Super Mario: How Mario Conquered America
Author: Jeff Ryan
One of my earliest memories from childhood is of my dad bringing home the original Nintendo console with a shiny gold cartridge entitled “The Legend of Zelda.” Although I didn’t get to play it often (my siblings hogged the system, so I ended up just watching a lot), it started a lifelong love of Nintendo games. Beyond knowing about Nintendo’s got its start producing and selling Hanafuda cards, I didn’t know much about the company’s early history. So I was excited to pick up this book and learn some more about a game company that has survived the odds through the decades and continues to thrive.
I enjoyed the majority of the book, but it started to get a little repetitive and a little too philosophical on the role of Mario in the world. Sometimes, it felt like the author forgot people play video games to have fun above all else. After about two-thirds of the book, I was starting to skim as I didn’t really want to read more about the hardware specifications of Microsoft’s Xbox or Sony’s PlayStation. The book is also a couple of years out of date, so it doesn’t cover any recent developments. There were also some bad jokes sprinkled throughout, and the Kindle edition featured some truly impressive spelling errors and grammatical mistakes, including words repeated several times in a sentence.
Overall, if you’re a Nintendo fan and you’re interested in learning more about the company’s history, this book is a decent place to start. Although this book focuses on Nintendo’s efforts to establish themselves in the United States, you’ll also learn plenty about the company’s history in Japan and some interesting tidbits. For example, did you know that the word Nintendo roughly translates into English to mean “leave luck to heaven?” If you want something more in-depth, however, I think there are better books out there.