Console Wars Documentary

The book Console Wars: Sega, Nintendo and the Battle that Defined a Generation by Blake J. Harris chronicles the rivalry between the two video game companies that squared off for console supremacy in the home in the 1990s. The seminal period in video game history is already slated to become a limited series at CBS All Access, but now the streaming service is also going to turn the book into a feature documentary with Legendary Television Studios.

Deadline has word on CBS All Access turning Console Wars into a feature documentary with Oscar-winning documentary producer Doug Blush (Icarus, The Hunting Ground). Blake J. Harris will be directing the documentary with Jonah Tulis, and Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg (who were once going to write and direct a feature film adaptation of the book) will be executive producing through their Point Grey Productions banner along with Scott Rudin Productions.

(This is the point in the article where we disclose and acknowledge that Blake Harris is an occasional contributor to /Film.)

If this is your first time hearing about Console Wars, here’s the official synopsis of the book:

In 1990, Nintendo had a virtual monopoly on the video game industry. Sega, on the other hand, was just a faltering arcade company with big aspirations and even bigger personalities. But that would all change with the arrival of Tom Kalinske, a man who knew nothing about videogames and everything about fighting uphill battles. His unconventional tactics, combined with the blood, sweat and bold ideas of his renegade employees, transformed Sega and eventually led to a ruthless David-and-Goliath showdown with rival Nintendo.

The battle was vicious, relentless, and highly profitable, eventually sparking a global corporate war that would be fought on several fronts: from living rooms and schoolyards to boardrooms and Congress. It was a once-in-a-lifetime, no-holds-barred conflict that pitted brother against brother, kid against adult, Sonic against Mario, and the US against Japan.

Based on over two hundred interviews with former Sega and Nintendo employees, Console Wars is the underdog tale of how Kalinske miraculously turned an industry punchline into a market leader. It’s the story of how a humble family man, with an extraordinary imagination and a gift for turning problems into competitive advantages, inspired a team of underdogs to slay a giant and, as a result, birth a $60 billion dollar industry.

This will mark the first step into documentary territory for CBS All Access, and it’s easily the most interesting project out of their initial foray into the non-fiction arena. The other projects CBS All Access is lining up sound like reality show gimmicks, including some kind of series with celebrity medium Thomas John (or Thomas Flanagan), a former Chicago drag queen who says he is a psychic medium with paranormal abilities who has previously starred in Lifetime’s Seatbelt Psychic. Yikes.

At this point we’re surprised there hasn’t been an animated series pitched after all the iterations this book has gone through. After all these years, we’re just looking forward to any adaptation of Console Wars.

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