Today sees the release of Mortal Kombat X, the latest installment in the popular fighting game series. I could go on about how the game boasts dozens of characters, scores of martial arts styles, and a number of gameplay upgrades from its predecessor, but no one here gives a tuppenny fuck about any of that (myself included). Instead, I bring you a series of fun facts you can bring to your next elegant dinner part if this subject comes up.
The Bloodsport Game That Wasn’t
Back in 1992, Mortal Kombat was originally envisioned as a game based on the Jean-Claude Van Damme film, but the license fell through. Its creators crafted their own story of seven kombatants battling it out in a mysterious martial arts tournament. In an homage to their original inspiration, the character of Johnny Cage was based off of the film’s star.
The Student Has Become The Master
Mortal Kombat’s popularity soared to astronomical heights, and Hollywood took notice. Three years after the game’s release, Mortal Kombat had its own movie hit theaters across America. The movie wasn’t exactly a critical darling, but audiences appriciated it as a cult classic, and it remains one of the best video game film adaptations ever*. Another fun fact: Johnny Cage was originally supposed to be played by Brandon Lee (son of Bruce) once he finished shooting The Crow. Unfortunately, he met an untimely demise on the set of that movie, and role was then given to Linden Ashby, pictured below.
*This means nothing.
Too Goddamn Lazy To Come Up With New Characters
Mortal Kombat has given us some memorable fighters, like Scorpion and Sub Zero. But after 10+ games, it can be tough to keep things fresh when adding new warriors to the mix. Developers thought that the best course of action is to add more ninjas. Take Scorpion’s design, swap out the yellow for gray, and you have Smoke. Plug in a shade of red to get Ermac, the telekinetic ninja. Shadow ninja Noob Saibot came from turning the ninja character model completely black, then combining the surnames of creators Ed Boon and John Tobias and flipping the spellings. Last but not least is Rain, who dons a purple ninja outfit, and is the prince of the kingdom of Edenia. That’s just good character development.
I See What You Did There
When Mortal Kombat was first released on home consoles, family friendly Nintendo wanted nothing to do with that filth, so the uncut, gory version only came out on Sega systems. Getting the bloody version required players to input a code in the main menu. That code was “ABACABB”, which is mispelling of Abacab, the 11th studio album of mega music group Genesis. Sega’s console at the time was the Genesis. Funny how these things work out.
Of course, Mortal Kombat is known for Fatalities, the gruesome killing moves at the end of a match. As the game’s popularity grew, it caught the attention of concerned parents and politicians. There was a public outcry to regulate these violent video games, and the industry decided to nip the controversy in the bud and create the Entertainment Software Ratings Board, or ESRB. They’re responsible for adding that little icon at the bottom corner of a game’s case, telling consumers what kind of objectionable content is featured in the title.
As for the modern crop of fatalities, they are incredibly disgusting, and I won’t subject you to any of them, especially since Youtube exists and you can find them yourself. Well, I’ll make an exception for just one. You probably know why I appreciate it. (Warning: It’s pretty violent, duh).
Welcome to the 21st century, Mortal Kombat.