Console Wars is John Grisham for nerds. Predominantly coming over as a “good guy vs the big bad corporation” story, and filled with industry insider detail it’s a surprisingly easy read.
The Sega / Nintendo generation was one I was part of chronologically, but not actually involved in. We had an Atari VCS which led the charge in home consoles before (partly down to wonders such as the E.T. game) crashing spectacularly and taking the whole concept of the “home arcade” with it. By that time, we’d moved onto computers (a Sinclair ZX-81 followed by an Amstrad, then Amiga and onto PCs), which was more common in the UK as opposed to the console-friendly US where Nintendo went on to corner the market.
Until Sega came along.
Console Wars is that story. The battle for market dominance between Mario and Sonic, bracketed by the demise of Atari and the rise of Sony. There are tons of little facts and background stories in here without it coming across as a book of nerd trivia. It’s about the story and the characters first and foremost.
At 558 pages it’s no lightweight, but it’s also not a coffee table book. This is written to be read, not just glanced through occasionally.
If you’re looking for a gift for the geek in your life that’ll get them off the internet for a while yet still keep them quiet, this will almost certainly go down well.