and forth battle between Sega and Nintendo - you know, "Console Wars." Instead, this book is actually simply a biography of Sega of America's Tom Kalinske - there is not enough on the Nintendo side to fill a thimble. It's not even as much about Sega as it is about Kalinske himself. Now the book is entertaining regardless - Kalinske turns out to be quite a colorful character to follow. But the title and cover are misleading, so if you're really looking to read about the "Console Wars," you may be better looking someplace else.
  • Pretty good book, just a bit too long

    By LngTmBIIMFan
    This was really interesting to read as a guy who grew up with Nintendo and Sega friends. It was fun to think back on those days during parts of this book, but towards the end I was just wishing the book was over. Over 700 pages is just too much and it got pretty dry. Otherwise, fun read!
  • Great read for any video game nerd that appreciates the history.

    By deph d
    I thoroughly enjoyed this book and really liked to learn what and who was behind the 16bit console wars. The only reason that I didn't give this book a five star rating was because I ran across a handful of typos while reading. This is a well written book that fetches a pretty good price in the store, so I would expect the read to be flawless. These mistakes should never make it through to the final print. Otherwise, this is a great read for any gamer!

    By Crazy MikeF
    Riveting read for anybody who has ever picked up a controller in the early 90's.
  • If you grew up in the 90's...

    By Fhogdfiohdfjjh
    Then it's going to be hard to put this book down. The book is full of "O yea! I remember that!" Nostalgic moments and then tells you the back story behind the famous ad campaigns and products that came out of the console wars. Great eras and hopefully the movie will be just as good.
  • Great read....

    By george lucas was better
    If you remember the days when you were socially obligated to make a choice between sega or Nintendo, this book must be read. I remember as a kid my brother owned the sega genesis and I had the snes. Both were great systems but the good part is learning how it became the war that it did. I have a new found respect for the old schoolers at sega. I never understood the amount of work they put into making the genesis the system that it became.
  • Great book

    By Nick Brownfield
    I grew up during the time when this war was going on. I remember getting my first NES for Christmas in 1986 and then badly wanting a Sega Genesis. I eventually got one and played both Sonic the Hedgehog and Street Fighter 2 until the controllers gave out. This book captures that time and really shows you what went on behind the nees. A great read.