• Service Games

  • The Rise and Fall of SEGA: Enhanced Edition
  • By: Sam Pettus
  • Narrated by: Tom Racine
  • Length: 17 hrs and 13 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History, Americas
  • 4.3 out of 5 stars (201 ratings)
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Publisher's Summary

Starting with its humble beginnings in the 1950s and ending with its swan-song, the Dreamcast, in the early 2000s, this is the complete history of Sega as a console maker. Before home computers and video game consoles, before the Internet and social networking, and before motion controls and smartphones, there was Sega. Destined to fade into obscurity over time, Sega would help revolutionize and change video games, computers and how we interact with them, and the Internet as we know it. Riding the cutting edge of technology at every step, only to rise too close to the sun and plummet, Sega would eventually change the face of entertainment, but it's the story of how it got there that's all the fun. So take a ride, experience history, and enjoy learning about one of the greatest and most influential companies of all time. Complete with system specifications, feature and marketing descriptions, unusual factoids, and now enhanced Europe-specific details, exclusive interviews, and more make this the definitive history of Sega available. Listen and learn about the company that holds a special place in every gamer's heart. Funded on Kickstarter.

©2013 Sam Pettus (P)2014 Sam Pettus

What listeners say about Service Games

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

The Story of the Fall of Sega

Let me preface everything I'm about to say with a quick tl;dr: If you are a Sega fan and are looking for an interesting history of just how Sega fell so quickly look no further.

Now that that's out of the way let me expand on that thought. This book is an interesting listen, but not an engrossing one. All the time I was listening I couldn't help but compare it to "Console Wars" by Blake Freeman, and often times I felt like this book came up lacking, but then I thought on it for a moment and I came to the real heart of the issue. Console Wars entertains first and informs second while Service Games does just the opposite. If you want a story that dramatizes the rise of Sega by elevating the team responsible to the height of heroes of the industry and does so expertly this is not the book for you, Console Wars is. This book reads like an essay written for a college level business class not a novel.

That last sentence there really describes all of the problems I found with the book perfectly. While I was consistently presented with new factoids about Sega's fall I was rarely entertained by them. The best example of this comes with the amount of time spent discussing the CPUs of all of the consoles. Not a single evolution in the technology is even remotely glossed over, which while very interesting at an academic level, left me thinking get on with it more often than not.

This only leaves one real complaint unsaid: the focus given on Sega's fall versus its rise. The title may lead you to believe this is the complete history of that company we all love and hate, but really it isn't. The first few decades of Sega's history are so sparsely covered when compared to how much time is given to its mistakes it isn't even funny. I know for many the failings of Sega are more interesting than its beginnings but I was left wanting.

Summary time for the time strapped: This book tells the story of Sega's fall in a dry yet interesting matter that glosses over two of the most engrossing aspects of the company: its humble beginnings and the very human story behind the scenes.

12 people found this helpful

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Pure Greatness

Wow very detailed in the complete history of Sega from beginning to now. It sucks to hear how Sega of Japan killed this company from creating hardware with all thier. stupid desicions and arrogance. Sega was great and i wish they still made consoles. one of the best Video game books ever

1 person found this helpful

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I didn't even know I cared about Sega!

I didn't grow up playing Sega games. I played the Sonic games in my youth, as well as Toejam and Earl, but at other kids' houses. Still, Sega pervades the video game industry whether you played their games, so I remember Panzer Dragoon and the Dreamcast a bit. This book though—it made me CARE.

1 person found this helpful

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Slow moving

Although this book is deeply researched it lacks entertainment value. I found myself getting restless halfway through. Not a terrible book but "Console Wars" is far better.

2 people found this helpful

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A Journalistic Recounting of Sega's Glory Days

So just to make sure anyone going into this book knows, don't be expecting a entertainment-oriented story like you would get in a book like Console Wars. This is an in-depth, highly detailed account of the history of Sega. It is exhaustive, it is intellectual, and it is exceptionally interesting to hear everything that there is to know about this company's rise and fall during the period of time when it was producing home consoles. As a person who was born a little bit too late to fully appreciate the console wars of the late '80s and into the '90s, but who is still old enough to have had a Sega Genesis as his first console, it's great to have this level of insight into a company that I had so much appreciation for as a kid.

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Informational, but repetitive w/ production issues

Okay, disclaimer: I couldn't stand Console Wars. I found the writing to be a little hammy. I wanted a book that read more like a history than a drama, and this one fit that criteria. But it's not perfect.

This book was written with an obvious bias towards Sega. That's not necessarily bad, because the author has an obvious passion for this work.

This isn't one continuous work. Rather, it's several different articles or books mashed together. Therefore, it's rather disjointed and even quite repetitive at time. Repetition is a huge issue, even within sections. The information in this book is good, however, I would have liked if the author brought it all together as a cohesive manuscript.

Performance-wise, there are some weirdly mispronounced names, but I could get passed that after the initial amusement. The production quality is uneven, however, and sometimes the sound would randomly be louder or more quiet between sections. It doesn't make it impossible to listen to, but it's of a lower production quality than I would have expected from an Audible book.

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Bad Record/Edit

The book is fine, if a little repetitive, but the production quality is way lower than I'm used to. From the constant background hiss to the unedited retakes to the way the narrator never pronounced Ken Kutaragi's name the same way twice, it was not a pleasant audiobook experience. Despite the narrator's pleasant voice, I'd have much rather read it the old fashioned way.

