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Source: www.mortalkombat.com

Source: www.mortalkombat.com

I was nine years old the first time that I played a Mortal Kombat game. My new best friend from my new school had a Sega Genesis and a copy of Mortal Kombat 2 and he was excited to show me Baraka’s Fatality, the Deadly Lift. I remember very well how uneasy I felt watching the large sprays of blood as Baraka tore through Kitana, ending the match by impaling her with his large arm blades and lifting her screaming body off of the ground. I remember clearly looking anywhere except the TV for as much of the fight as I could without drawing attention to myself.

Of course I knew all about Mortal Kombat before that day. I also remember watching a news program with my mother sometime after the original game released in 1992. It was exactly the sort of fast cuts between groups of excited teenage boys playing an arcade cabinet and grainy shots of a screen displaying the ultraviolence of the game that would become so pervasive throughout 90’s journalistic coverage of video games. My mother was so shocked by the image of Sub Zero tearing Liu Kang’s head and spine out, Scorpion sending Sonya Blade into the pit to be impaled on blades, and of course Kano tearing out Johnny Cage’s still beating heart that she made me promise her that I would never play this game. I was 6 years old at the time and obviously not so great at keeping that promise. It is safe to say that I have a history with the franchise. It has been a part of my gaming life for the past nineteen years.

It has been a part of my gaming life for the past nineteen years.

I have owned or played every single title in the series aside from Mortal Kombat Vs. DC. Fans of the franchise would likely say that I missed out on the correct one. I even bought myself a copy of MK Armageddon on PS2 to play on my roommate’s console as I didn’t own a device that the game was released on. I was delighted with 2011’s Mortal Kombat as a return to form for the franchise with an emphasis on classic characters and a welcome return to 2D fighting. I’ve always loved the over-the-top, gross out violence that Mortal Kombat has always been known for. I’ve relished the introductions of X-Ray moves to inflict obviously fatal level of carnage to players who will immediately rejoin the fight. I adore learning and watching each new installment’s Fatalities. If this level of gore were in another game, I would likely walk away thinking the designers were much too juvenile and crass for my tastes, but for some reason I always give Mortal Kombat pass to be as gross as possible. I willingly overlook  frequent terrible character design, a plotline that makes most B-movies look like Oscar contenders, and some of the dumbest things I’ve ever seen in a video game. I do this because I’ve grown up with the series and know these things are a big part of what is fun about it.

Seeing the slow trickle that quickly turned into a torrent of footage and information about the recently released MKX has gotten me more excited than any Mortal Kombat game ever. The graphics look remarkably better than any game in the franchise. The addition of multiple variations of each fighter adds a level of depth that just was not a part of Mortal Kombat 9. Environmental interaction looks like a welcome addition to the series. And last but not least, NetherRealm Studios have outdone themselves with the grossness of Fatalities in MKX.

I was mortified when my three year old wandered into the living room…

I’m not a kid anymore though. In fact, I’ve got kids of my own now and last night when I was playing MK9 to satiate my MK cravings, I was mortified when my three year old wandered into the living room during a cutscene where a badly burned Kabal lays on a bloody table as Kano attaches his signature mask. This scene pales in comparison to any Fatality that I have seen in MKX, and I have to wrestle with the realization that I truly do not want a piece of media with that level of cold hearted violence in my home. I’m not telling you that if you have small children in your house, you shouldn’t buy or play this game. I’m just saying that I know that my kids aren’t anywhere close to mature enough to understand that its OK that Ermac crushed Raiden’s body and then used Telekinetic powers to pull out his bowels through his mouth because this is just a video game, and sometimes it’s really great when video games are this dumb. That sometimes the spectacle of something truly disgusting is enough to make adults laugh after they cringe, and this is why most people play Mortal Kombat. So for me, for right now, I’m taking a pass on MKX. I will watch a few streams and try to steal some time with MK9 when the kids are sleeping. This would be a pretty good example of how growing up kinda sucks sometimes.

I can’t say that I don’t want to play it though…

Like really, really want to play it…

Maybe when it goes on sale…

 

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