Enjoy millions of ebooks, audiobooks, magazines, and more, with a free trial

Only $11.99/month after trial. Cancel anytime.

Console Wars: Sega, Nintendo, and the Battle that Defined a Generation
Console Wars: Sega, Nintendo, and the Battle that Defined a Generation
Console Wars: Sega, Nintendo, and the Battle that Defined a Generation
Audiobook20 hours

Console Wars: Sega, Nintendo, and the Battle that Defined a Generation

Written by Blake J. Harris

Narrated by Fred Berman

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars



About this audiobook

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.

Release dateMay 13, 2014
Console Wars: Sega, Nintendo, and the Battle that Defined a Generation

Blake J. Harris

Blake J. Harris is the bestselling author of History of the Future and Console Wars, which is now a CBS All Access feature film by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg. He has written for ESPN, IGN, Fast Company, The Huffington Post, /Film and The AV Club. He is also a regular guest on Paul Scheer’s How Did This Get Made? podcast, where every week he interviews some the biggest names responsible for some of the worst movies ever made. Harris lives in New York with his wife.

Reviews for Console Wars

Rating: 3.524822695035461 out of 5 stars

141 ratings14 reviews

What did you think?

Tap to rate

Review must be at least 10 words

  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    Since I grew up in this generation it caught my attention. It is cool to see some of the details of the rivalry between Nintendo and Sega. How they get into some of the specifics of advertising and marketing of products is awesome and nostalgic. It can get a bit confusing at time since they jump from Nintendo's story to Sega's. Also the amount of people that have dialogue can make it a bit confusing. Overall a great book.
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    Pretty good read. The story mostly focused on the 16-bit war between Sega and Nintendo. Mostly told from Sega of America’s point of view. It’s a very telling story where I learned new things but also felt nostalgic as I came across certain events in history that I remember living through. Worth picking up for any old school video game fan who lived through the 90’s.
  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    A fascinating in-depth look at the 16-bit Console Wars era.

    Despite the title, this book only explores a small sliver of the so-called Console Wars. This is not about Xbox vs. PlayStation, this is about a 6-years slice in the 1990's when underdog Sega and the Genesis battled and (briefly) dethroned Nintendo and the SNES during the 16-bit era of console gaming, aka "the Tom Kalinske years".

    It's obvious that the author is a huge fan of Kalinske, and based on this portrayal and the man's business track record, it's hard not to be. I'm a fan too now. This is not a gaming book or a game design book, it's a "gaming in the 90's" business book. The stories are fun and the insider look into what went on behind the scenes makes for great entertainment, combining a healthy mix of video game nostalgia, business acumen, and fun marketing sass. It's also an interesting window into the USA vs Japan business mentality and the world of technology just before the Internet era.

    The book dives into an incredible (and sometimes excruciating) level of detail, and is a testament to a staggering amount of research performed and interviews conducted. The result is quite satisfying, if you're in the mood for this much depth (YMMV). I actually started reading this book a few years ago and then set it aside when some chapters dove way too deep into the "Nintendo-owned Seattle Mariners" baseball stuff. I'm just not into baseball at all. Then I got distracted by other books (including 'The History of the Future: Oculus, Facebook, and the Revolution That Swept Virtual Reality' by the same author). I recently picked it up again to read through the back half and I just couldn't put it down again.

    Despite its massive size and the multi-year break I took in the middle, I didn't want the book to end. I wanted to keep diving into the PlayStation years, the introduction of the Xbox, and all other relevant stories. But given that Kalinske had exited the industry by then, it just wouldn't be the same. I wish the author had acknowledged the impact that PC gaming did or didn't have on Sega and Nintendo during these years. This is when Doom and id software took the gaming world by storm after all, but the focus just remained on console gaming. Fortunately there's other books for that, like 'Masters of Doom: How Two Guys Created an Empire and Transformed Pop Culture'.

    Highly recommended book, even if you're not a console kid (I was always more of a PC gamer). The audiobook version is also very entertaining. The reading by Fred Berman is passionate and exciting. It's a performance by a true storyteller, not just a narrator. This was a fun journey. Oh, and don't forget to watch the documentary by the same name on Paramount+, with Blake J. Harris as executive producer.
  • Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
    Some of the imagined dialogue is pretty cheesy, but the pacing is pretty compelling- if you aren't looking for a serious gaming history book then this one is pretty fun, especially if you have nostalgia for that era of gaming.
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    the start was really good but feel like it was missing something after awhile but then again that is real life...
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    Really liked the way the book was read. It added a lot to the story. As an avid video gamer this was very interesting.