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Game Over: How Nintendo Conquered The World [Paperback]

David Sheff
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)

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Book Description

March 29 1994
More American children recognize Super Mario, the hero of one of Nintendo's video games, than Mickey Mouse. The Japanese company has come to earn more money than the big three computer giants or all Hollywood movie studios combined. Now Sheff tells of the Nintendo invasion--a tale of innovation and cutthroat tactics.

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Product Description


Irresistable...almost as hypnotic as a successful video game. " An intriguing potrait of what it takes to succeed in today's competitive computer industry." (Washington Post Book World)

"Game ultimately less absorbing than 'Tetris' but not by much. The opening chapter alone stuns us... A fascinating insider's loook into the Nintendo juggernaut."(Wall Street Journal) -- The New York Times --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

David Sheff's articles have appeared in Playboy, Rolling Stone, The Observer, and Foreign Literature(in Russia), among other publications, and on National Public Radio's All Things Considered. His book The Playboy Interviews with John Lennon and Yoko Ono was a Literary Guild Selection. Sheff lives in Northern California with his wife, Karen Barbour, and son, Nicolas. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars If I had a nickel for every reference... Nov. 26 2000
...I'd be worth almost as much as M. Arakawa. This book has been referenced many, many times in various articles. If some reporter needs a "secret" fact about Nintendo, they'll turn to this book. "Did you know the president of Nintendo of America has a tendency to fall asleep?" and so on. Of course, this book is worthy of all that referencing, as it is one interesting tale of a pretty interesting, if not secretive, company. If you're interested in knowing a little more about what *really* was the cause of some of the biggest video games in history, this is one source of knowledge. The best part about the book is, if you're a fan of Nintendo (or video games in general) , this book will grab your attention and not let go. For as much of the book is spent on Tetris, it's all that more interesting. Hearing about secret meetings in Communist-run facilities, with these guys from little video game companies running back and forth and deceiving these Russians who don't know what kind of hit they have on their hands... it's James Bond-level stuff! A great read!
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As already discussed in other reviews, without question, this book tells a vivid and interesting story of the Nintendo. I want to offer my viewpoint as a software designer. This book has given me much insight and inspiration because it also provides a clear narration of the experience of the designers behind many of the most popular games. In other words, how they came up with the ideas of these games. This book mentions the adventurous childhood experience of Sigeru Miyamoto to wander into new places without a map. The feeling of surprise of him to find invisible doorways to new worlds has led him to the creation of the "Super Mario World". Another story is about the mathematician Alexey Pajitnov in Soviet Union. His interest and dedication to geometric puzzle has inspired him to invent the game "Tetris". These stories are clearly mentioned in this book, and have excited and inspired me deeply as a software designer. Surely, in no doubt, I would recommend this book to you, even if you are not a designer.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book June 16 2000
I was caught up in the Pokemon craze for a while and when I came across this book about Nintendo, the game company that distributed the game, I just had to read it. I was not to regret it.
The author had an easy style, one that merged dry facts with a fair amount of story telling. He also managed to throw in suspense at regular intervals, just like a novel. But that is what makes this book, in my opinion, an excellent one. There are serious lessons in business to be learned from this book, yet the author managed to tell it in a easily digestible style. Perhaps, it has got to do with his extensive experience in writing articles for magazines.
While it detailed the history of Nintendo and how it rose from a humble card-making operation to the dominant player in the world of video-games, I was more impressed with the management lessons that could be learned from the marketing genius of the company. Yamauchi, the person behind Nintendo, was clearly an astute businessman in his own right. While not as famous as the late Morita, he clearly has a place among the very best of Japanese businessmen in the 1980s.
The book also revealed the legal and social environment of the 1980s and early 1990s. In a country like America where litigation can be considered a profit centre of a large corporation, Nintendo was faced with several legal suits that could potentially cost it millions of dollars, including the possibility of bankruptcy. Coupled with the fact that America at that time was also faced with one of the largest trade deficits with Japan and Japan-bashing was the call of the day, how Nintendo managed to survive those years was another interesting sub-plot in the book.
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By A Customer
This book is absolutely fabulous. David Sheff succeeds in giving a vivid history of one of the greatest game companies. It captivates the reader with it's suspense. I especially liked the stories on how Nintendo won various lawsuits, how the different games were developed, how they got their names(especially Mario)and the company's struggle with negative press publicity. Brings out clearly American's obsession with video games and their original apathy towards the same. Hiroshi Yamauchi, Minoru Arakawa and the other founders are not only profiled in their professional capacities but also the struggles in their personal lives are well brought out. The author's quickness to point out when Nintendo was wrong and his sense of humour are uplifting. The book is an absolute must have for anyone interested in the world of business.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent book, well written and a page turner Sept. 8 1999
By A Customer
I picked this one up in the bargain bin of a local bookstore recently, and figured that it would be an interesting look at the company behind so many hours of my entertainment when I was a kid.
I was surprised to find a very interesting, well written, and in-depth book talking about all the major players in the industry, from the executives of Nintendo to the game designers at the individual software houses.
This book is a great deal of fun and you always want to see what's going happen next. Sheff makes it so dramatic that you wonder whether he's making it all up because its almost too good to be true.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars On my top-ten list of best books ever
This book has been called the bible of the videogame industry. It is a great book with the unforgettable stories of Alexy Pajitnov of Tetris fame and Miyamoto of Super Mario,... Read more
Published on April 4 2002 by "zeldamaster1989"
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic
I reread this book once a year and because I am in the video-game business and I want to be reminded of what is important-- the art of the games.
Published on Jan. 11 2002
5.0 out of 5 stars The Video-Gaming Phoenix and Howard Lincoln
Great book - couldn't put it down. Remarkably bought it at a used book store for $2. Sheff does a really good job at detailing the intricacies of intellectual property and... Read more
Published on May 27 1999 by D. Tassone
5.0 out of 5 stars INCREDIBLE!!!!!!
Game Over is great! It gives details of how Nintendo got it's start. It has more information about the history of the system than any other book out there. Read more
Published on Sept. 14 1998
5.0 out of 5 stars Game Over
This book tells everything about Nintendo. No other book before has covered the historical phenomenon of "Nintendomania" like this one. Read more
Published on June 2 1998
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent book behind the scenes of game giant, Nintendo.
If you are looking for a good book with an in-depth detailed analysis of the biggest and most recognizable company in the history of video games, than this book is for you. Read more
Published on April 16 1998
5.0 out of 5 stars A hidden gem
Thorough piece of reporting allows a rare look at how super-power technology companies get that way. Read more
Published on March 2 1998
5.0 out of 5 stars Game Over is Extremely good.
If you've ever liked Nintendo, played the NES, or just wondered hopw Nintendo was able to pull off what it did, you'll love this book. Read more
Published on June 12 1997
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