Summary: The story of "How Nintendo Conquered America."
My Thoughts: Meager beginnings. We all have them.
I was working in video arcades when the Mario revolution began. Back then he was known as Jumpman, but it doesn't matter. The overalls and mustache have always been telling. We carried all the Donkey Kong games, the early Mario Bros. and anything else that Nintendo of America pushed out.
When Mario moved to the home market, we were there, too. I had an N64 in my dorm room in college, although we chose other, more involved games like Romance of the Three Kingdoms as our boredom killers. But I was there the first times that Mario saved the princess, by whatever name and whatever method. Super Mario Bros. was in my stack.
I didn't know then, of course, that it would get so big, or that the Mario superstorm almost never happened. Nintendo of America had to deal with failed games, conversion kits, warehouse rentals, a jumping, mustached angry landlord, corporate directives from Japan, and more. They had to learn how video games fit into American culture beyond dedicated arcades. And they had to figure out the home market.
Luckily the company had a lesson to follow in that respect. Atari had failed miserably, crashing in on itself under the weight of poorly designed games for the 2600, with little quality control over products produced by outside developers. Nintendo played its cards closer to the vest and, what's more, built itself an iconic figure. You never knew where Mario would pop up next. He hopped from platform to platform, game to game, keeping the singular goal of saving the princess through most of his trials.
Ryan details the ups and downs of the Mario story, the hits and misses (and there have been numerous of the latter). He covers the stories here and there, in the U.S. and Japan, where Mario games have been released that never crossed the Pacific. He puts personalities behind the developers and Nintendo executives, making us better understand how Mario took over the world.
We are seeing a Mario revolution in these recent years. Mario is playing with the Rabbids. He has his own Minecraft world. He has even joined forces with his old nemesis, Sonic, for trips to the Olympic games. He's finally comfortable in his own skin, and, as long as there are princesses to save, he'll be here.