In many respects the current home console scene is relatively complex. Nintendo is pursuing its own ideas and philosophies, while Microsoft and Sony are in a tug of war over resolutions, framerates and probably things called gigaflops. Throw in the rise of smart device gaming, some stuttering micro consoles and the upcoming Steam Boxes (or Steam Machines?) and there's a lot going on.
Of course, the '90s could be considered similar, with CD-based systems and flawed efforts from Atari, Phillips and so on, but the 16-bit era didn't revolve around three or more main players, but two. Nintendo vs. Sega. Were you for the big N or the house that Sonic built? Were you all about blast processing, or Mode 7? Mario or Sonic?
Some still refer to the early '90s, the rise of Sega and the fierce battle between the Mega Drive / Genesis and Super NES — in particular — as the Console Wars. We still have these 'wars', yes, but for those with nostalgia for that time it remains a unique focal point; naturally, there's a book about it. What's even better is that there'll also be a film.
Console Wars: Sega, Nintendo, and the Battle that Defined a Generation is a hardcover book written by Blake J. Harris, and focuses on how a relatively rag-tag Sega took us from a period of Nintendo dominance in 1990 to a fierce battle over market share. It looks set to focus on the perspective of Sega, outlining how it took on a powerful foe; part of the description is below.
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.
This book will have a foreword by the well-known film star Seth Rogan and successful producer, writer and director Evan Goldberg; it's currently available for pre-order on Amazon.com (13th May release) and Amazon.co.uk (19th June release). As pointed out by SEGAbits, this also paves the way for an upcoming movie based on the book. These rights were purchased by Sony Pictures back in 2012, it seems, and the film is set to be directed by Scott Rudin (a producer on some of Hollywood's biggest films) and written by Rogen and Goldberg.
When the movie will actually arrive is something else entirely, but the original book is getting closer to release; it only goes to reason that the film project may be in line for the next few years — that's our optimistic interpretation.
Do you have memories of the ultimate Console Wars between Sega and Nintendo, and are you interested in picking up the book and, some day, seeing the movie? Let us know in the comments below.
Thanks to Benedict for the tip.