Most Recent: PS2

Insert Quarter: The Rise and Fall of THQ’s Empire

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Insert Quarter is our showcase for some of the best and most interesting writing about video games on the Internet.

Gamers often didn’t know what to make of THQ. The publisher built its empire on the backs of tie-in games based on Nickelodeon and Pixar properties such as SpongeBob SquarePants and The Incredibles. But they also produced intriguing original games such as Saints Row: The Third and Darksiders. They were even the initial driving force behind Evolve, one of 2015’s most anticipated games. But that all changed when the company went bankrupt early last year.

So what happened? Tracey Lien, writing for Polygon, set out to discover the answer by talking to as many former THQ employees as she could including the charismatic (but possibly crazy) Danny Bilson. Her portrait of a publisher in free fall makes you wonder, could anything have been done?

Many blame the company’s fall on the licensed games well drying up. Some pin it on the commercial failure of the company’s uDraw tablet for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Others point to poor management and too many risky bets.

“There isn’t any one, isolated event that killed the company,” says a former THQ executive who asked to not be named. “This was one of the most successful video game businesses in America. We were a billion dollar company. It was complicated.”

THQ suffered a “death by a million spider bites,” the executive says.

The full article is available for your perusal at Polygon.

Posted in 3DS, DS, Insert Quarter, Mobile, PC, PS2, PS3, PSP, Wii, Wii U, Xbox 360 | Tagged , ,

Insert Quarter: Unreleased Games and the People Who Trade Them

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Insert Quarter is our showcase for some of the best and most interesting writing about video games on the Internet.

Unreleased games will always be of interest to gamers. Who among us wouldn’t be interested in Nintendo’s 64DD version of Mother 3 or Free Radical’s late, lamented Star Wars: Battlefront 3. But these games have managed to live on thanks to a shadowy network of collectors and archivists who trade and preserve the neglected pieces of gaming history. Kotaku UK’s Leon Hurley sought out some of these amateur historians to get the complete story on the trading of unreleased games:

You’ve probably seen videos of unannounced or cancelled games. Not necessarily the older retro stuff, but more recent things like Star Wars Battlefront 3 or Stranglehold 2. Did you know there’s a keen, and occasionally zealous, culture of collectors and traders passing these things around?

[…]

There are many levels to all this. Some simply collect and play the games, others code and and hack, extracting fresh info from old files or reinstating missing features. There’s even a community quite happily extracting and modding Halo maps. For others it’s about preserving the often transient world of video game history.

The full article is available at Kotaku UK.

Posted in 3DS, DS, Insert Quarter, Mobile, PC, PS2, PS3, PS4, PSP, Vita, Wii, Wii U, Xbox 360, Xbox One |

Insert Quarter: Remembering the Best Instruction Booklets Ever

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Insert Quarter is our showcase for some of the best and most interesting writing about video games on the Internet.

Creating a beautiful and engaging instruction booklet has become a lost art in today’s go-go world of downloadable games and extensive in-game tutorials. Some, like Yacht Club Games and their awesome booklet for Shovel Knight, are attempting to keep the practice alive. But it seems like a foregone conclusion that the instruction booklet will have breathed its last in the not-too-distant future.

Thankfully, Jason Dafnis of Game Informer took some time out of his day to honor ten of his favorite instruction booklets, manuals, and strategy guides:

Let me spin you a yarn. Times were, you’d open that brand-new cardboard (or plastic) box and there, nestled right next to your cartridge (or disc), would be a booklet. Yes, a booklet – paper pages stapled together that told you how to play the game (and sometimes more). Remember those?

Now the left (or right) side of your game case sits bare or thinly veiled with tie-in ads or DLC codes. Those clippies that once held your booklet are all but obsolete. Booklets might not be completely extinct, but they are on the way out. Here are ten of our favorites in no particular order.

The full article is available at Game Informer.

Posted in 3DS, DS, Insert Quarter, PC, PS2, PS3, PS4, PSP, Vita, Wii, Wii U, Xbox 360, Xbox One |



Insert Quarter: Video Game Titles Have Gotten Ridiculous

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Insert Quarter is our showcase for some of the best and most interesting writing about video games on the Internet.

Video game titles have gotten ridiculous. I think I really noticed it earlier this year when Crystal Dynamics and Square Enix decided use Rise of the Tomb Raider as the title of the next game in the series. I’d gotten my fill of the word “rise” (and its variants) after being subjected to The Dark Knight Rises, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, Hannibal Rising, and many others at the movie theater. Especially because very few of the people or groups who are supposed to rise in those movies actually do!

Destructoid’s Steven Hansen shares my pain and has put together his own list of words that need to be stricken from game titles. Unsurprisingly, it all loops back to Call of Duty:

Lords of the Fallen and Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare just came out and they should be laughed out the damn building for their horrible, generic videogames names.

I originally typed “Armored Warfare” and was confused when Google failed to bring up results for our “Call of Duty: Armored Warfare” review. Then I realized it was “Advanced Warfare” after remembering I kept getting it confused with Advance Wars originally.

DO YOU SEE THE PROBLEM?

You can read the rest of the article at Destructoid.

