Documentary Shines a Spotlight on Midway Games, the Influential Studio that Changed the Course of an Entire Industry
Today, Cargo Film & Releasing — a global film sales and distribution agency — is inviting fans of gaming history to “get over here” and check out Insert Coin, a documentary that offers viewers a peek into the history of legendary development studio Midway Games. Available today via Alamo Drafthouse’s Alamo On Demand Digital Release, Insert Coin takes viewers back to the early days of the groundbreaking studio, famous for legendary titles like Mortal Kombat, NBA Jam, and Narc.
Director Joshua Tsui has crafted Insert Coin as a love letter, time machine, and insider’s look at a studio that created pop culture giants that would fundamentally change how we played video games. The early 90s were like the Wild West era of the gaming industry, and no studio represented that ethos more than Midway Games with its wildly controversial (and hugely successful) titles like Mortal Kombat, a game that thrilled players and shocked parental advisory groups across the globe with its over the top violence and colorful cast.
Tsui was there when it all went down, having worked on the Mortal Kombat franchise and even lent his face to Liu Kang in Mortal Kombat IV. Insert Coin features interviews with past Midway team members, including Eugene Jarvis (Defender and Robotron: 2084), Mark Turmell (SmashTV, NBA Jam, NFL Blitz), John Tobias (co-creator Mortal Kombat series), George Petro (NARC, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Revolution X), and others. Also prominently featured are industry insiders Carly Kucerek (Coin-Operated Americans) and novelist and screenwriter Ernest Cline (Ready Player One, Armada).
“We’re incredibly proud of this film and it was a pleasure working with Joshua Tsui and his team,” said David Piperni, Founder of Cargo Film & Releasing. “As we kick off the latest console generation, we hope Insert Coin serves as a fun and informative ride that takes players back the era when gaming exploded as a mainstream pop-culture phenomenon.”
“Putting together Insert Coin was a wonderful trip down memory lane, but it’s also so much more than that,” said Joshua Tsui, Insert Coin’s director. “This film documents a true paradigm shift in gaming, and Midway Games was instrumental in bringing fun, competitive titles from the arcade to the living room. I’m beyond excited to share this journey with our viewers, and hope they have as much fun watching it as we did making it.”
It’s hard to overstate the impact Midway Games had upon the gaming industry and the entertainment industry as a whole. Mortal Kombat went from a controversial arcade game to an iconic IP that spawned numerous sequels, theatrical films, comic books, action figures, and cartoon series. NBA JAM, Rampage, and SmashTV brought co-op and multiplayer to living rooms worldwide, allowing players to experience the thrill of the arcade in the comfort of their own homes. Insert Coin explores the rise and fall of the epochal studio, featuring interviews with team members and industry icons, footage and insider stories from the early days of the company, and how it went from dominating the industry to becoming the stuff of legend.