Service Games: The Rise and Fall of Sega (book)

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scotland171
Posts: 816
Joined: December 31st, 1969, 7:00 pm

Service Games: The Rise and Fall of Sega (book)

Postby scotland171 » March 13th, 2015, 1:48 pm

Actually "Now Reading" is more like it. 

This book came out in late 2013.  Anyone read it yet? 

President and founder David Rosen had taken to the formula of 'superior technology plus great gameplay' as his recipe for success as he progressed from photomats to pinball and other coin op entertainment.  I am only around 1970 right now, with the newly public company is finding success with the electromechanical Periscope game.  At this early stage, Sega is already innovative and leaping from product to product.   FYI - the author credits Higginbotham, of Tennis for Two in 1958, as the inventor of video games.

No spoilers now...I wonder how this 'Sega' story is going to end.  A happy ending I'm sure.

Sut1
Posts: 789
Joined: December 31st, 1969, 7:00 pm

Service Games: The Rise and Fall of Sega (book)

Postby Sut1 » March 13th, 2015, 4:10 pm

I would be interested in your final verdict on this book Scotland. I've been considering getting this and 'Console Wars' for some time. Would like to hear your opinion on said book.

By the way are you reading on ebook or traditional ? I'm more of an e-book guy these days (comes in handy when dragged shopping by the wife and daughters whilst I'm sat outside fitting rooms for hours on end).

scotland171
Posts: 816
Joined: December 31st, 1969, 7:00 pm

Service Games: The Rise and Fall of Sega (book)

Postby scotland171 » March 13th, 2015, 5:34 pm

In this case its an ebook on a basic kindle, my friend. I am a devoted bibliophile, with the crowded book shelves as exhibit A, but I have to say a dedicated ebook reader is a nice complement. It is both convenient and encourages reading without distractions. Bought a copy of a video game magazine called Pixelated but could not read it on a kindle. Definately has its limits.

Of course,books have the same digital vs physical debate we have here on video games. Maybe its like that Mambo #5 song, where a little bit of different things is the way to go.

Have not read console wars yet. I will put it on my wishlist.

Vexer1
Posts: 883
Joined: December 31st, 1969, 7:00 pm

Service Games: The Rise and Fall of Sega (book)

Postby Vexer1 » March 15th, 2015, 3:30 am

I'm more into e-books myself, I find it tedious thumbing through physical pages and it's a pain in the ass when I accidentally tear them, so it's far more preferable for me to use Kindle, even if the E-book costs 10 dollars more then a physical copy i'll still take the digital version over a physical one.

Magazines however are definitely better physical, comparing the digital and physical versions of Game Informer, the physical version easily wins out.


Oltobaz1
Posts: 1605
Joined: December 31st, 1969, 7:00 pm

Service Games: The Rise and Fall of Sega (book)

Postby Oltobaz1 » March 15th, 2015, 3:45 am

E-books are fine I guess, but I spend so much time looking at all kinds of screens, I'd rather
read physical books. And same goes for comics, mangas, etc...

Vexer1
Posts: 883
Joined: December 31st, 1969, 7:00 pm

Service Games: The Rise and Fall of Sega (book)

Postby Vexer1 » March 16th, 2015, 7:21 pm

I don't mind looking at screens, I vastly prefer to that to squinting my eyes to read lines on paper(some authors have a bad habit of writing way too small print that requires me to look really close to be able to read it).  I don't mind reading comics so much, but I recently discovered a great program that lets you read comics on my computer, comes in handy for being able to read out-of-print comics that have gotten rather pricey to acquire physical copies of.

scotland171
Posts: 816
Joined: December 31st, 1969, 7:00 pm

Service Games: The Rise and Fall of Sega (book)

Postby scotland171 » March 20th, 2015, 6:29 pm

Here is my review up so far.  

Remember reading Steve Kent's Ultimate History of Video Games.  How its got quotations and references and footnotes and you can speak about as a reference text?   This is not like that.

Its much more like a conversation with a friend.  Your friend goes back and forth, offering opinions as fact, sometimes misspeaking or getting information wrong, overly focusing on recent events, being contradictory sometimes in the same breath.  Its like this forum, right?  That's fine, we're people...but a book is held to a bit higher standard.

