Super Mario: How Nintendo Conquered America

No I am not about to write a 276 page book on the history of Nintendo since it arrived on the US shores, a look at the history of the Mario games and a look at him as an icon in the modern world. Nope I won’t do that for it has already been done and was published last Friday and written by Jeff Ryan. I’ll be honest and say that I hadn’t heard of the author but it is one book where I judged it by its cover and took the plunge.

Well it took me a while to get it off Luigi (he went straight for the index page and looked himself up).

How can you tell if it’s a good book? Do you read the back of the cover and read plugs from Tom Bissell (author of  Extra lives: why video games matter), John Romero (the FPS god) and Cliff Bleszinski? I just get on and read it and read it I did, firstly I thought it would be a rather negative book and secondly I wasn’t expecting too much by it.  I was wrong.

Jeff Ryan brings a positively neutral spin on things which is very refreshing, there are too many doom and gloom preachers out there who almost hate this company, yet Jeff Ryan pushes on and gives a rather insightful look into the history.  The main focus is on how Nintendo conquered America (as was given away by the book title) so very little is mentioned about Europe with the focus on the USA and just what it means to that region to have Nintendo as an influence.

It’s a rather easy book to read that flows really well with some good history, some great stories and overall it gives a look into the special magic that has gripped gamers for more than 30 years.  The author isn’t afraid to pull any punches on certain issues and tells it as it is: there were times where Nintendo screwed third-party developers, there were times when it looked like the company was going to collapse, a look at their strategy of advertising to children and many more.

This is the sort of book where I expected to see a number of inaccuracies presented and that didn’t happen.  To my knowledge there are just Two in there:  Nintendo was founded in 1889 not 1894 and there other Super Mario Land 2 doesn’t take place in Sarasland.  Two very minor things in a very enjoyable read by someone who is obviously a huge Nintendo and gaming fan.

I recommend this book to any gamer out there, you can pick it up on Amazon or even try your local book store, you can also check the website out at


Posted on 22/09/2011, in Features. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

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