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Rainy Day's Books, Video Games and Other Writings

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blake j. harris

Book Review: Console Wars: Sega, Nintendo, and the Battle That Defined a Generation

Console Wars Book

Rating: 4 stars

Following the success of The Accidental Billionaires and Moneyball comes Console Wars–a mesmerizing, behind-the-scenes business thriller that chronicles how Sega, a small, scrappy gaming company led by an unlikely visionary and a team of rebels, took on the juggernaut Nintendo and revolutionized the video game industry.

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.

Reading this book was a nostalgic experience. Growing up, one of the first video games I ever played was Sonic the Hedgehog. I remember it as if it happened just yesterday and ever since, I loved video games. So reading this book was quite an experience for me.

But I didn’t enjoy it just for nostalgic reasons either. Console Wars took me into the world of Sega and Nintendo, introduced me to the people who made both companies a success, and made me even more enthralled with the video game universe. I enjoyed it because this book was very real to me. I felt as if I experienced both company’s success right in front of me as everything was happening. From seeing Kalinske resurrect Sega from the ground up to Nintendo taking the video game industry back by storm with the release of Donkey Kong Country on the SNES. I felt as if I was in the video game world, meeting all of the key players who made the video game industry thrive.

I also enjoyed Console Wars because there was a lot of thought put into writing it. Harris put a lot of research into this work, interviewing people from Nintendo and Sega who were a part of the video game industry during that time. Having this information made reading this book that much more enjoyable, allowing the reader a better understanding of how the video game industry came to be so popular in the world today. It also allowed me a glimpse into their lives, seeing everything in the video game industry in a completely different light.

The one downside to this book was the pacing. When I first started reading it, I really dived into the story, marveling at all of the little details and feeling nostalgic. But as I continued reading, I sometimes found myself slowing down, not wanting to continue. Not because I didn’t find what I was reading to be interesting, but because I found the pacing to be extremely slow at times. I found myself to be really interested in what I was reading, but found some of the conversations had between rival key players to be unrealistic. Or I’d find myself overwhelmed with the information presented to me to where I’d need to take a break from reading. Then, there were also times where transitioning from one company to the next was completely awkward. There were a lot of instances where the story went from conversations going on at Sega to all of a sudden being with the guys at Nintendo without any sort of warning. At the beginning of chapters, I understood it and was completely fine with it. But when it happened from one paragraph to the next, it was a little weird sometimes.

Console Wars was a very enjoyable read that reminded me of my childhood. Of the many days I spent playing video games, having fun and just being a kid.

If We Were Having Coffee: Another Semester Comes to An End

A Cup of Coffee and Books

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you this week has been quite a busy one. Busy in ways I wasn’t expecting it to be. I’d tell you how my last week of work went, giving you details about what all transpired. I’d tell you my meeting with my General Manager about opportunities in my field went successfully. He was able to provide me with some amazing places where I could look for jobs, informing me to let him know where I applied so he could give a good word. But also telling me where I could search that I hadn’t thought of before. Another coworker was there when we were having our session and volunteered to help me build up my resume, completely recreating it from scratch. But improving it in ways I believe will make my resume stand out and open the door to other amazing opportunities.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you a breakfast bagel shop close to home called me for a job interview. The interview went well and was shortly followed up by a second interview with their General Manager. They sound like they are interested in hiring me, but I also know I need to keep my options open. But I haven’t heard back from them since they did my background check. Though I’m willing to give them a couple more days before I get back on the band wagon to continue searching for jobs. This time, I’ll be looking for jobs in my field at places where my General Manager will be able to give a good word. So I’m not completely holding out on hearing back, but continuing my job search from where I left off. I just hope this time around I’ll be more successful. Only time will tell, that’s for sure.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you I’ve spent nearly every day with my new friend. Not only talking and messaging, but spending time with each other, getting to know each other better. We are planning on doing something together on Monday, but I’m waiting for word on what we’ll be doing exactly. Just know I’m excited to have another friend in my life and continue to be excited to see our friendship blossom.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you I’m not too sad to see work coming to a close this semester. A lot has happened there that has caused me so much stress that I’m glad to see it’s over. This week there went well. It was very slow because students were in their final exam week so they were leaving as soon as they finished their last exam. We also had a closing meeting, which was pretty basic chit chat on Wednesday afternoon. My last night shift on Friday was the Senior Dinner, which went off without a hitch. There were some minor problems here and there, but nothing none of us were able to handle. We worked well as a team to make sure everything got done properly, even getting out 30 minutes to an hour earlier than anticipated. So that was pretty nice. It’s weird how quickly this school year has gone because I didn’t graduate this early last year. But I’m also proud of my fellow college peers for all they’ve accomplished in their four years at Columbia College and know they’ll do some amazing things in the years to come. Just hoping to do some amazing things myself very soon, fingers crossed.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you I’ve started a new book as well as acquired two new books. I’ve started reading the book Console Wars: Sega, Nintendo, and the Battle that Defined a Generation by Blake J. Harris. So far this book is truly amazing, talking about the video game industry and how both Sega and Nintendo have revolutionized video games in their own unique ways. But focuses more on Sega, the company that could arguably be called the underdog in the video game industry. Then, Tom Kalinske was brought on board, transforming Sega into a $60 billion dollar industry. I would go into more detail about what I think about this book, but I really want to save that until I’ve finished reading it and my review is posted for you to see. But so far, I really enjoy it, learning more about the video game industry and the people who’ve shaped it into the beautiful thing it is today. The two books I bought at Barnes & Noble yesterday also focus on video games and are by the same author, Ernest Cline. Both of them are books on my Goodreads to be read list that I’ve been really wanting to read for the longest time. They are Ready Player One and Armada.  I’m so excited to read them both even though the book I’m currently reading is amazing and I’m learning more about video games from it. I just can’t wait to see how all three of these books are and to write about them on here.

books

If we were having coffee, I’d apologize for my continued lack of posts. I was planning on doing more posts this week, but didn’t really have too many ideas besides posting my two writings from the application to Book Riot. I’ve already posted the first one and will post the other one very soon. I hope this upcoming week will make up for it as I won’t be working anymore so I should have plenty of free time to think up posts to write. But will just have to wait and see what happens. Because it’s also possible I could very easily be hitting a dry spell and that’s why I’ve not been writing quite as much. Either way, I plan on becoming more active in the future on my blog and hope you all still enjoy my posts, regardless of how much time passes between each one.

If we were having coffee, I’d finish by saying this weekend has been a wonderful one so far. Yesterday not only did I get to go to Barnes & Noble with my sister, but I also saw my best friend for my second Mary Kay consultation. I not only did the skin treatment, but they put makeup on me too. So since none of you have any way of knowing this, I don’t wear makeup. At all. I’ve only worn it a couple times, mostly when forced by friends into doing makeovers, but that’s about it. Personally, I just don’t like the way makeup looks on my face. I feel very uncomfortable with it on and it doesn’t enhance my physical appearance or do anything for me. Just more of an irritation than anything else. Yesterday, it wasn’t too bad. Still not convinced in getting any makeup for myself or anything. But I did get the stuff I ordered from the last consultation, which I’m definitely looking forward to using in the foreseeable future, despite my family wanting to use it too. But today, I’ll be doing Zumba soon, so I should probably let you get going.

If we were having coffee, I’d also like to quickly let you know that I might not be doing coffee next weekend. I have a cousin graduating from college next Saturday so I’ll be pretty busy spending time with my family.

Just thought I should let you know. But I’m off now. Hope you’ve had a good week and catch you next time with more about what’s going on in my life and more coffee.

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