News Article

Console Wars Book Paves The Way For Movie Written By Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

Nintendo or Sega, the ultimate question

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.

[via segabits.com]

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User Comments (61)

GumbyX84

#1

GumbyX84 said:

Sounds like an interesting read. Will have to keep my eyes out for it.

One thing to note: Why NES controller and not SNES?

Prof_Clayton

#3

Prof_Clayton said:

Now that's a movie I would see. :o
So long as it isn't an extended commercial, like The Wizard. :p

Kyloctopus

#5

Kyloctopus said:

I don't know. Plenty of people have already explained it well on Youtube. Does it really need a movie?

PvtOttobot

#7

PvtOttobot said:

I was too young to be a part of 'the console wars' but gaming documentaries always interest me! Who here loved 'The King of Kong' or 'Indie Game the Movie'?

ericflapjack

#8

ericflapjack said:

They could have used either the NES or SNES controller I think. Most people don't remember that the "Console Wars" technically began with the Genesis vs. the NES with all the famously memorable "Genesis Does What Nintendon't" ads and stuff. It did, though, really kick up when the Super NES was released.

MamaLuigi

#9

MamaLuigi said:

I love how movies based on printed material just show up out of nowhere and bear little cause except more wasted spending and an extremely toned down political message.

MamaLuigi

#10

MamaLuigi said:

PS In the case of Console Wars: The Movie I'm expecting an "Atlas Shrugged" morale relating to objectivism where only the big money grubbers come out on top.

Deathgaze

#11

Deathgaze said:

While I rooted for Nintendo during the 8 and 16 bit days. When Nintendo and Sega released the boring N64 and Saturn I bought a Master System and Mega Drive. Still got them and love old school Sega and Nintendo, but Nintendo was better in my eyes.

Ren

#14

Ren said:

I was all about Nintendo and still believe it was better. Sega was so overly focused on "arcade" experiences at home which was just not appealing since I (and others?) still played regularly at actual arcades and the games were shallow ports.
Nintendo's success was in creating new experiences designed specifically for the home; longer, robust, storied adventures. Sega's big upset was only when they did the same with sonic, toejam/earl, originals like that. And I still can't stand Sonic; the bad, tinny, music. the ridiculous 'tough guy' design, the 'high speed' modes that always cut short, the floaty controls. Next to Mario, Sonic always feels like a cheap dollar store adventure, even now.

BertoFlyingFox

#15

BertoFlyingFox said:

It wasnt even really a console war for me, I got the Nintendo system and my brothers got the Sega, then we played the crap out of both.

This book/movie should just skip to the end where Sega is now making exclusive games for Nintendo...Console War over??

Artwark

#16

Artwark said:

oh nostalgia.......Some of the greatest console wars the industry had.

Today's console wars are a joke but back then, war made sense....a LOT of it.

unrandomsam

#17

unrandomsam said:

In hindsight I wish I had gone for the TG16. I had a Master System / Megadrive / SNES / Gameboy. Obvious what I really wanted was a Neo Geo. Never owned a NES but played on one a few times a week. (Never liked the sprite flicker which no other console I have played on had such an issue with).

shane1228

#18

shane1228 said:

Back then there was no console wars really, you got one system and hoped later down the road to get the other one too. There wasn't as many cross platform games so you wanted to have both systems and all their exclusive stuff. Nowadays you buy an xbox and you can play 90% of the games that playstation has too.

ReigningSemtex

#19

ReigningSemtex said:

Should be good, I personally always preferred the snes to the mega drive but each console had great games to choose from.

CaPPa

#20

CaPPa said:

"inspired a team of underdogs to slay a giant and, as a result, birth a $60 billion dollar industry"

When exactly did Sega slay Nintendo? As I remember it the NES and SNES both outsold the Master System and Genesis/Megadrive.

It was a great time for gaming though, as the competition gave birth to so many classic games.

GuruOfGreatness

#22

GuruOfGreatness said:

Early 90's, Nintendo vs Sega. Late 90's, WWF vs WCW......God I loved the 90's lol. On both occasions, my "brand" won though lol ;) Still loved and bought everything that Sega ever produced though, with the Dreamcast being IMO the most underrated console of all time (and probably my 2nd or 3rd favourite console ever), it's just that I always loved Nintendo that extra bit more :)

eaglebob345

#23

eaglebob345 said:

Best case scenario: people start buying more video games and consoles from hype. Worst case scenario: it could make video games a laughing stock, thanks to Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg being behind the movie. I hope they at least take the subject seriously, which is HIGHLY doubtful with Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg anywhere near them.

James1993

#24

James1993 said:

Seth Rogen is NOT a serious actor. This movie has to be directed by someone else. Seth Rogen is definitely NOT the appropriate person to direct this kind of film.

Adam

#25

Adam said:

Yea.... the phrase "slay a giant" sent off a warning light. Could be interesting if I were sure the writer could interpret events realistically.

belmont

#28

belmont said:

Till this day the best adaption of Console Wars is Hypedimension Neptunia.

