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Game Over, Press Start to Continue: How Nintendo Conquered the World
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Game Over, Press Start to Continue: How Nintendo Conquered the World

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4.09  ·  Rating details ·  1,194 ratings  ·  72 reviews
The riveting story of Nintendo's conquest of the interactive entertainment industry offering true tales filled with cocky arrogance, confidence and international intrigue that rival any novel. Whether it is recounting the struggles over the game"Tetris," offering blow-by-blow narrative of Nintendo's bitter legal warfare or its see-saw competition with other companies for m ...more
Paperback, 494 pages
Published April 1st 1999 by Cyberactive Media Group (first published January 1st 1993)
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4.09  · 
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 ·  1,194 ratings  ·  72 reviews


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Matt Hartzell
Jan 03, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: History buffs and gamers
Shelves: video-games, history
This exhaustively researched history of Nintendo was a highly interesting read. In some ways, it was painful. As a kid who grew up with a deep love of Nintendo, it was a little disheartening to learn about some of the tactics they employed in their rise to complete dominance of the video game and toy consumer markets. As a child, I had no concept of Nintendo's business practices, which were at times extremely heavy-handed, aggressive and borderline-illegal. Looking at this period of time in retr ...more
Trevor Hubbard
May 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
"Game Over" is a great book. David Sheff presents the story of how Nintendo, a 19th century trading card company, grew to be what it is today (well, not today, really - the early 1990's, when Sheff was writing the book). Sheff makes the story interesting and tense, diving deep into personal accounts of major events in the Nintendo timeline. The way he wrote about Nintendo absolutely transformed my image of the company - they went from the lackadaisical gaming company that represented childish in ...more
Patrick Lum
Sep 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
With Hiroshi Yamauchi's death late last month I figured it was an opportune time to re-read probably the most comprehensively researched and vivid account of Nintendo's rise to then-dominance both in Japan and in the USA. Unfortunately, Game Over suffers somewhat because it is only really half of the picture of what Nintendo is now - it is a book that ends (initially) in the late 90s, and thus has nothing to say on the state of Nintendo, of consumer expectations and of modern technology. Much of ...more
Jeroen Nijs
Mar 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is mainly a book about the early history of Nintendo of America, until about 1992. There is some mention of Nintendo in Japan, and the last chapter has a few paragraphs about Europe, but the meat is about the US. Also, in the edition I read, there is an afterword that was written in 1994.

If you can live with that limited scope, it is a highly interesting book. If you are interested in the history of video games, you should definitely read it.

One minor annoyance is the fact that the timeline
...more
Chris Salzman
Jun 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
It's been a while since I've read this one, but it's stuck with me. It's a deep look at the early years of Nintendo's involvement in videogames. I'm continually amazed that people who seem to dislike fun things and love things like board meetings, suits and budgets (here's looking at you Hollywood fat-cats) work so hard to make entertainment businesses profitable. Anyway, good read if you're at all interested in the history of Nintendo.
Asher Riley
Mar 03, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There are a few moments here and there that are a bit dry, but, ironically, even those areas of this book are still enjoyable. Overall, "Game Over" is a highly informative, enjoyable, often humorous and inspiring read. Anyone who wants to know all they can about the origins, rise, hardships and early days of Nintendo should absolutely read this book.
Corey Pieper
A few high spots here and there, but mostly because of nostalgic notes and a few curiosities as to how Nintendo did business. Probably the most enjoyable parts were about the creator of Tetris, Alexey Pajitnov.
Samantha Styles
It varied from interesting to boring.
terpkristin
Interesting book, though that it was easy to pick up and put down was its greatest weakness and strength. Some parts were fascinating, others less so. More later when I'm not on my iPad, maybe.
Bruce Wong
Mar 13, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Ever want to know far too much about Nintendo and the early days of the video game industry AND the Japanese way of business? Well this book is for you!
Emerson Curtright
Feb 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
I now know way too much about Nintendo.

