When I first encounter something that I've not encountered before, if it's sufficiently interesting I will devour any information I can find on that subject. If it sticks, it becomes one of the things that I can rattle off a lot of facts about. Examples of this include Star Wars (I could probably spend a good half hour lecturing about Star Wars), Doctor Who and James Bond. Fictional universes seem to enjoy becoming part of my mind.
One of these passions that has been there since childhood is Nintendo. I can remember the first game I ever played (Donkey Kong Country) and I still play some of the better ones from that time. Add to that the last half of my teenage years spent reading the excellent British magazine NGamer, and you'll see why I consider myself fairly clued up on Nintendo. With that in mind, I didn't expect to learn a whole lot from Jeff Ryan's first book, Super Mario: How Nintendo Conquered America.
My doubts were misplaced. Among the new things I learned was that the Mario theme has lyrics. To quote the book, the first few bars are "Today, full of energy, Mario is running, running/ Go save Princess Peach! Go!" This made my day. I also learned a lot about the history of Nintendo, since that's what the book sets out to do. Something that some people might not be aware of is that Nintendo was around for 90 years before they came to prominence as a video games company, and the book takes you from that time to the present day. It takes you through such periods as the time that Universal sued Nintendo over perceived similarities to King Kong in Donkey Kong and lost, for proving several years earlier that King Kong is in the public domain, to Nintendo's recent domination of the home console market when the Wii came out.