During my PhD studies, I lost a passion for many things. I lost a passion for playing games. Playing games to analyze them because I had to was not as rewarding as doing the same when I did it because I wanted to. I lost a passion for reading, both fiction and nonfiction. I lost a passion for scholarship, the history of the medium, and the medium as a whole. This summer, now that I don’t HAVE to do these things, I am re-discovering that long lost love for my chosen medium.
First in this quest of rediscovery is the book Console Wars by Blake Harris. I found this book three days ago while randomly browsing the science fiction and fantasy section in my local book store. Clearly, it was misplaced. However, as a student of gaming, it spoke to me. The book follows the exploits of SEGA and Nintendo’s top brass and how they attempted to outsell each other during the days of the Genesis vs SNES console wars. I have yet to finish it, thus “first impressions”, but thus far it is an enjoyable read (almost reads like good fiction) that chronicles the corporate side of the 16 bit console wars. I’m 300 pages in (in 2 days? I haven’t done that in a while!) and I have loved every sentence of it. I am confident when I say that students of gaming, players in general (specially those who were in their teens during the console wars) and anyone interested in gaming will get a kick out of it.
Yes, it is ultimately glorification of corporate culture and marketing, but it is an incredibly compelling read that sheds light on what was happening behind the curtains during what is arguably the only true console war that the gaming industry has ever seen.
As you probably know by now, Sega recently acquired Atlus. At first I was a bit skeptical, and I voiced my opinion to some colleagues. I said that if Sega were still the Sega of the 1990s, the company that gave us the numbered Phantasy Stars and Shining Forces, then I wouldn’t have any misgivings. However, with Sega’s current-gen track record catering more and more towards the action (or “hardcore”) gamer and the mobile gamer, their acquisition of Atlus seems odd. After thinking about it, I somewhat changed my mind. I said that it might actually be a good thing that Sega and Atlus merged. My colleague then said that “Atlus is too big to merge with Sega”. I facepalmed.