But seriously, this exhaustive history of one of the world's greatest video game giants is surprisingly accessible. As other reviews have noted, the book's pace varies. There were chapters that completely sucked me in and I felt like I was watching an intense courtroom drama. Other chapters felt like I had to slog through, although it was always just interesting enough to keep me going. There's a lot of information that business-minded people would probably
...more
Jere
Jul 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
so much better than that shit book by blake harris
Marek Krushkhov
“Minoru and Yoko spent many evenings at video arcades. They looked over players' shoulders until it made young kids nervous. "What the fuck's your problem, mister?" one kid in a Kiss T-shirt barked at Minoru. Arakawa asked him, "Would you like a job?"
He watched kids stand in front of the machines, transfixed, their hands melded to controllers, their bony arms like umbilical cords joining human and machine. He asked the kids questions about what made a game good. Arakawa realized that the most su
...more
A.N. Mignan
May 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
A comprehensive history of Nintendo, the company, its masterminds, visionaries, and other businessmen. We do learn a lot, of course, about Nintendo but also about the rest of the video game industry of the 1980s (and early 1990s), including famous companies like Atari and Sega. Especially interesting, at least to me: Nintendo coming up with Game & Watch (the precursor to the Game Boy) following the electronic calculator boom, the infamous video game crash of 1983 seeing the end of Atari and ...more
Matthew Ciarvella
Jul 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015
For the series video game history enthusiast, but that's not a bad thing. "Game Over" goes seriously "inside baseball" and talks about the business of Nintendo and the story around that business. As a kid who grew up on Nintendo before jumping over to the Xbox in my teen years, this book dissolved my illusions about who Nintendo was during the 80s and 90s. Nevertheless, it was fascinating to see what was going on behind the scenes during the time when all I could think about was the next Mario o ...more
Scott
Maybe 4 stars.... it was a good read, and interesting peek back 20 years ago when this was written. Learning about the origins of Nintendo, and the formation of NOA (Nintendo of America), was particularly fascinating, as were the bits about some of the start developers and companies. It also covered a bit more about the Atari era than I expected, which was a nice surprise. All in all, I do recommend this book if you have any interest or tie to the video game industry, just keep in mind when it w ...more
Clyde Kim
Jul 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The History of Nintendo

This title is a nice overview on the business side of how Nintendo went from a simple toy company to one of the video game giants in the world. Although I was looking for something that explored the background of the designers of these iconic games (which is briefly explored), the story of how NOA was built, the law suits and the marketing strategies were interesting dramas that would probably make a great TV show some day. If you've ever wondered how one of your favorite
...more
Sicofonia
Nov 12, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is about the process that took Nintendo from being a humble deck cards maker to a multi-million dollar corporation that is nowadays. The book itself covers the history of Nintendo from the very beginning until 1993. In certain chapters I had the feeling there was too much 'gossip-telling', and it is a recurrent issue in the book, I suppose it's just for the sake of filling pages.
It is also a pity it was written way back in the day, because it misses a lot about the N64 period.
Other than tha
...more
John Dagen
Jan 05, 2013 rated it liked it
Early history of Nintendo's move into video games (after being a playing card company) and their period of dominance from the 80s to early 90s. Some great history and stories but I really wish it had focused more on the Sega rivalry instead of just briefly summarizing it towards the end.

Some parts haven't aged well with today's hindsight. Particularly bad is how much attention it pays to the "CD-ROM and multimedia will usher in a golden age of edutainment and knowledge" hype. It's maybe not fair
...more
Mark
May 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I willing to bet you don’t love Nintendo as much as I do. My formative years, like many people my age, were spent in front of a TV hooked up to the NES. Tracing Nintendo from their humble beginnings as a playing card company through their rise and total dominance of the home console market in the early 90’s until the launch of the Nintendo 64. Not so much a book strictly about video games but more a book about what it takes for a corporation to succeed, Hint: you’d better have a really good lawy ...more
Ramon
Oct 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pretty detailed overview of the story of Nintendo. A little bit dated as I think it was published in '92, but that's to be expected. It's also not a pro-Nintendo book; it does address what people would call underhanded tactics and monopolistic behavior. The latter section of the book about wrangling for the rights to Tetris could be turned into a legal thriller of sorts; it was surprisingly exciting.

The arc is basically a "little train that could" story where the train ultimately then becomes G
...more
Aaron Giddings
Aug 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
Good, but dated. This is a great history, primarily of the 1980s and early 90s rise of Nintendo, in the video game industry. However, it suffers from being somewhat dated at this point. Many of the rosy mid-90s predictions seem laughably wrong now, and in addition, the book suffers from some editing problems, with the author repeating information in various chapters and skipping around the timeline for seemingly no good reason.