Posted in 3DS, DS, Insert Quarter, Mobile, PC, PS2, PS3, PS4, PSP, Vita, Wii, Wii U, Xbox 360, Xbox One | Tagged

Insert Quarter: A History of (Video Game) Violence

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Insert Quarter is our showcase for some of the best and most interesting writing about video games on the Internet.

The video game industry’s fiercest critics will always say that games have never been more violent and that it is doing horrible damage to our children. But the game industry’s fiercest critics have always been saying that. In fact, many of them were children themselves when the first round of panic gripped parents during Death Race‘s 1976 heyday.

Vice’s Mike Diver examines this legacy of violence, citing everything from the obvious (Mortal Kombat and Carmageddon) to the obscure (Barbarian: The Ultimate Warrior and Battle Chess). I never thought of Battle Chess as particularly gruesome, but your primer on pixelated gore awaits:

If you came to games fresh during the previous console generation, where once-grainy graphics made the switch to full HD, you don’t know how easy you’ve had it. There was a time, long before the gushes of crimson coloring contemporary offerings of extreme violence–Gears and God of War, Dead Rising, and the more recent Resident Evils, Max Payne 3, the Dead Space series, Bulletstorm, and BioShock (to name but a few)–where you had to lean on your imagination to bring scenes of disgusting dismemberment to life.

You can read the rest of the article at Vice.

Posted in Insert Quarter, PC, PS2, PS3, Wii, Xbox 360 |

Insert Quarter: A Profile of the Video Game Archivists at the Library of Congress

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Insert Quarter is our showcase for some of the best and most interesting writing about video games on the Internet.

With more than 6,000 titles, the Library of Congress is home to one of the largest video game archives in the world. But the curation and management of the collection is in the hands of just four part-time employees. BuzzFeed’s Joseph Bernstein reached out to these four men to learn how the Library of Congress is attempting to preserve America’s gaming heritage and how much more still needs to be done:

No, the work of game copyrighting and archiving at our country’s signal institution for cultural preservation is not done by a dedicated full-time staff. Instead, it’s the passion project of a handful of archivists who want to be the new standard-bearers in the preservation of video games. Indeed, the state of video game collection at the Library is something of an expression of the liminal state of video games in American popular culture writ large. The Library recognizes the cultural importance of video games, but only devotes four people part-time to their archiving; Game companies insist that their products are the medium of the future, but don’t trust archives with their source code; Collectors sell their troves on Craigslist and eBay rather than considering donation.

Even to get to this point, though, has been a journey in and of itself.

You can read the rest of the article at BuzzFeed.

Posted in 3DS, DS, Insert Quarter, Mobile, PC, PS2, PS3, PS4, PSP, Vita, Wii, Wii U, Xbox 360, Xbox One |



Insert Quarter: The History of Music Games

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Insert Quarter is our showcase for some of the best and most interesting writing about video games on the Internet.

Almost 50 years ago, Paul and Art Garfunkel asked, “Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio?” in their hit song, “Mrs. Robinson.” DiMaggio would later tell Simon that he hadn’t gone anywhere, even though his playing days were long behind him. Likewise, today’s gamers have probably asked themselves, what happened to all the music games? The conventional wisdom says that they just don’t sell anymore, but who can turn down an invitation to rock out with your plastic guitar out?

IGN’s Chris Reed dug in to the history of the music from its humble roots (1996’s PaRappa the Rapper) all the way through the Guitar Here/Rock Band rivalry and into the future of the genre:

Music/rhythm games have run a surprisingly dynamic path through gaming history. Some genres drift into popularity and gradually fade out as technology and popular taste change. You might not even realize it’s happened until one day you look around and wonder, for instance, where all the 3D platformers went. Music games, on the other hand, moseyed along under the radar for the better part of a decade before taking off like a shot, attaining meteoric success before drying up nearly all at once.

You can read the rest of the article at IGN.

Posted in DS, Insert Quarter, PC, PS2, PS3, Wii, Xbox 360, Xbox One |

PlayStation Now open beta is available… Now

Sony has officially launched the PlayStation Now open beta, so if you’re interested in streaming PS3 games to your PS4 via a very expensive rental system, now is the time.

PlayStation Now currently offers over 100 PS3 games to rent through the PS4 interface. In the weeks ahead, the app’s availability will expand to include the PS3, Vita, PlayStation TV, and select Sony Bravia televisions released this year. According to the PlayStation Blog, the consolemaker eventually plans to offer PS1, PS2, and PS4 games through the streaming rental service as well.

But how does it all work? Sony has said that games will be available for rental periods of four hours, seven days, 30 days, and 90 days. As you can see in the video above, most 4-hour rentals are priced at $3-$5. Longer rentals will cost more moeny and Darksiders is shown as $15 for 90 days (which is actually a terrible deal considering you can buy it from Amazon for under $14). As a way to provide value, most rentals include any add-on content that was released post-launch. Trophy support and online play (even against players who own the real game) is also included with each rental.

As this is an open beta, Sony plans to listen to fan feedback and make changes in response to that feedback. First on the list is some kind of subscription plan, though details about what it will include and how much it will cost will be revealed “soon,”

Posted in News, PS2, PS3, PS4, Vita |