Review: Super Mario: How Nintendo Conquered America by Jeff Martin

Super Mario: How Nintendo Conquered America by Jeff Ryan: Book CoverSuper Mario: How Nintendo Conquered America by Jeff Ryan

            • Pub. Date: August 2011
            • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
            • Format: Hardcover , 304pp
            • Sales Rank: 120,838
The story of Nintendo’s rise and the beloved icon who made it possible.

Nintendo has continually set the standard for video-game innovation in America, starting in 1981 with a plucky hero who jumped over barrels to save a girl from an ape.

The saga of Mario, the portly plumber who became the most successful franchise in the history of gaming, has plot twists worthy of a video game. Jeff Ryan shares the story of how this quintessentially Japanese company found success in the American market. Lawsuits, Hollywood, die- hard fans, and face-offs with Sony and Microsoft are all part of the drama.

Find out about:

• Mario’s eccentric yet brilliant creator, Shigeru Miyamoto, who was tapped for the job because was considered expendable.

• Minoru Arakawa, the son-in-law of Nintendo’s imperious president, who bumbled his way to success. 
• The unexpected approach that allowed Nintendo to reinvent itself as the gaming system for the non-gamer, especially now with the Wii Even those who can’t tell a Koopa from a Goomba will find this a fascinating story of striving, comeuppance, and redemption.

David’s Thoughts:

The Super Mario Bros. franchise is by far the most popular video game franchise with over 240 million games sold. So how did Nintendo, originally a trading card company, create a best-selling game about a plumber? In this book, the author, Jeff Ryan, walks the reader through each stage of Nintendo’s development of Mario, from arcade games to the Wii console. He talks about the decisions made by Nintendo while creating each new game, and how competing companies responded.

As an avid video gamer, I found this to be an interesting and fun read. There are lots of “Wow! Really?”, facts about the video game industry. The writing is clear and easy to read. There’s very little techno-babble or corporate legal discussion that would put off a casual reader. The only problem I had with this book is that the other seems to be too big a fan of Nintendo and readily put down other companies. While I understand that he wouldn’t have written the book if he was a fan, I was looking for a bit more impartiality.

Overall, a good read that highlights not only the video game industry, but says a lot about what people, as a culture, look for in our entertainment.

David’s Rating:


3 Penguins – would give 3.5 if there were half a penguin

Booking Through Thursday

btt button

You’ve just had a long, hard, exhausting day, and all you want to do is curl up with something light, fun, easy, fluffy, distracting, and entertaining.

What book do you pick up?


Lisa’s Answer

Since I don’t really reread most books, I don’treally have a go to book for this situation. Really for me it is whatever book I happen to be reading.  Luckily for me if this happened today, I am reading Going Bovine by Libba Bray and it is a pretty entertaining read so far.


David’s Answer


The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R Tolkien is always a solid fall back entertaining read.  


What about you?  I am always put for suggestions so let me know what your favorite relaxing read is.

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

Our Wednesday Selections this week are….

The Omen Machine by Terry Goodkind: Book Cover David’s Choice:

The Omen Machine by Terry Goodkind


Hannis Arc, working on the tapestry of lines linking constellations of elements that constituted the language of Creation recorded on the ancient Cerulean scroll spread out among the clutter on his desk, was not surprised to see the seven etherial forms billow into the room like acrid smoke driven on a breath of bitter breeze. Like an otherworldly collection of spectral shapes seemingly carried on random eddies of air, they wandered in a loose clutch among the still and silent mounted bears and beasts rising up on their stands, the small forest of stone pedestals holding massive books of recorded prophecy, and the evenly spaced display cases of oddities, their glass reflecting the firelight from the massive hearth at the side of the room.


Since the seven rarely used doors, the shutters on the windows down on the ground level several stories below stood open as a fearless show of invitation. Though they frequently chose to use windows, they didn’t actually need the windows any more than they needed the doors. They could seep through any opening, any crack, like vapor rising in the early morning from the stretches of stagnant water that lay in dark swaths through the peat barrens.


The open shutters were meant to be a declaration for all to see, including the seven, that Hannis Arc feared nothing.

#1 New York Times-bestselling author Terry Goodkind returns to the lives of Richard Rahl and Kahlan Amnell—in a compelling tale of a new and sinister threat to their world.

Dragonfly by Julia Golding: Book CoverLisa’s Choice
Dragonfly by Julia Golding
Princess Taoshira of the Blue Crescent Islands is appalled when she is ordered to marry Prince Ramil of Gerfal in order to unite their lands. And he’s not too pleased, either. They hate each other on sight. So, when Tashi and Ramil are kidnapped, they fear there’s no escape – from their kidnappers or from each other. Can they put aside their differences long enough to survive ambush, unarmed combat, brainwashing, and imprisonment? And will the people they meet on their adventure help them or betray them to the enemy?
A Little Wanting Song by Cath Crowley: Book Cover A Little Wanting Song by Cath Crowley
A summer of friendship, romance, and songs in major chords. . . .

CHARLIE DUSKIN loves music, and she knows she’s good at it. But she only sings when she’s alone, on the moonlit porch or in the back room at Old Gus’s Secondhand Record and CD Store. Charlie’s mom and grandmother have both died, and this summer she’s visiting her grandpa in the country, surrounded by ghosts and grieving family, and serving burgers to the local kids at the milk bar. She’s got her iPod, her guitar, and all her recording equipment, but she wants more: A friend. A dad who notices her. The chance to show Dave Robbie that she’s not entirely unspectacular.

ROSE BUTLER lives next door to Charlie’s grandfather and spends her days watching cars pass on the freeway and hanging out with her troublemaker boyfriend. She loves Luke but can’t wait to leave their small country town. And she’s figured out a way: she’s won a scholarship to a science school in the city, and now she has to convince her parents to let her go. This is where Charlie comes in. Charlie, who lives in the city, and whom Rose has ignored for years. Charlie, who just might be Rose’s ticket out.

Told in alternating voices and filled with music, friendship, and romance, Charlie and Rose’s “little wanting song” is about the kind of longing that begins as a heavy ache but ultimately makes us feel hopeful and wonderfully alive.


What books are on your Waiting On Wednesday List?  

P.S. Please be sure to let me know if you are a new follower.