As usual for Europe SEGA was more popular here back in the 90's. I actually preferred SEGA due to the arcade ports and stupid policies of Nintendo on games like Mortal Kombat. Also j-RPG games (personal favorite genre) were pretty much non existent in Europe back then. I played the crap out of both Game Boy and Game Gear though.

bizcuthammer

#29

bizcuthammer said:

In the 90s, i had both an SNES and a Genesis, and i hated it when people would fight about which was better. I loved both, and still do, though i will admit that the SNES did have the better game library. I watched both the Super Mario Super Show and Sonic SatAM. I had a subscription to both Nintendo Power and the Sonic the Hedgehog Archie comics. Having both systems was great because i got to play fantastic exclusives on both consoles like Super Metroid, Chrono Trigger and Mario World on SNES and Sonic 3, ToeJam & Earl and Ristar on GEN. It was pretty much the golden years of gaming for me, and while i admit that may be nostalgia-fueled, no other decade of gaming has come close to the level of awesome i experienced with SNES, GBC, GEN, N64 and PS1 in the 90s.

JaxonH

#31

JaxonH said:

I think I got my first NES as a Christmas gift when I was like 5 years old back in '89. I remember always liking Nintendo, and used to think Sega was a bit weird. The Genesis didn't have any of the games I was familiar with, except Street Fighter Championship Edition. But then I spent the night at my friend's house and he had a Genesis- that's when I was introduced to Sonic. Didn't take long for me to get a Genesis of my own after that... Idk, I loved Sonic and Mega Man more than anything as a kid... guess I was a fan of both.

belmont

#32

belmont said:

@PrincessEevee9 You many be right about SEGA vs Ninty but Hyperdimension Neptunia also covers Sony and Microsoft. There is one kingdom for each company. For example there is a hilarious scene where the Ninty Godness is criticized for Motion gaming nonsense and shovelware.

Rafie

#33

Rafie said:

Well being at the perfect age at that time to enjoy both consoles was a huge plus. Although I favored my SNES much more, I still loved my Genesis. I'm 31 now and I can still remember the debates and arguments on the school bus about which was better or what games was better on what system. Hehe Good times indeed. Now today's console wars are riddled with nothing but moronic fanboys/girls from all platforms. Nothing fun about it at all.

unrandomsam

#35

unrandomsam said:

Todays console wars are more like the war in the Congo with scumbags from the West selling to both sides.

Only thing that matters is whether they can pay.

FireHorsePrime

#36

FireHorsePrime said:

If Seth Rogan has anything to do with it, count me out. He's a talentless smudge of an entertainer who's capitalized on the sloth generation of pot smokers and internet trolls and I don't find anything he's done to be funny or entertaining. Why not someone who's got a bit more tech under his belt, and was a 20 something at the time of the actual wars, say Jon Favreau (Iron Man) or J.J. Abrams? Not this jockstrap of a human being...

BinaryFragger

#37

BinaryFragger said:

@Rafie
I remember the SNES vs Genesis debates too. Good times indeed!
Now the fanboys only care about the graphics. The big story this week is how Thief runs at 900p on Xbox One and at 1080p on the PS4, with one story on IGN having over 6000 comments. Nobody is discussing which system has the best exclusives, best multimedia capabilities, best controller or best online service. Arguing about 180 pixels is far more important...

banacheck

#38

banacheck said:

I loved Tazmania, Ecco, Sonic, Aladdin on the MegaDrive, but I also loved Street Fighter, Super Mario World, Donkey Kong Country on the SNES thay both had some excellent games. I used to play Street Fighter a lot with my friend and his brother, winner stays-on good times.

Kirk

#39

Kirk said:

That description makes it sound like Sega beat Nintendo.

Yeah, right.

Maybe in a parallel dimension.

idork99

#40

idork99 said:

Sonic the Hedgehog was THE system seller for Sega. And although Nintendo pulled out the big guns with F-Zero, Super Mario World, and The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past to push the system, it was Street Fighter II that arguably became the system seller.

That's my memory of the console wars. Hopefully the movie will be entertaining.

Plutonian

#41

Plutonian said:

@James1993
Scott Rudin is directing, Rogan is a co-writer with Evan Goldberg.
@idork99
Good point, the impact of SFII can't be overstated. Personally, I liked Sega but for me the winner was clear. Chrono Trigger, FFIII, mario, fzero, SFII, LTTP, super mario rpg, mario kart, DK country series. Amazing.

unrandomsam

#42

unrandomsam said:

@idork99 The TG16 version of Street Fighter 2 Championship Editon is still better (As is the 3DO version of Super Streetfighter 2 Turbo). Then there was the CPS Changer which was obviously Arcade perfect. The X68000 ones were better as well. (Both the Megadrive and SNES ones were not very good and noticeable straight away to anybody playing the Arcade machine when they could. First console to get really good Arcade ports was the Saturn.

unrandomsam

#43

unrandomsam said:

@BinaryFragger Its not 180 pixels it is (1920 * 1080) - (1600 * 900). Thing is all LCD technologies look miles better if it at the panel resolution.

