Insert Quarterly: The Best Game Writing of Winter 2015


Maybe it was the blanket of snow that covered the world over the last three months, but Insert Quarter took it slow in Winter 2015. But that doesn’t mean our showcase of the best and most interesting writing about video games on the Internet came to a complete standstill. Have you ever wondered why Sony chose X-Circle-Square-Triangle for the face buttons on the PlayStation controller? Or maybe you’re worried that Batman: Arkham Knight killed the Teen rating?

The answers to those questions (and a few others) can be found in this edition of Insert Quarterly, which catalogs our favorite game writing from the last three months.

Why Is the PS4 Selling So Well?
January 7, 2015 | Originally Published by Forbes

Sony recently announced that they’ve sold more 18.5 million PlayStation 4 consoles since the system debuted more than a year ago. It’s an astonishing number, and well ahead of the Wii U (almost eight million, per Nintendo) and Xbox One (around nine million is our guess). But exactly why is the PS4 selling so well? Paul Tassi of Forbes attempted to get to the bottom of it, but the answer may be, “Who knows?”:

The picture is clear, and it’s not even close. Fanboy camps aside, Sony is absolutely crushing its competition this console generation in terms of sales, and its strong start didn’t just last through the release window, as it’s now over a year since launch. The PS4 is approaching a quarter of the total sales of the PS3 in just the first year, dramatically outpacing the last-generation console’s launch. It hasn’t quite reached Wii levels of sales insanity, but that was a console sold to everyone from toddlers to grandparents, and the PS4 has no such “fad appeal” to non-gamers.

An Incredibly Detailed Look at the Invention of the Game Cartridge
January 26, 2015 | Originally Published by Fast Company

Have you ever wondered exactly how the game cartridge came to be invented? Benj Edwards, a freelancer for Fast Company, has produced what is quite possibly the most in-depth exploration of the creation of the technology you could ask for. It starts with the revelation that American Machine and Foundry (or AMF, one of the largest manufacturers of bowling alley equipment in the country) had a hand in creating the game cartridge and it just gets crazier from there:

Consider the humble video game cartridge. It’s a small, durable plastic box that imparts the most immediate, user-friendly software experience ever created. Just plug it in, and you’re playing a game in seconds.

If you’ve ever used one, you have two men to thank: Wallace Kirschner and Lawrence Haskel, who invented the game cartridge 40 years ago while working at an obscure company and rebounding from a business failure. Once the pair’s programmable system had been streamlined and turned into a commercial product—the Channel F console—by a team at pioneering electronics company Fairchild, it changed the fundamental business model of home video games forever. By injecting flexibility into a new technology, it paved the way for massive industry growth and the birth of a new creative medium.

Remembering the Wacky Games Released in a Console’s Twilight
January 28, 2015 | Originally Published by The A.V. Club

In light of the pending release of Yakuza 5, The A.V. Club’s Anthony John Agnello took a look back at some of these titles and reminisced about such strange offerings as Mega Man & Bass for the Super NES, Under Defeat for the Dreamcast, and Persona 4 for the PS2. Because even though those shiny new consoles look like fun, the party you’re currently at can get very interesting at the end:

Fashionably late: The same rules for when to arrive and leave a party hold true for video game consoles as well. Never show up too early. Is it exciting to get there before everyone else, maybe wait in line for a midnight release, sharing some weird, high-end booze you brought? Sure, but you’ll just end up buzzed before everyone else and playing lame games like Knack. It’s far more important to leave late, though. You never want to leave before things get weird. Parties and game consoles don’t necessarily peak when the guests do.

Why Bethesda’s E3 Showcase Means More Than a Fallout 4 Announcement
February 13, 2015 | Originally Published by VG247

Bethesda will present a Press Conference during this year’s E3 Expo for the first time in the company’s history. This is a momentous occasion for many reasons, but first and foremost, because Bethesda will surely use the event to announce Fallout 4. But Bethesda’s E3 Press Conference is also much bigger than that… and not just because it’ll probably also include more substantive reveals of Doom 4, BattleCry, and possibly even Dishonored 2. Bethesda’s E3 Press Conference also signals the publisher’s entry into the upper echelon of third-party publishers.

VG247’s Matt Martin recently delved into exactly what this means for Bethesda and the wider gaming industry:

Elder Scrolls publisher Bethesda announced it would be hosting its own event at E3 this year. For a brief second everyone paused… and then immediately lost their minds over a Fallout 4 announcement.

While that’s likely, there’s a lot more to Bethesda going big at E3 than a new take on 50s sci-fi. It’s worth looking at what this says about the publisher, the two main consoles and E3 itself, as much as the games we can expect to be on show.

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John Scalzo is Warp Zoned’s Editor-In-Chief and resident retro gaming expert. You can follow him on Twitter or email him at john AT warpzoned DOT com.

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