A brief history of the cultural impact and influence of the most known fighting game Mortal Kombat. Ashley Rose-Nova reviews the violence projected, created, and out-rage caused by the game’s birth leading to over twenty games, plus additions.
Mortal Kombat was created by Midway. Spawning into one of the most popular fighting games to be created. Becoming known for its known extreme graphics and fatality killing moves. The brutal action of the series made it the go-to fighting game. In 1989 the idea of Mortal Kombat was born as a response to the Capcom fighter known as Street Fighter II. The fighting game would not appear in arcades until 1992 and would be released on game systems. Controversy surrounded the game, with comments from the public in a vicious outcry to remove the game publicly.
The realism and ultra-violence projected in the game quickly caught on with players. The series of the Midway game displayed distinctive special moves and combos, leading to over twenty games on different platforms.
The characters were developed to be realistic, being modelled after genuine performers acting on each move. Johnny Cage was highly inspired by actor Jean-Claude Van Damme. The Mortal Kombat lore is created and inspired vigorously by various sources. These sources are but are not limited to martial arts and religions. The cultural phenomena that impacted the fight game community would lead to character cross-overs. Raiden appeared in the pinball game, Bally’s 1994 World Cup Championship. His cameo role would be available for viewing in a bonus round. Sub-Zero and Scorpion appeared in MLB Slugfest 20-04. Scorpion would be an accessible skin in Psi-Ops: The MindGate Conspiracy. Even NBA Jam TE and the Sega Saturn conversion would include the popular Sub-Zero, Scorpion, Raiden, and Reptile. Mortal Kombat characters were showcased in the trading card game Epic Battles. Another popular cross-over was with DC Comics in Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe. Later, Scorpion would be a playable character in the Injustice franchise, followed by Raiden in the sequel. The aesthetic of Mortal Kombat continues to attract players and fans to the franchise. Players battling in a momentary window of opportunity with each frame drenched in blood. Fatalities are the objective of the forbidden thrill of the franchise and the target of aspiration to competitive gameplay.
Mortal Kombat’s carnage was a delicate subject for American culture. The demonstration of fatalities that spread past arcades and into the living rooms caused a war. The war was armed with angry parents, schools, church groups, and politicians destined to remove Mortal Kombat. This would lead to a crackdown on other games with extreme content. Various court hearings would include representation from SEGA and Nintendo to prompt the formation of the Electronic Ratings Software Board (ESRB) in 1994.
Games such as Street Fighter II were built with vibrant colours, remarkable characters, and driven gameplay. Mortal Kombat entered the arcades with a phenomenal warning. That warning being it contained violence.