More American children recognize Super Mario, the hero of one of Nintendo’s video games, than Mickey Mouse. The Japanese company has come to earn more money than the big three computer giants or all Hollywood movie studios combined. Now Sheff tells of the Nintendo invasion–a tale of innovation and cutthroat tactics.
Despite its title, this overlong book is a generally admiring look at the operation and history of Nintendo, Japan's most successful company and the maker of that country's most lucrative cultural export. Given broad access to the videogame company's executives, Sheff ( The Playboy Interviews with John Lennon and Yoko Ono ) examines Nintendo's humble origins and growth. He recounts its gutsy entry into the U.S. market, its bruising tactics against competitors, its marketing brilliance and the controversy over its recent purchase of the Seattle Mariners baseball team. Unfortunately, Sheff's chronicle is choppy, overwhelmed by an excess of superfluous details and scene-setting, and weakened by his attempt to incorporate other computer-industry stories, such as that of the fall of Atari founder Nolan Bushnell, into the narrative. Illustrations not seen by PW. Author tour.