Super Power, Spoony Bards, and Silverware: The Super Nintendo Entertainment System

Super Power, Spoony Bards, and Silverware: The Super Nintendo Entertainment System

by Dominic Arsenault

Hardcover

$29.95
View All Available Formats & Editions
Members save with free shipping everyday! 
See details

Overview

How the Super Nintendo Entertainment System embodied Nintendo's resistance to innovation and took the company from industry leadership to the margins of videogaming.

This is a book about the Super Nintendo Entertainment System that is not celebratory or self-congratulatory. Most other accounts declare the Super NES the undisputed victor of the “16-bit console wars” of 1989–1995. In this book, Dominic Arsenault reminds us that although the SNES was a strong platform filled with high-quality games, it was also the product of a short-sighted corporate vision focused on maintaining Nintendo's market share and business model. This led the firm to fall from a dominant position during its golden age (dubbed by Arsenault the “ReNESsance”) with the NES to the margins of the industry with the Nintendo 64 and GameCube consoles. Arsenault argues that Nintendo's conservative business strategies and resistance to innovation during the SNES years explain its market defeat by Sony's PlayStation. 

Extending the notion of “platform” to include the marketing forces that shape and constrain creative work, Arsenault draws not only on game studies and histories but on game magazines, boxes, manuals, and advertisements to identify the technological discourses and business models that formed Nintendo's Super Power. He also describes the cultural changes in video games during the 1990s that slowly eroded the love of gamer enthusiasts for the SNES as the Nintendo generation matured. Finally, he chronicles the many technological changes that occurred through the SNES's lifetime, including full-motion video, CD-ROM storage, and the shift to 3D graphics. Because of the SNES platform's architecture, Arsenault explains, Nintendo resisted these changes and continued to focus on traditional gameplay genres.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780262036566
Publisher: MIT Press
Publication date: 09/01/2017
Series: Platform StudiesSeries Series
Pages: 240
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Dominic Arsenault is Associate Professor in the Department of Art History and Film Studies at the Université de Montréal.

Table of Contents

Series Foreword vii

Acknowledgments ix

Introduction: Welcome to the Dark Side 1

1 Establishing the Nintendo Economic System (NES) 17

2 Minutes to Midnight: Devising and Launching a Platform 41

3 "Now You're Playing With Power … Super Power!" 61

4 Beyond Bits and Pixels: Inside the Technology 87

5 The Race to 3-D 115

6 The American Video Game ReNESsance 141

7 The CD-ROM That Would Not Be 165

Conclusion: Silver Linings and Golden Dawns 191

Notes 197

References 203

Index 221

What People are Saying About This

Endorsement

As its playful title suggests, Super Power, Spoony Bards, and Silverware is an inventive, detailed, and highly readable excursion into the SNES platform and its place in culture.

Mark J. P. Wolf, Professor, Concordia University, Wisconsin; editor of Video Games Around the World

From the Publisher

Arsenault smacks the rose-tinted glasses from our faces with a platform study that cuts true and deep. He lovingly and convincingly articulates why the SNES hosted some of the best-loved games of a generation despite Nintendo's stubborn failure to embrace the massive cultural and technological shifts of the day.

José P. Zagal, Associate Professor, University of Utah; author of Ludoliteracy

As its playful title suggests, Super Power, Spoony Bards, and Silverware is an inventive, detailed, and highly readable excursion into the SNES platform and its place in culture.

Mark J. P. Wolf, Professor, Concordia University, Wisconsin; editor of Video Games Around the World

Mark J. P. Wolf

As its playful title suggests, Super Power, Spoony Bards, and Silverware is an inventive, detailed, and highly readable excursion into the SNES platform and its place in culture.

Customer Reviews