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SXSW (At Home): 'Insert Coin' Review

Gaming

SXSW (At Home): ‘Insert Coin’ Review

‘Insert Coin’ looks at the last great decade in arcade video gaming.

Video games are a bigger part of today’s world than they ever have been. A person does not have to ask too many people before finding someone who considers themselves a “gamer”. This did not happen overnight, as video gaming has been an important part of society since the 1970s. Insert Coin is an informative documentary that discusses the peak of one of the main video game companies of the 1990s.

Midway was one of the most respected companies in the gaming industry. The company was home of some of the most iconic games in history. Games such as Mortal Kombat, NBA Jam, and NARC were all released by the well known company. Insert Coin is the story of how Midway led a video game revolution at their height.

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Insert Coin is filled with great interviews. They are of the normal talking head variety, but Director Joshua Tsui makes sure to get the most important names. From creators at the front line like John Tobias to director of the first Mortal Kombat movie to Paul W.S. Anderson director of the first Mortal Kombat movie, the documentary is filled with insight. This includes high powered fans like author Ernest Cline. (Notable is the absence of Ed Boon, however.)

The film does a great job of sticking to a strong theme. At their core, arcade games were all about making money. The people interviewed are obviously proud of what they made, but every conversation goes back to profit. This prevents Insert Coin from being just another video game doc. This is very important since the film tries to pack so much in.


The music was done by Norweigian musician Savant. The soundtrack is an exciting mix that will harken back to 90’s arcade classics. It is a great way to use entirely new tunes and still make the audience feel nostalgic. Most video game documentaries are content to use simple beeps and boops. Savant’s music is original while still instilling nostalgia.

Insert Coin is a fun look back at a pivotal time in video games. During the 1990s Midway made some of the most memorable games of all time. The company used innovative techniques and risk taking to earn more quarters than they could have ever imagined. The documentary will have trouble appealing to non gamers, but the Journey game alone makes it worth the watch.

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