Super Mario: How Nintendo Conquered America

Super Mario: How Nintendo Conquered America

4.3 144
by Jeff Ryan
     
 

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The first princess Mario saved was Nintendo itself.

 

In 1981, Nintendo of America was a one-year-old business already on the brink of failure. Its president, Mino Arakawa, was stuck with two thousand unsold arcade cabinets for a dud of a game (Radar Scope). So he hatched a plan.

Back in Japan, a boyish, shaggy-haired staff artist named

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Overview

The first princess Mario saved was Nintendo itself.

 

In 1981, Nintendo of America was a one-year-old business already on the brink of failure. Its president, Mino Arakawa, was stuck with two thousand unsold arcade cabinets for a dud of a game (Radar Scope). So he hatched a plan.

Back in Japan, a boyish, shaggy-haired staff artist named Shigeru Miyamoto designed a new game for the unsold cabinets featur­ing an angry gorilla and a small jumping man. Donkey Kong brought in $180 million in its first year alone and launched the career of a short, chubby plumber named Mario.

Since then, Mario has starred in over two hundred games, gen­erating profits in the billions. He is more recognizable than Mickey Mouse, yet he’s little more than a mustache in bib overalls. How did a mere smear of pixels gain such huge popularity?

Super Mario tells the story behind the Nintendo games millions of us grew up with, explaining how a Japanese trading card company rose to dominate the fiercely competitive video-game industry.

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Editorial Reviews

Mike Musgrove
Nintendo did not, alas, cooperate with this author. As a result, some of Ryan's anecdotes are left with an asterisk hanging by them in the reader's mind. Without a doubt, however, Super Mario is packed with enough strange—and confirmed—nuggets to please most fans…For the most part, the pages here turn as quickly as any of Mario's platform-jumping adventures.
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
The history of how a Japanese video game featuring two Italian brothers became one of America's favorite pastimes is covered in exhaustive, enthusiastic detail by video game reviewer Ryan. The author takes readers through Nintendo's early business machinations; the story of Mario's eccentric creator, Shigeru Miyamoto; and the game-changing emergence of Nintendo's motion controller for the Wii, with a breezy journalistic style. At times the tone slips into the white hat–black hat morality employed in most video games, often painting Nintendo's business competitors or detractors with broad reductive strokes—"hardcore gamers sneer at Wii"—and paeans to new Nintendo releases get smattered with exclamation points, so that some pages read like Nintendo promo material. All of this is distracting but not fatal, and the book is a thorough history of Nintendo's victories, written by an enthusiastic and knowledgeable fan. (Aug.)
Kirkus Reviews

A gaming journalist retraces Nintendo's unlikely shaping of video-game history through a pudgy Italian plumber named Mario.

In his debut, Ryan chronicles the surprisingly riveting history of Japanese video-game empire Nintendo, from their early coin-operated arcade-game days to recent innovations in game-system technology. More specifically, though, the author follows the professional career of Nintendo's mastermind Shigeru Miyamoto and the often-riveting story behind the genesis of now-legendary pixilated plumber Mario, and the improbable success of Mario's star-vehicle, Donkey Kong, whose oddball name came about from a happy accident in Japanese-to-English translation.For anyone who grew up in the '80s with quarter-arcade games like Donkey Kong, the first half of Ryan's book is an endlessly fascinating nostalgia trip. Placing Miyamoto's creation in its cultural and chronological context, the author not only gives Nintendo's full history, but also a detailed accounting of Nintendo's early field of competition, especially with one-time giant Atari and later Sega, with its irreverent anti-Mario stance. Nintendo's rise to importance would also be marked by big lawsuits, namely by Universal, who claimed they owned the rights to King Kong, and thus, Donkey Kong. It's this historical element that Ryan thrives on, as well as the biographical aspects of Nintendo's eccentric Japanese founding fathers. The author drives home the notion of Nintendo's success being mostly due to its uncanny sense of resourcefulness. In the later chapters, however, the narrative slows, as Ryan gets too caught up in gamer shop talk. In his coverage of the '90s and beyond, the author seems more concerned with the technological minutiae behind every new gizmo that Nintendo is responsible for and can't retain the dramatic buildup that had given such heft to earlier chapters.

Late stumbles aside, an effective and entertaining overview of the video-game industry's history and Nintendo's essential role in shaping it.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781591845638
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
09/25/2012
Pages:
320
Sales rank:
120,651
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Related Subjects

Meet the Author

Jeff Ryan, a lifelong gamer, has been featured on Salon.com and All Things Considered. He reviewed over 500 video games and covered four console launches as the games editor for Katrillion, a popular dotcom-era news and entertainment Web site. He lives in Bloomfield, New Jersey.

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Super Mario 4.3 out of 5 based on 2 ratings. 144 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
B&N should add nintendo power to there magazines Select helpful so B&N can see this
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Mario is super awsome!!!1.he's beaten bowser like,26 times.2.he's went to the moon.3.he's been turned into shadow Mario one adventure.4.he gave me the weirdest dream.Mario and pals explore the moon and find a factory.somehow he gets kicked ALLLL the way to earth.Then this mob showes up thinking Mario's hurt.When the crowd moves away he comes out EXACLY THE SAME WAY HE WAS BEFORE!Then they all shout "Hooray!".Then I woke up.Anyway,Mario is SWEET!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A great book it had me hooked and showed me the evalution and detailed history of mario from nintendo.
BoutDragon More than 1 year ago
This kept me intertained until it ended.Its a great story about Nintendo and Mario's history.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book talk about straight mario. How small game came to be one of,the games of ALL TIME?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was really good
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
When I was 4 we had an old nintendo. I have never knew that nintendos games were so popular. And know that I am 9 I still like mario.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a really good book, and was informative, but in a good way.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I belidvw it is a very captivating book. I enjoyed reading it :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
$12.99?Mario is waaaaaaayyyyy better than $12.99!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wow
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is awesome as it shows the history of mario and other things. I would recomend it to someone who likes mario, gaming and would like to know the history about him.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
NO U SUCK!!! MARIO 4EVER!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
; ) my bro loves it.....
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I could barley stop reading to write this review! In short, READ THIS BOOK IF YOU LOVE ALL THINGS NINTENDO
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Although I may not be much of a Mario fan (Die-Hard Zelda fan, here), I think it was a good read for new and expert gamers alike. This book was very informative and to-the-point. Also, no bias remarks whatsoever!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My god it looks the total best i am begging my mom for it i mean sereosly i cant not wait although im only nine and a good speller and typer
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book love it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
IM BLOWN
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
good!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great Mario book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Like i said febuary first i acually grew horns i kidnapped sonic until june thirtyth until his speedy shoes become mine and i become sonic101 my true potential
Anonymous 14 days ago
Mega man vs Mario and Lugui Mario and lugi will win. Du du du du du du du du du du d du du du du du du du du du du du du du du du du du du
Anonymous 7 months ago
IF DO PLZ RESPOND AND TELL WARE YOU AT :-)
Anonymous 10 months ago
Its decent enough, but the first super mario game (jumping over barrels to rescue a hot woman) seems boring.