Book Review: Console Wars. The Battle that Defined Me, and the rest of my Generation

Thinking back to my childhood, there are only a select few number of things that really really stick out. For me, many of my memories was playing video games. I can definitively say, it helped shaped who I am (in both good ways and bad ways). Console Wars: Sega, Nintendo, and the Battle that Defined a Generation written by Blake Harris, and audiobook narrated by Fred Berman is a great read that covers the back story, main decisions and the key players that helped bring the video game industry alive.

The book talks of the marketing decisions beyond the awesome commercials such as this and this. How marketing was used to split people/children into Sega people and Nintendo people. It mentions the various innovations that changed the video game industry as we know now.  Just to list a few:

  • Sonic Tuesday, the idea of treating video games like movies and doing a major marketing releases of them.
  • The video game rating system
  • E3

More than the story, another reason why I liked the book so much, was that it was a story about the team, the people, and how they worked together. About David beating Goliath (the uprising vs the entrenched), about doing crazy unconventional things, about creating everlasting bonds with one another. It’s a team (the Sega team) that anyone would love to be on, a team that I would love to be on. In the whole startup age, as much as we care about perks and sky-high valuations, often the deepest work satisfaction comes from the team that you go to battle with, the work that you do together, and the relationships that come from it.

A few things that stood out to me about the team.

  • Everlasting friendships. They often worked with one another in various capacities after Sega
  • The leader – who cared about his team almost more than the work itself
  • Why it was fun – taking risks, working hard, making an impact. The most fulfilling work is often not the work with the most work/life balance work.

I for one, was a Sega person. And, perhaps that already reveals a lot about me already.