By the time the Dreamcast failed, Sega was about a 50 year old company.   Well, the first 30 years of that history is dispatched in about 20 pages.  The first consoles, the SG-1000 and the Master System take up about another 20 pages.   The Genesis gets a nice story, but it concludes, then begins a discussion on the Sega CD.  That concludes, and then begins the tale of the 32x.  Yet all three of those are co-existent, as the latter two are attachments to the former.  It has you trying to reconstruct a timeline, and reconcile all the opinions about Sega at one point in time from all the different sections.  Add to that that while the book focuses on the US, Europe gets some attention but usually afterward.   (And saying England got a blitz of Sega advertising is not the best choice of words).  Some information is just wrong (Exidy's Death Race is mentioned as an example of video game violence in the 1980s) and a lot of opinion is just cited, with no sources - I suspect because there are none.  For instance, that the typical American consumer considered every video game system in the late 1980s a Nintendo.  Maybe its true, but maybe its just a personal recollection.  Speaking of personal, personal memories are injected.   Some things are just common sentiments, but not backed up such as "Turning the Master System’s US fate over to Tonka proved a fatal mistake from which Sega never really recovered" - actually Sega recovered, and if the author meant the Master System's market share never recovered, it never had the market share to lose.  Also, Mattel was a toy company that marketed its first video game console just fine, so why is Tonka thought to have been a bad idea except in retrospect.  They had just as much experience as Mattel did, and they had Mattel as a guide - they just did not learn anything from Mattel.  Speaking of that, Kalinske is mentioned as being at Mattel for the Intellivision - but that's it.  What did he learn, or how did it affect his philosophy at Sega?   Opinions are contradicted in the same paragraph, such as saying a cartridge adapter to the Saturn would have been  an expensive and unnecessary oddity for a CD-ROM based console, but in retrospect may have been a good idea - so which is it, the oddity or a good idea, or what about the CD ROM based Sega CD games? He asserts that backwards compatibility is important (no source statement) but never explores what this meant in a decade where that was highly unusual to have if it was so important to have.  I could go on.

I still have a lot of book left to read, but so far, that's my opinion. 


Oltobaz1
Posts: 1605
Joined: December 31st, 1969, 7:00 pm

Service Games: The Rise and Fall of Sega (book)

Postby Oltobaz1 » March 22nd, 2015, 6:16 pm

[QUOTE=Vexer]I don't mind looking at screens, I vastly prefer to that to squinting my eyes to read lines on paper(some authors have a bad habit of writing way too small print that requires me to look really close to be able to read it).  I don't mind reading comics so much, but I recently discovered a great program that lets you read comics on my computer, comes in handy for being able to read out-of-print comics that have gotten rather pricey to acquire physical copies of.[/QUOTE]

Squinting your eyes? Never had to do that... Maybe your eyes have mutated due to excessive
screen exposure? In other words, a generationnal thing.

Vexer1
Posts: 883
Joined: December 31st, 1969, 7:00 pm

Service Games: The Rise and Fall of Sega (book)

Postby Vexer1 » March 22nd, 2015, 9:28 pm

Oltobaz- Nope, nothing like that, there were just certain books I read that had such small print that they were hard to read without staring really close at the pages which caused a lot of squinting, after that I kind of got tired of reading physical copies of books, so I found it far easier to get them on Kindle.

Sut
Posts: 570
Joined: April 8th, 2015, 4:23 pm

Re: Service Games: The Rise and Fall of Sega (book)

Postby Sut » May 6th, 2015, 9:22 am

After reading Console Wars I've moved on to this book.

Scotland you are absolutely spot on when citing inaccuracies. I'm not far into the book but already regarding the SG-1000 it calls it a 4-bit machine (it's 8-bit) and the SG-1000 II was meant as an home computer with it's optional keyboard and the Mark I as the games console.
Again this is wide of the mark the SC-3000 is the home computer version. The SG-1000 Mark II is a console first, it can be expanded to a home computer with the optional keyboard essentially making it an SC-3000.

As Scotland states you do expect more accuracy from print books.


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