I wanted to take a moment to post a very special CCAIC blog which, again is dated but it is also extremely important! 25 years ago, the arcade industry was forever changed by the release of one loud game with two joysticks and ten buttons.
In 1988, there was a game that I was extremely surprised to see. With all of the games that were released prior to it such as Double Dragon, Renegade, Final Fight and even Golden Axe, I was completely taken back when Splatterhouse was released. The game had so much blood, guts and gore and also a character that was very similar to Jason Voorhees from the Friday the 13th series. And the fact was, that yes there was violence and blood and brains and mutant maggots that attack you. But nobody batted an eye at the game or the content. And there was also the introduction of Street Fighter in 1987 that no-one looked at twice…except for the kids.
But then, everything was turned around on Friday October 28, 1992 when Midway released one of the few games that had a good portion of motion capture and easy controls, once you figured them out. Mortal Kombat completely turned the arcade market around. The movements were a little sluggish compared to some other games, but it just seemed to work out. And crowds of people would gather around to see what all the hype was about.
“A 2,000 year old half human dragon Goro remains undefeated for the past 500 years. He won the title of Grand Champion by defeating Kung Lao, a Shaolin fighting monk. It was during this period that the tournament fell into Shang Tsung’s hands and was corrupted.” Man I still love attract modes in games!!!
But the basic premise is to choose your fighter and climb up to the top of the tower to attempt to defeat Shang Tsung. Along the way, you will also get to do endurance tests that basically have you smack the crap out of the buttons.
The first time I ever played MK, I was at the Fun Factory in Valley West Mall after school. I was working at Babbages at the time and loved going to the arcade before work. But dropping the quarters in and starting, the first level I played was the Pit. I kept saying to myself, don’t fall off the bridge, don’t fall off the bridge. Well, my opponent had other plans. It was Scorpion vs. Kano. And right at the end of the second round, the game said in a deep dark voice, “FINISH HIM!” I had no idea what to do. At the start of playing, I was just learning the moves. But by some chance I walked over to Kano and ducked and did a high punch. Down goes Kano, but he kept going until he landed in a pile of spikes and blood spilled everywhere. Yeah, HOLY CRAP came out of my mouth, but I edited this. Good thing my dad wasn’t with me. (See other blogs). But this was way over the line of violence. I even remember saying, “That’s not right!!” But as most of you know, it didn’t end there.
The next round I was just trying to guess the moves when the voice again said “FINISH HIM!” I was within a leg sweep distance from Raiden and I had my hand on the hold button and kept hitting up. Scorpion takes his mask off and breathes fire on Raiden and he catches fire and then drops to the ground as a charred skeleton. I loved it when people asked how I did that and I was very truthful by saying, I had no freaking idea! But each character had its own finishers. Sub Zero grabbed your head and ripped your spinal cord out, Raiden zaps your head until it exploded, and even Kano rips your heart out. So much for family friendly.
This game was such a success that they also released Mortal Kombat 2,3, Ultimate Mortal Combat 3 and 4 in the arcades. But after that, the home systems took over to create a whole new lineup of Kombat games. The Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis was under so much controversy that the Entertainment Software Rating Board was created and from then on out, ANY game released on a system had to have a rating very similar to the Motion Picture Association of Americas ratings. Sometimes censorship sucks!
Games like this even ended up in debate in the senate and was all over the news. Yeah, they were onto something. But it didn’t stop at Mortal Kombat. Several games after that were released to try to be the same if not better than the original. Oh sure, some came close. But we aren’t talking about THOSE games. We are talking about the series that changed the arcade and home counsel industry forever.
As time went on through the releases of the different games, I was able to master many of the moves and finishing moves. Even when Mortal Kombat 2 came out, they had Friendship and Babality moves in addition to the Fatality moves. Guess they were trying to appeal to kids :). They also release 2 movies based on the game, which I thought weren’t that bad. With that, there were shirts, action figures, awesome techno soundtracks, hats and more. This franchise had become a gold mine.
But at this time I want to say special thanks to Ed Boon, Dan Forden, John Tobias, Chris Sawyer and the hundreds of members of the development team for creating ONE of the greatest fighting games of all times. For years, it gave me several reasons to return to the arcade and……
Keep Calm and Insert Coin!