This week I read that the Mortal Kombat franchise will have a 2015 reboot with stunningly-graphic stunning graphics. After 20+ years, the cartridge that managed to get a Senate hearing called over “realistic violence” in video games because, you know, a kid might try to become a thunder god or grow four arms or something, is still finding a way to shock people. Check out the trailer below:
Yikes. I’ll admit, cartoon violence never caused me discomfort in the way that almost every first-person shooter ever has– Something about Johnny Cage punching people in the balls seemed closer to The Three Stooges than a Tarantino film, but that’s just me. Still, 2015’s Mortal Kombat X looks genuinely disturbing. The producers of MK seem to be escalating its violence like an unsatisfied serial killer, chasing a rush. I wouldn’t be surprised if Michael C. Hall reprised his role as Dexter for the sole purposes of killing this entire game franchise.
“Few parents would buy these games for their kids if they knew what was in them.”
– Senator Joseph Lieberman to the press corps, on 12/1/93
Yeah, Lieberman was wrong. I know exactly what’s in the game. I started playing Mortal Kombat right after its release in October of 1992. I was eight. I like to think I turned out OK. If playing such a comically violent video game at such a young age impaired my judgement in any way, it probably just manifested itself for the first time this week in the form of me letting my six-year-old son play the Super Nintendo version himself.
I’m not terribly proud of the decision, but I’m not going to beat myself up over it. He’s inundated with imagery from the X-Men, Spider-man and The Avengers on a daily basis. Shoot, he’s seen Mario die a thousand deaths, including but not limited to- by turtle, bottomless pit, quicksand, lava, fiery kart crash, and the dreaded IT’S THE DAMN CONTROLLER’S FAULT. I’m not giving him free reign over when he can play Mortal Kombat, and for how long, but I am having a good time teaching him the button sequences that constitute Lui Kang’s fireball and Kano’s… well, nothing. Kano sucks.
After walking him through the basic backstory and letting him beat me up with all seven characters, I asked him all the pertinent questions of anyone who’s ever “tested their might.”
On his favorite character:
“Johnny Cage is my favorite because he does the funny thing. The down punch. His kick is awesome. Shadows appear form his back.”
On the absolute useless turd that is Kano:
“I like when he throws his boomerang, it looks different than a regular boomerang. I don’t like it when he head-butts me”
On the game’s supposed hero, Lui Kang:
“His fireball looks weird.
On the eternal Sub-Zero vs Scorpion debate:
“Sub-Zero is better because he makes people freeze and then he can have a free attack. Plus blue is a better color. I like everyone except for scorpion. Even Goro.”
Dang. The kid went in hard on the undead warrior. It’s probably because he’s been stung by a scorpion. He’s practicing virtual passive aggression.