There are certain rivalries that never die, no matter how much time has passed, no matter what has happened in the world. Coke vs. Pepsi. Rocky Balboa vs. Ivan Drago. The Harlem Globetrotters vs. The Washington Generals. And then there’s the battle that raged on in the early 1990s, still lasting until this day, between the people who loved their SEGA gaming systems, and the people sitting firmly in camp Nintendo.
Best bros and collaborators Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg have recognized the significance of this era of gaming and are taking Console Wars to the big screen, a film that chronicles the deep, dark war between the established company with beloved franchises (Nintendo) and the scrappy arcade folks with big dreams and creative characters — SEGA, who re-entered the scene with the SEGA Mega Drive.
Based on the book of the same name by Blake J. Harris, Console Wars starts off in 1990 with the arrival of new SEGA leader Tom Kalinske, the man who would transform the company from the underdog into the heavy hitting contender responsible for putting Sonic into our lives. It’s being touted as a no holds barred, David and Goliath-style battle that tore families apart. Did you ask for Super Mario for Christmas? Well, tough luck, Timmy — Mom bought this wacky hedgehog game for the family instead because it’s the hip new craze. Sorry that every arcade is now embroiled in a gang war, guys.
The book is also heavy on the praise for Kalinske, Sega’s savior, and makes it clear that if we’re going off Biblical figures, if the rivalry between Nintendo and Sega can be compared to David and Goliath, then the selfless man who gave everything to make Sega something is the gaming industry’s Jesus. A “humble family man with a gift for turning problems into competitive advantages,” Kalinske used his business savvy and creative ideas to get the ball rolling.
What will be interesting is seeing how Goldberg and Rogen interpret both the overall Nintendo and Sega story and Kalinske taking over at the same time. Big time producer Scott Rudin (Moneyball, The Social Network) is attached to the project, which adds another layer of intrigue to the whole affair; while the writing and directing duo are known mostly for their comedies, the participation of Rudin and his previous involvement in darker, serious fare about pivotal cultural moments could indicate the direction they’re taking for this film. A Social Network-esque film about the wheelings and dealings of SEGA and Nintendo would be pretty damn cool. Then again, A Rogen-Goldberg normal with oh, I don’t know, James Franco as Kalinske wouldn’t be too bad either.