Insert Coin Image

Insert Coin

By Anthony Ray Bench | March 20, 2020

This brings me to the film’s first hiccup. Mortal Kombat was co-created by Ed Boone and John Tobias, and this film has a severe lack of Ed Boone. He only appears in old clips and images, never appearing as an interview subject. I think covering Mortal Kombat without Ed Boone’s input was a severe detriment, seeing as how such a notable chunk of the film is dedicated to that particular brand. 

 The editing is spectacular, but I wasn’t a fan of Insert Coin‘s score. It might not bother others, but I thought the techno was a little obnoxious. Yeah, I get that Mortal Kombat and Midway by proxy are kind of synonymous with techno, but it just didn’t work for me. The documentary’s effective use of video game sound effects was a nice touch and lent it a distinct style.

“The editing is spectacular, but I wasn’t a fan of Insert Coin‘s score.”

A lot of the covered events might be already well known to arcade fans, but there’s enough drama, intrigue, successes, and failures for non-video game fans to be captivated by as well. But again, the film feels rushed as it reaches its climax. I understand that Midway ceased coin-op development years before they finally went out of business, but to merely sum up the company’s ending in text disappointed me. More could and should have been done to cover the company’s decision to go into the home console business, and why their failure in that arena ultimately led to the dissolution of the company. It seems like the beginning two-thirds of the film feel fuller and more detailed while the last act kind of just peters out. 

Insert Coin does a fair job of focusing on a specific point of time in the videogame industry’s history. It’s sparse on detail at times, but that might serve those who are more unfamiliar with what was going on back in those days. Any fan who has researched the subjects covered in the film might not learn anything new or insightful. However, it’s still a fun look back on a bygone period that helped redefine video games as we know them. If you love video games, throw this on and prepare to relive a truly golden era.

Insert Coin (2020)

Directed and Written: Joshua Tsui

Starring: John Tobias, George Petro, Mark Turmell, Ernest Cline, Eugene Jarvis, Jack Haeger, Ken Fedesna, etc.

Movie score: 7/10

Insert Coin Image

"…a fun look back on a bygone period that helped redefine video games as we know them."

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