Still, if you're interested in Nintendo history, or want to get a rea
...more
Sarah Daigen
May 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
"Game Over" is a fun and accessible read. Part video game history, part marketing and business/economics book, but always put in Layman's terms with an eye towards establishing the characters involved in Nintendo's rise (and there ARE some characters), it's an interesting read. I gobbled it up in about two weeks, with a pause in between to finish another book. For fans of Mario, or fans of business 101 - or even just a lay reader fascinated by cultural phenomena - I recommend this book highly. I ...more
Angelo Valdivia
Aug 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
One of the first books to cover the at-the-time fledgling games industry, densely filled with insight into Nintendo’s practices. This book has a unique perspective that can’t be attained by contemporary books about games history, given Sheff’s interviews and experiences of the time.

It’s an exhausting read given the amount of covered content, and if you’ve read other books about games history you might not find much new here. Nonetheless, it is a must-read if you’re interested in origin stories a
...more
Harper
Aug 23, 2009 rated it liked it


Even forgiving the issues with the book that hindsight causes I didn't like it like I thought I would. It's very awkwardly written at times, so the story fails to engage. Still it is chock full of interesting information and quotes about early Nintendo and the writer does understand that the multimedia Internet home device is the future of entertainment which makes the last quarter of the book prescient (even if he buys the industry's line that this was just around the corner... in 1992.)
Joao Alqueres
Jul 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is a seminal and definitive work, thoroughly researched and carefully put together in a chronological way. It is the go-to source to get a deep understanding from Nintendo origins to its transition to Nintendo64 (circa 95). The text is full of interesting and funny stories that are not available anywhere else. It is clear to me that the author put a great effort in collecting this information. The only downside is the lack of visual aids so you better open Youtube and google Images to have ...more
Michael
May 22, 2008 rated it liked it
I think all video-game histories are doomed to disappoint me... perhaps nothing matches the feeling of living those days. Written in 1993 (before the rise of the Playstation and the Xbox), this book goes into detail about some unknown-to-me inner workings at Nintendo, especially concerning the Game Boy and the way the corporation dealt with its licensees. Overall, the business side of Nintendo doesn't interest me; I wanted more about game development history. Sadly, the book was somewhat weak on ...more
Javier Sanchez
Jul 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I got nothing left to add other than I wish this particular edition of the book was in Kindle format. I say this as the physical copy I have has lost its front cover of Mario flying through the sky...

The book makes me nostalgic, for some reason, and its an easy read. Easy since it talks about my favorite video game company and their rich history. We need a sequel for the period from the N64 to the now present time of their upcoming Nintendo Switch...
Robert
Dec 04, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting history of Nintendo with a particular focus on the company's battle with Tengen and the development of Tetris as the flagship Game Boy title. The book does suffer a bit from being released at the height of the early 1990s panic that the Japanese were conspiring to economically take over the United States (the book refers to Michael Crichton's "Rising Sun" on a couple of occasions) this explains the book's title and (for the first edition) sensationalist packaging.
Brett
Jul 06, 2014 rated it liked it
Pretty interesting book for early Nintendo addicts like myself who are now "grown up". has a lot of good insight into the early players of NOA and how certain products came about. The book ends in 1992 so much of the discussion is outdated. I would prefer to get an updated version with the addition of Sony and Microsoft entering the market so I will keep searching for other books on the subject.
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David Sheff is the author of the #1 New York Times bestselling memoir Beautiful Boy. Sheff's other books include Game Over, China Dawn, and All We Are Saying. His many articles and interviews have appeared in the New York Times, Rolling Stone, Playboy, Wired, Fortune, and elsewhere. His ongoing research and reporting on the science of addiction earned him a place on Time Magazine's list of the Wor ...more
“When Sigeru Miyamoto, the creator of Mario, Luigi, and Zelda, heard the complaints about video games, he simply shrugged his shoulders. “Video games are bad for you? That’s what they said about rock ’n’ roll.” 1 likes
“Generations of children had been imbued with Mickey’s message: We play fair and we work hard and we’re in harmony.… M-I-C … See you real soon. K-E-Y … Why? Because we like you … Mario imparted other values: Kill or be killed. Time is running out. You are on your own. Donald Katz, in a February 1990 Esquire magazine article, observed that the lesson from Mario is “there’s always somebody bigger and more powerful than you are [and] … even if you kill the bad guys and save the girl—eventually you will die.” 1 likes
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