Top 10 MORTAL KOMBAT Facts You DIDN'T KNOW
It was the fighter game that bred controversy and in 1992 it’s likely that, at the time, nobody expected it to survive well over two decades. Mortal Kombat has a massive fan-base, but even though it is so popular, there are some little nuggets of information that many may not know about this bloody genera. For this installment, we’re going to dive into the Netherrealm and summon up ten of the best Mortal Kombat Factalities. CORRECTION! At 1:37 we said "Scorpio", instead of "Scorpion". This was a spelling error in the script that slipped through our cracks.
There was a Mortal Kombat Cartoon
It’s not every Saturday morning you wake up to see an animated vision of everyone’s favorite bloody fighting game. For one full season in 1996, Saturday morning cartoons had to share the attention of children with a Mortal Kombat cartoon titled “Defenders of the Realm.” To fit in on the USA network, Defenders of the Realm dropped all references to the blood and guts Mortal Kombat was known for, which was a likely contributor to the show’s short-lived existence. Like many cartoons, Defenders of the Realm was not without its weekly cheesy lesson. Defenders survived for one agonizing season, garnering few fans by stepping outside of the violent box Mortal Kombat had been calling home for four years.
Jack Thompson’s Cease and Desist
Jack Thompson is best known for his continued battle against violence in video games, and in 2006, he was in the spotlight once again – but this time for a different quarrel with the entertainment medium. In Mortal Kombat: Armageddon, gamers have the chance to create their own fighter – and someone decided to create some true-to-life characters. Amongst those that the wicked minds of gamers thought up was the anti-gamer himself, Jack Thompson. Not too happy to be likened to a character in a game he rightly opposed, Thompson sent a cease and desist letter to Midway. In the end, all Thompson succeeded in doing is garner even more detest from Mortal Kombat gamers.
Hidden within the arcade version of Mortal Kombat II was a gem that required quite a bit of effort to gain access to. Only after playing 250 two-player matches would players be able to unlock a session of the classical arcade game, Pong. As a bit of an incentive and to add something a little fun to the experience, Pong’s sound effects were replaced by those of Mortal Kombat II. At the start of the 251st match, players will be told they have reached the outer limits of the tournament and will need to face a challenge from their past. The mode lasts for just one round before bringing gamers back to the fight. It’s a quirky Easter Egg that not everybody would get the chance to play.
“Animality” was a Fan Suggestion
Mortal Kombat has featured it all – Fatalities, Brutalities, and even Babalities, but there is one that would not exist if not for the brilliance of Mortal Kombat fans. During the craze of Mortal Kombat II, gamers started to talk about rumors that some characters could turn into animal avatars of themselves. One example is the rumor that Sub-Zero could turn into a polar bear and maul his opponent. The story goes that Midway, during development of Mortal Kombat 3, caught wind of the ingenious means of tearing tournament fighters apart and decided to add it to the third installment of their successful arcade fighter. Despite being a fan creation, the finishing move was dropped after just one go.
The Game was Originally a Universal Soldier Adaptation
In an earlier Top10Archive video, we mentioned that combatant Johnny Cage was originally meant to be a model of Jean Claud Van Damme for a project Ed Boon and fellow developer John Tobias were approached to work on. The project was meant to be an adaptation of Damme’s 1992 film, Universal Soldier. After licensing issues got in the way of the finished project, Boon and Tobias kept moving forward. They continued working with the gory concept they had in mind for the Universal Soldier game and created their own world of fighters and mythology.
A Team of Four Created Mortal Kombat
These days, video games require teams of individuals, working endless days until a finished product is available; and even then, sometimes the finished product is incomplete. In the days of Mortal Kombat, development could be done with minimal staff – and in the case of the arcade fighter, it was. According to series creator, Ed Boon, the original Mortal Kombat was created by a team of only four individuals. Along with Boon, who acted as programmer, were John Tobias and John Vogel, who were the game’s artists, and Dan Forden, Mortal Kombat’s sound design. Later entries in the Mortal Kombat series eventually required the attention of larger development teams, such as the crew at NetherRealm Studios.
Jax was Originally a Kick Boxer
The final design for the brutish Jax is a far cry away from the original concept the character was conceived as. Initially, the character of Jax was meant to be a kickboxer, which would have made him a much faster fighter than his current design. The idea was scrapped when the development team realized the massive similarities between this concept and several characters from the game Mortal Kombat was in direct competition with – Street Fighter. Mortal Kombat’s development team instead decided to focus the brunt of Jax’s strengths to his metallic arms.
A Part of the ESRB Equation
A lot of people peg Mortal Kombat as being the sole reason for the creation of the Entertainment Software Rating Board, but the bloody fighter was only half of the equation. In hearings held by Senators Joe Lieberman and Herb Kohl over the discussion of violent video games in 1992, the interactive survival horror game, Night Trap, was also mentioned heavily. Mortal Kombat was, of course, cited for its violence against realistic models while Night Trap brought a little sexuality and exploitation to the table. As Mortal Kombat gained the greater popularity over time, it’s common for many to forget Night Trap ever existed.
Ermac was a Glitch – or Was He?
As a developer, a glitch just means you’ll be facing a sleepless night and a need for a big gulp of coffee. According to a legend revolving around the mysterious fighter, Ermac, a glitch for the Mortal Kombat development team really was just a luck of the draw. For some reason, fans of Mortal Kombat started a series of rumors that revolved around a glitch that would inexplicably change Scorpion or Reptile’s sprite to red and change the character’s name to “Ermac,” short for “Error Macro.” The popularity behind the urban legend grew to a point where both Boon and the team at Midway would coyly dance around the truth. Eventually, Boon did admit that Ermac was, in fact, a planned character and no such glitch existed.
The Tribute to Genesis
When you’re the lead programmer and co-creative of something, you tend to be able to have some fun with that project. In 1993, Ed Boon had the pleasure of watching his beloved creation get ported to the popular home console, the Sega Genesis. To commemorate the move to the new console and his love for the band Genesis, Boon and his development team threw in a little Easter Egg in the form of a secret code that spelled out “Abacabb” – the name of the band’s 11th studio album with an additional “b.” The code really has nothing else to do with Genesis and was just a means of turning off the blood censoring.