Power-Up: How Japanese Video Games Gave the World an Extra Life Paperback – Sep 14 2004
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From the Back Cover
BradyGames' Power-Up: How Japanese Video Games Gave the World an Extra Life, by Chris Kohler, is a unique book that gives readers an entertaining and authoritative look at the indelible influence the video gaming, particularly, Japanese gaming, has had on the world.Power-Up is the first English-language work of its kind to examine the reasons behind the success of Japanese video games, rather than focusing on the history of video games. Just some of the features readers will find in this book include:
Profiles of some of the most fascinating Japanese video game designers in the industry, along with a critical look at Japanese video games from their earliest beginnings to new, exciting trends that ride the bleeding edge of popular culture.
Explanations on why Japanese video games are unique and why they resonate so well with young American players.
Fresh insight into classic Japanese video games and the elements that made them so different from American games, the origin of Nintendo, Japan's oldest and largest video game producer, Japanese Role-Playing Games, and much more!
In addition, the future of the Japanese gaming industry is also explored.
- This product is available for sale worldwide.
About the Author
Chris Kohler currently lives in North Branford, Connecticut. He graduated summa cum laude from Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts in May 2002, receiving a BA in Japanese and the Japanese Language and Literature Prize. His graduation thesis was titled "The Cinematic Japanese Video Game" and earned highest honors.
Top Customer Reviews
Futhermore, as I mentioned earlier, from the way this book is written, you'd get the impression that the only company that has ever made a video game is Nintendo. References to Atari, Sega and Sony are extremely rare. While I agree that Nintendo has played the largest role in the rise of video games, other major players have established themselves in the last five to ten years, and their contributions are largely glossed over, particularly Sega. These omissions are what give the feeling that Kohler has basically taken his childhood experiences of playing Nintendo, fleshed them out a bit and put them on the shelf.
In short, I wouldn't change the content of the book but I would most certainly change the title to reflect the heavy, one-sided Nintendo bias of the book. If you're in your twenties or early thirties and grew up as a fan of video games and anime, don't bother reading this book - you already know what happens.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Still, on the whole I'm glad I read this book, and I hope Kohler's stated desire to encourage further such works is satisfied; there is clearly much more to say.
Unlike other writers who have written game histories, Kohler speaks Japanese and lived in Japan. He covered the Japanese video game market for international publications. Frankly, the depth of his understanding shows throughout this book.
Kohler's interviews are direct and insightful. He managed to get access to many of Japan's leading game designers. As somebody who has read many books about the video game industry, I noticed that Kohler's knowledge of the Japanese language resulted in a more direct style of interview.
Kohler managed to get his hands on the creators of such games as ICO, Parapa, and, of course, Mario.
One thing I will say about "Power-Up" is that it is a specialized book. If you are looking for a general survey of gaming, or a picture book with glossy full-color art, this is not the book. This is NOT a book for folks who want to read about the games they played as kids.
"Power-Up" is a highly-specialized book. I believe that it belongs on the top shelf of ANY collector who considers himself/herself a serious student of video games. This is a resource, like Lenny Herman's "Phoenix," that will be appreciated by hardcore gamers for a very long time.
for example, they author segues straight from talking about Ninja Gaiden to NOJ/NOA's localization process and standards for content. he mentions that religious iconography, drug use, etc, are all prohibited from being portrayed in Nintendo software, and the list of prohibited content includes cigarette smoking.
the author fails to note the irony, however, that in the aforementioned game there's a bad guy leaning against a light post smoking a cigarette he throws aside before dashing at you. i can only assume it slipped past the censors without them catching it, but my friends and i had noticed it years ago and marvelled that it had been made it through the review process intact.
it's these kinds of things that make me feel like this book is a good general source, but anything deeper than a surface look at the topics covered would require some additional reading/sources.
there are quite a few nuggets of interesting trivia in here - more than enough to make a gamer smile (dragon quest being legally prohibited in Japan from selling on any day except Sunday or a holiday, for example). my copy was a gift; i can attest that it makes a fine one.
(only took ten years for me to correct "boot" to "book; give me a break, I was in Iraq). I heard on Retronauts the book is being republished - probably no SEGA love still) The book has very useful information for video game collectors and researchers who are looking for information related to mostly Nintendo oriented lore. I stress its for game collectors and researchers vice enthusiasts. Enthusiasts are looking to be entertained as well as informed and this book does very little entertaining. I found my self reading parts of the book over the course of several months. It just wasn't the page-turner that some other visual treats like "High Score" were. All in all it was worth 13 bucks, however I liken it too a History book on the 20th Century, with key events missing like World War II! Sega is not even mentioned as a footnote! Phantasy Star, Shining Force and several other important events in Gaming History never even captured the interest of the author, and it painfully shows here. Three Stars.