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awesome book!

very informative and well written, you can tell the author really studied segas history. fantastic book!

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A Great Read for Sega Fans!

What made the experience of listening to Service Games the most enjoyable?

I appreciated the detail that this book went into when retelling the events that led to Sega's rise and fall. I've seen reviewers claim it was dry and not as interesting as Console Wars. I haven't read that yet, but I found the details to be welcome and informative.

What other book might you compare Service Games to and why?

Although I have not read it yet, I imagine this book has a lot in common with Console Wars. They do touch on that in this book, but from a Sega lens.

What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

The narrator was clear and added in some nuance to stories when appropriate. I disliked his pronunciation of certain words though. He mispronounced companies like ATLUS and also fluctuated in tone between chapters. Some chapter titles felt like he was practically yelling, while others were spoken at a normal level.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

I'm well aware of the missteps of Sega when it came to the Saturn. But hearing it again in detail still amazes me. I liked the detail they went into and how Sega of Japan was a key factor in what ultimately happened.

Any additional comments?

If you are at all interested in this topic (especially if you were a Sega kid growing up), do yourself a favor, and get this book. Many of the reviews scared me in not getting this sooner. I don't feel that this book is dry at all and I found the level of detail in this book appropriate and attention grabbing. Buy the book and form your own opinion like I did.

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Great. Not excellent.

The information was there, and that was entertaining, but the organization felt haphazard. It repeats itself often. You definitely get a feeling that this was pieced together from articles and authors. There is no cohesion. While it does go from
beginning to middle to end, the specific timeline between each "era" moves back and forth seemingly at random. The performance was grating at first. It sounded like a radio announcer trying to act. It's not the same skill. A lot of times it sounded as if the performer was reading copy for a radio commercial. Then there was his pronunciation of Shenmue. Omg. "Shenmuey." It made me want to skip ahead. The funny this is that before we got to that part, and truthfully in some parts afterwards, I was very impressed with his pronunciation of foreign names and words. The director simply didn't do his job on Shenmue. Someone should have corrected him. Having listened to Console Wars, which is a dramatized version of the history of sega, I'd recommend Console Wars over this one. Still, if you are a voracious consumer of video game history, you will not be disappointed.

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Profile Image for Mendo Shutaro
  • Mendo Shutaro
  • 04-23-15

An interesting story poorly told

I imagine anyone who finds this book will be looking for an in depth history of Sega. That's what the book provides, but it does so with such amateurish writing as to make it a slog to get through. Sentences are often oddly short, and rarely flow together. The writer also lurches wildly between saying how wonderful everything was going to Sega, to how everything was falling apart. This radical change of outlook may be achieved within a few sentences. The narrator tries his best but the writing is so weak that he often struggles.

I'm also unsure as to how accurate it is. I'm well versed with the technicalities of the various Sega consoles, and factual errors abound in this book. If those areas are incorrect, perhaps others may be too.

This book is very different to Console Wars. That book is largely fictionalised and reads more like a soap opera. For all its faults though, at least it feels like it was written by a professional. By contrast, Service Games is clearly the work of an amateur.

6 people found this helpful

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Profile Image for M. G. Desir
  • M. G. Desir
  • 11-20-21

Love SEGA but this isn't their story!

If you're somewhat familiar with SEGA history then this telling of it is jarring. Out of nowhere they introduce the planetary system of consoles barely telling you what the code names are all while talking about the Game Gear and never telling you what the planet name for the console was; (It's Mercury by the way). Also how on earth are we talking about the Game Gear and Sonic before we talk about the Mega Drive/Genesis? The Game Gear came out in 1990 and the Mega Drive/Genesis in 1988. The first Sonic was for the Mega Drive and came out in 1991. Sonic was developed in response to Mario. You'd never get that the way this book portrays events. It's honestly all over the place, seriously frustrating. They even give an odd explaination of the Service Games company origin. It was founded in 1946, why are we starting around the mid 1950's with Rosen who merged with Service Games (aka Nihon Goraku Bussan.) It was Service Games who acquired Rosen's company. It's like we start the book by talking about a completely unrelated company and shoe horn in SEGA after the merger; very confusing writing. While Rosen was key to the company becoming a video game company it didn't start there. Frustrating because I love the subject matter and it's good to have on the in the car. It's such a shame because this seems to be the only book of it's type.

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Profile Image for Ash Pryce
  • Ash Pryce
  • 09-29-21

a really fascinating deep dive into Sega

this was really interesting. It focuses mostly on the 90s golden age of Sega, but also talks about the origins and early days enough that you can get an idea of who sega was. it's genuinely fascinating and worth listening to if you have an interest in retro gaming and that world

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  • Michael taggart
  • 09-13-21

informative

I learned so much about sega I didn't know and would recommend it to anyone wanting to learn more about the companies past

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  • Matthew Elliott
  • 08-20-20

excellent story, excellent company.

The greatest nostalgic journey I could have asked for, great story, great narration. Thank you.

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  • M. Blackmore
  • 02-05-20

Very informative and interesting

Unlike other reviewers I really enjoyed this book. The narration isn’t too bad and it’s packed with interesting facts and history.

Anyone with an interest in technology and video games is sure to enjoy. Finished this in just over a week, found it that compelling!