Synopses & Reviews
The first princess Mario saved was Nintendo itself.
In 1981, Nintendo of America was a one-year-old business already on the brink of failure. Its president, Mino Arakawa, was stuck with two thousand unsold arcade cabinets for a dud of a game (Radar Scope
). So he hatched a plan. Back in Japan, a boyish, shaggy-haired staff artist named Shigeru Miyamoto designed a new game for the unsold cabinets featuring an angry gorilla and a small jumping man. Donkey Kong
brought in $180 million in its first year alone and launched the career of a short, chubby plumber named Mario. Since then, Mario has starred in over two hundred games, generating profits in the billions. He is more recognizable than Mickey Mouse, yet he’s little more than a mustache in bib overalls. How did a mere smear of pixels gain such huge popularity?Super Mario
tells the story behind the Nintendo games millions of us grew up with, explaining how a Japanese trading card company rose to dominate the fiercely competitive video-game industry.
"The history of how a Japanese video game featuring two Italian brothers became one of America's favorite pastimes is covered in exhaustive, enthusiastic detail by video game reviewer Ryan. The author takes readers through Nintendo's early business machinations; the story of Mario's eccentric creator, Shigeru Miyamoto; and the game-changing emergence of Nintendo's motion controller for the Wii, with a breezy journalistic style. At times the tone slips into the white hat black hat morality employed in most video games, often painting Nintendo's business competitors or detractors with broad reductive strokes 'hardcore gamers sneer at Wii' and paeans to new Nintendo releases get smattered with exclamation points, so that some pages read like Nintendo promo material. All of this is distracting but not fatal, and the book is a thorough history of Nintendo's victories, written by an enthusiastic and knowledgeable fan. (Aug.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
The story of Nintendo's rise and the beloved icon who made it possible.
Nintendo has continually set the standard for video-game innovation in America, starting in 1981 with a plucky hero who jumped over barrels to save a girl from an ape.
The saga of Mario, the portly plumber who became the most successful franchise in the history of gaming, has plot twists worthy of a video game. Jeff Ryan shares the story of how this quintessentially Japanese company found success in the American market. Lawsuits, Hollywood, die- hard fans, and face-offs with Sony and Microsoft are all part of the drama.
Find out about:
* Mario's eccentric yet brilliant creator, Shigeru Miyamoto, who was tapped for the job because was considered expendable.
* Minoru Arakawa, the son-in-law of Nintendo's imperious president, who bumbled his way to success. * The unexpected approach that allowed Nintendo to reinvent itself as the gaming system for the non-gamer, especially now with the Wii Even those who can't tell a Koopa from a Goomba will find this a fascinating story of striving, comeuppance, and redemption.
About the Author
Jeff Ryan, a lifelong gamer, has been featured on Salon.com and All Things Considered. He reviewed over 500 video games and covered four console launches as the games editor for Katrillion, a popular dotcom-era news and entertainment Web site. He lives in Bloomfield, New Jersey.