Monday, February 7, 2011

Video Game Tribute #17 - Mortal Kombat

If you know me, then you may be as puzzled as I am as to why I haven't given proper tribute to my all time favorite game in the history of all things pixelated... Mortal Kombat. I'm not going to go on any rants about mature video games and their affect on children, blah, blah... What I will say is that this game was the moment my brain switched from child to adult... I remember the first time I laid eyes on all of its rated-M goodness. I was in a pizza store with my Dad one evening waiting for our takeout when I glanced over and saw this arcade game in the darkest corner of the store... A light in the darkness, if you will. I had played Street Fighter II before, so I was no stranger to the fighting genre. I inserted my quarter and before I knew it, I was presented with 7 of the grittiest gaming characters I'd ever seen, not presented in any 2D anime appearance, but in video-captured realism. It blew my mind. It was like I was about to take control of a real person, their fate was in my hands... Oh man, I had NO idea what kind of responsibility that entailed.

Like most boys my age, I selected the Blue Ninja... Sub-Zero. Now despite what you may be thinking, my eyes were not about to be opened to the spine-rip (at my age, my head may very well have exploded had I witnessed that awesomeness). I was suddenly on a dark bridge, the moon behind me, facing... A girl in green spandex? Surely this was a joke! My ninja was OBVIOUSLY going to destroy her! Sadly, I was not experienced enough to unlock the secrets of ice which my character was so epically bestowed... No, no, I was but a child... A foolish, foolish child. Within seconds, I was leg swept, cartwheel kicked across the screen, assaulted with projectile glowing rings of furious brutality and completely and utterly humiliated by a machine... two rounds in a row... I was not worthy...

But the icing on the cake, the moment my eyes would be opened to the cruel reality of digital life, was about to hit me like a brick in the junk... The machine shouted "Finish Him!" ... Finish me?! What happened to K.O., Game Over, Continue?? Finish?! Then she uppercut me... Blood spouted out of my poor ninja like dynamite in tapioca pudding, he went flying a mile into the air... Then he fell... But he didn't land on the bridge... No, that would be too merciful... He fell... And fell... And fell a little more...


Then he landed. In a pit full of spikes. Impaled. Bleeding profusely. Game Over. Sonya Wins.

Everything after that was a blur, though I distinctly remember another kid there shouting: "HOLY ****!"... And Really, that sums up Mortal Kombat. Children screaming obscenities. Like eating of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. There was no more innocence. Only the Fatality. From here on out it was all about learning the correct sequence of buttons to execute a bloody, don't-let-your-parents-see, act of digital violence. Few people remember anything about the actual gameplay of Mortal Kombat, which oddly enough was pretty craptastic. But nobody cared. They just wanted to get through two rounds of poor controls to get to the good stuff. Spine Rips, heart-rips, decapitation, spike pits, incineration... There was NOTHING in the world like it.

Nowadays it's rather tame... With games like God of War and Grand Theft Auto, it's hard to be very controversial or shocking without getting offensive... Personally I think it's time to move in another direction... I say it's time to jump on board the LEGO train... Just think about it, it's not like you didn't spend your childhood dismantling Lego spacemen... At least it'd be controversial... Kids toys killing each other... Could be fun... ?

Flawless Entry!
~ Mark

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