Book Review: Console Wars

Did you grow up in the 90’s? Did you play video games? Do you like to read? Then you should invest some time and attention to this particular book.

I was a Sega guy – through and through. Nintendo was cool but Sega was…well..hmm…cooler, but that’s not really what brought me over to the dark side. Mortal Kombat did. I mean, you couldn’t finish a particularly brutal fight by ripping the head and spine off of your opponent on ANY Nintendo games. THAT was cool.

But I digress…

Imagine a world where console gaming was all but dead. Before Microsoft. Before Sony. The world created, and destroyed by, Atari left a void and doubt in the video gaming universe. There was almost nothing. Then Nintendo gathered up the ashes, mixed in some magic juice, and turned the video game industry back into a money maker. Which brought others into the fray.

The battle for video game supremacy, in the United States anyway, was waged throughout the 90’s and I lived and played through it all. If you grew up during that period, Console Wars is a great way to get a little taste for the nostalgia of that time as well as get a deeper understanding about the war that raged behind boardrooms doors. For those that didn’t, this is a great look at what was 90’s video gaming, without being too nostalgic.

For a book that consists of a lot of interviews, boardroom exchanges, and marketing schemes, it is an entertaining read. It’s very approachable and written so that the reader doesn’t get bogged down in details about a fight for more money. Blake Harris does a nice job of laying out the scenarios and stories that surrounded the battleground for video game domination without getting in the way of the story.

It’s on the thicker side, but it’s a quick and entertaining book. If you have ANY interest in video games (you probably do if you’re reading this) or in 90’s pop culture, this is a must read.



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