Jeff Ryan’s Book, “How Nintendo Conquered America” is a fantastic look into how the business end of the game industry took place in the 80’s and 90’s. From it’s very humble beginnings as a struggling company trying its hand at several different markets including, trading cards, rice makers, and even love hotels. From the Nintendo Famicom, to arcade machines and beyond. Nintendo’s journey is quite an incredible one.

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Super Mario

As a longtime fan of video games, it is fascinating for me to look a little deeper into the decisions that went into creating characters like Mario, (Sega’s) Sonic, and Donkey Kong. After the crash of the game’s industry in the early 80’s, Nintendo stepped in to pick up the pieces in a fantastic row of successful business decisions. America could not get enough of Mario, and thank goodness for that. If Nintendo had not stepped in, it is pretty sage to say that the game industry would not be what it is today. It seems that those two critical decades were absolutely wonderful for Nintendo. Back then it seemed as if everything they touched turned to gold. After being stuck with hundreds of unsold units of arcade machines for a game called Radar Scope, Miyamoto and Arakawa made incredibly business savvy decisions to turn a potentially bad situation into something profitable, while also making the beginnings of what would be the most memorable characters in video game history, Jumpman (Mario) and Donkey Kong. From there they expanded those characters into legends. Mario was put in several titles after that, and it sold successfully every time. Even after being in competition with a formidable opponent like Sonic, Sega, and the Sega Genesis. Nintendo did not back down. We all eventually know how that story ended, Sega went belly up, and now Sonic is featured in Nintendo’s titles.


Shigeru Miyamoto

There are many valuable lessons to be learned from the journey of Nintendo as a company. After first they starting as a trading card company, they went on to manufacture rice makers, and even love hotels, before eventually settling on video game arcade machines. Every company can try the shoe on and see if it fits, before settling on the thing that could make them the next Nintendo.


Jeff Ryan’s writing style was perfect for this book. It gives you a great look on the business side of the game industry without being too dull. While reading his book I felt engaged with every chapter, and it never left me as the reader behind. I highly recommend picking up this book, if you are interested in marketing, or even just a general game enthusiast.

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