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Entries in Nintendo (5)


Book Review: Super Mario

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.



Retro Tech Tuesday: Nintendo Training Circa 1991

Chances are if you're reading this, you're more likely to have been (or be) a customer of Nintendo, rather than a Nintendo reseller. As a kid, you may have dreamed of the glamorous life the electronics/toy department clerk must have had. After all, they had all those shiny toys you wanted to get your hands on at their disposal. Well, I hate to burst your bubble, but it wasn't all fun and games for those clerks. This deliciously dated training video from Nintendo shows the kinds of issues clerks would encounter, and offered solutions.

It's enjoyable both for taking us back, and for a few minor celebrity sightings in the video. See if you can spot any familiar faces:



Introducing Our New Micro Show: Stickies

You know former Mac Genius (can they ever really take the title from you?) Jamie DeGrazio as the co-host of Root Access. Well now he'll also be doing a micro show for us called "Stickies." Just like Stickies" on the Mac, it's a brief look at a tech topic. Jamie will cover a wider range of tech-related news than he can on Root Access.

The first episode is below. It's a work in progress, so it's a little rough around the edges (you know you want an Apple startup chime to start the show) so we look forward to your feedback:


July Apple Fantasy Merger: Google

(Each month we weigh the pros and cons of a particular potential merger for Apple. Please note the "fantasy" part of this speculation: Many times the mergers mentioned couldn't or wouldn't be realistically possible. But put all that aside and enjoy this month's edition of Fantasy Merger.)

Last month, we talked about the wonders that would come from an Apple/Nintendo merger. This month, we dare you to dream of iTunes libraries searchable by lyrics, AdWord supported iWeb documents, and web-based OS X. Yes friends, imagine if you will, an Apple/Google merger. Clearly this month's merger leans more toward the fantasy side than others.

Rather than the advantages for each company, the real question is, what would happen to the rest of the tech industry? Would the Dept. of Justice allow such a merger between an internet powerhouse, and a hardware manufacturer? Could the two companies combined maintain Apple's legendary secrecy while also maintaining Google's "do no evil" philosophy? And what would happen to Microsoft? Beyond spending billions of dollars to oppose the merger, what would become of them in a world in which the "most advanced" operating system would be available to all?

Of course both companies are doing fine on their own thanks, and would have little interest in the other beyond their working partnership now. Still, once a month, we stop to wonder, what if...


June Apple Fantasy Merger: Nintendo

(Each month we weigh the pros and cons of a particular potential merger for Apple. Please note the "fantasy" part of this speculation: Many times the mergers mentioned couldn't or wouldn't be realistically possible. But put all that aside and enjoy this month's edition of Fantasy Merger.)

Apple has been on a tear conquering the worlds of portable music, cell phones, and computers. There are two areas though, where Apple continues to meet resistance: The settop box (Apple TV) and gaming. This month's fantasy merger would solve both of these problems overnight: Merge/Buy Nintendo.

The Wii has been a success in large part due to the (here it comes) "think different" approach they've taken to game control. From the outside, it seems like there would be several workplace culture similarities between the two companies, more than say Apple and Sony.

Apple would immediately have a gaming hit on its hands, and a device in millions of homes (millions more than Apple TV) in which to stream TV, movies, and music.

Will it happen? As if with all these fantasy mergers, probably not. But not letting little things like company valuations, international ownership issues, and ego clashes get in the way, it looks like a great match.