The problem is putting in as little effort as humanly possible by 3rd party multiplatform developers.

SecondServing

#44

SecondServing said:

Since Sony is making this movie, there will most likely be Anti-Nintendo propaganda. Keep your eyes peeled Nintendo fans...

ChronoPower

#45

ChronoPower said:

@PvtOttobot
I remembered enjoying what I saw in the king of kong!

I was born in 98' , and I didn't even get into games until I was maybe 10/11, but this book really excites me and it sound like something I would LOVE reading.

KarateKid1234

#47

KarateKid1234 said:

@GumbyX84 I love you. You are my childhood.
On the right side,
1. I'm looking forward to this film, and an interesting read of a book.
2. I was born in the year of 1995, and I started gaming when I was two. I did not know much about the war against Nintendo and SEGA, but this'll patch up my childhood.
3. Ironically produced by Sony.

FluttershyGuy

#48

FluttershyGuy said:

"...inspired a team of underdogs to slay a giant and, as a result, birth a $60 billion dollar industry." I can't put into words what a piece of revisionist history (and crap) that sounds like. Does everybody want to dump on Nintendo right now, to the extent of even rewriting the ending of the Console Wars?

That "slain giant" is still alive and thriving! Perhaps not to as great degree as in the past, with Wii U's struggle, but The Big N is certainly better off than this story's '"underdog", which isn't even in the console biz anymore!

Next, maybe they'll say the Soviet Union won the Cold War. :p

MAB

#51

MAB said:

The 16-BIT wars were just about poking some fun with a small percentage of losers actually taking it seriously. I like how these days alot of the younger Nintendorks think I'm hells scorn when I perform a quick troll using the old tried and tested Mega Drive vs SNES act. MicroSony heads have turned the console war sport into the most whack thing you can be a part of nowadays... Focus more on schoolwork kids and don't fall into the PSBOX trap of lameness ;)

Red_XIII

#52

Red_XIII said:

The ending will be Sony worship, mark my words. It will probably be biased towards sega, and will coincide with a sony/sega partnership. This sounds interesting, but Sony will probably mess it up.

Red_XIII

#53

Red_XIII said:

NES era: Nintendo has monopoly essentially
SNES era: Sega challenged with marketing, failed because of too much add-ons.
N64 era: Sony won by virtue of having more developers, Nintendo still did OK
GC era: PS2 destroyed all, GC underwhelmed, Xbox did OK
Wii era: Xbox 360 looked to have the win by having decent price, good online, Halo 3, but lacked exclusives increasingly. Wii got successful casual niche. PS3 had shocking start, good final years
Notice in the SNES era, I didn't say sega won??? That's because they didn't. Sega had a really bad last few years in that generation. This film has already failed.

LetsGoRetro

#54

LetsGoRetro said:

@Jowy ,

In response to your picture & name: Yes, dude, yes. SUCH a good game. Actually awaiting my copy from Ebay which is in the mail right now. A permanent mainstay on the "Play once a year" List

LetsGoRetro

#55

LetsGoRetro said:

Was never much of a "war" in my mind. I guess it depended on the types of games you liked. As an adventure/RPG fan, I never once wished I had a Genesis. Nintendo+Square+Enix absolutely obliterated anything the Genesis put out. Classic after classic. Sega's "hey look, we're cooler & more powerful!" never worked for me. To be honest, technology wasn't good enough to make fun/realistic/in depth sports/racing games back then, and that's what Sega's angle was.

To me, Nintendo was so much better that I actually feel really bad for gamers who had Sega over the SNES. I think of all the childhood memories I have with my friends playing Link to the Past, Soul Blazer, Final Fantasy, Chrono trigger, Secret of Mana, Super Metroid, Punch-Out, etc etc & I think of replacing those experiences with Sonic, a sports game, or Toe Jam & Earl & it actually makes me shiver, lol.

MAB

#56

MAB said:

It looks like even Nintendo knows that SNES games are crap with the way they don't release anything worthwhile on their own VC service ;)

Stargazer

#57

Stargazer said:

This could be amazing and hilarious as a movie. I thought This Is The End was damn funny.

eviLaTtenDant

#58

eviLaTtenDant said:

It could be interesting if it details on the less well known steps Sega planned and took throughout the 16-bit era.
A mockumentary could also be hilarious on the other hand.

blinkpunk02

#59

blinkpunk02 said:

@PrincessEevee9 Scott Pilgrim is one of my top 5 favorite movies, but that movie itself tanked. If you don't like Rogen and Goldberg is one thing, but tank? Very unlikely.

Deathgaze

#60

Deathgaze said:

@LetsGoRetro More people need to know the wonders of Suikoden 1 and 2. :D Awesome game man, if you haven't played it (probably have since you know my avatar but still) enjoy. It's a masterpiece.

LetsGoRetro

#61

LetsGoRetro said:

Oh yeah, i have. Probably 10 times. 2 is my favorite game of all time and 1 is very, very good.

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