I'm bidding on a GameBoy on eBay right now, and it's all Jeff Ryan's fault. Jeff is the author of Super Mario: How Nintendo Conquered America a fresh, fast look at the introduction of Nintendo from scrappy upstart (in the U.S., at least) to video game powerhouse thanks to everyone's favorite plumber, Mario.
The book is a hoot to read not only for Ryan's clever wordsmithery, but also for the sheer nostalgia that will come flooding back, just at the mention of the good old Mario/Sonic feud, as well as plenty of behind-the-scenes drama: including the story of how Mario's debut arcade game, Donkey Kong, was a quick re-theming of what had been planned as a Popeye game. Makes a lot of sense once you make the connection. While it can be a little confusing to keep track of the corporate drama at Nintendo and Nintendo of America in the early days, (an organizational chart would've been helpful) it hardly matters.
You know how the story ends, and it is more about discovering those little-known stories along the way, along with re-visiting your own youth, and the influence of Mario on gaming to this day. Ever wonder how on earth the Virtual Boy ever got produced? It'll make perfect sense once you read this book, as well as the secret philosophy- focus on games and be the device people use to play games, rather than a device that does everything- that led to great success with original GameBoy and the DS, but has led the company to serious threats today from the likes of Microsoft and Apple.
I know one stereotype of gamers is that they don't sit around and read books. This one is worth a gamer's time. Now that you're all reading, I have an auction to win.