Mortal Kombat is one of the first popular one-on-one fighting games, introduced in the summer of 1993. This game includes a number of unique characters who all have their own ways of fighting and killing their opponents. All the characters have special weapons, armor, and moves that make them appealing to certain gamers. These characters and their unique ways of killing their opponents called “fatalities” are the factors that have been upsetting people for the past twenty three years. After playing and analyzing Mortal Kombat I agree with most politicians and worried parents that this game has gone too far and is encouraging violence, depicts gruesome graphics that are unnecessary, and glorifies one on one fighting to the death. In this analysis I will share with you examples of violence and grotesque behavior that supports my opinion that Mortal Kombat has definetly taking their graphics and violent content too far in their previously released Mortal Kombat X.
To start off let me share with you my experience while playing Mortal Kombat X. I played this game on PlayStation 4 for roughly two hours. I played against my boyfriend who also had no experience with the game so there was no advantage for either of us. Since we were not familiar with the game we did not know many of the moves ,so we mostly played as “button smashers”, hitting as many buttons as possible just to throw punches and kicks. Even though we were just hitting buttons we were still able to be destructive in our movements. There are 25 Standard Fatalities in Mortal Kombat X. Each character has one standard fatality that is shown once the character has destroyed their opponent(powerpyx.com). After continuing to play this game for a while I started to play as three main characters who I found to be very gruesome in their fighting styles. These characters included King Lao, Jax, Mileena, and Ermac. All characters have pretty gruesome fatalities but in my opinion these characters win the award for most ridiculously violent. In fact they actually all made the “Mortal Kombat X Top Most Brutial Fatalities” on YouTube that I will be showing during my presentation.
The characters I chose to play had the most ridiculous fatalities, which I will be using as examples of how Mortal Kombat possesses unnecessarily gruesome graphics. First off we have Kung Lao who is one of the original Mortal Kombat characters. His armor depicts him as a a Kung-Fu master whose long brim hat turns into a moving blade for his fatality. After defeating his opponent Kung Lao throws his hat on the floor which starts spinning like a circular saw, he then throws his opponent on the floor and pushes their head and body into the moving blade with his foot which in turns splits their whole body in half; talk about graphic! (Smith).
Next we have Jax, whose image of fatality is shown above. Jax is a very strong, ripped African American character who looks to be in the army as he is portrayed in a camo outfit. Jax’s fatality includes him pushing his opponents arms straight into their body until only nubs are left. He then rips their heads off and puts a cigar out in the bottom portion of their mouth which is the only remaining portion of their head.
Next we have the only female gruesome enough to make it on the “Top 10 Most Brutal Fatalities”, Mileena. As you can see this Mortal Kombat character is some sort of animal-human mix. Mileena is a seductively dressed female fighter who wears a tight corset and tights to kill off her opponents. Her weapons of choice are a smaller version of a Trojan and a sharp machete. Mileena’s fatality includes her ripping her opponents to pieces with her claws then eating them. You will soon see this gruesome image that ranked number 1 on the brutality scale.
Lastly, we have Ermac whose 20- second fatality preview racked up more than 850,000 views on YouTube along with hundreds of comments of anticipation and fear of what the game would bring (Smith). Ermac is a green-eyed hooded ninja who has telekinesis, which plays a role in his extreme fatality. Ermac uses an act of medieval torture when he uses his telekinesis to project his opponent in the air and twist their limp body until their spine audibly snaps. He then pulls the intestines, organs, and stomach out of the lifeless character and throws them to the ground in celebration of his victory.
These fatalities not only represent the gruesome unnecessary violence of the game but also support the fact that this game glorifies winning one-on-one fights. Not only does the game use infamous phrases such as “Finish Him!”, but when a fatality is successfully completed it shows “Flawness Victory” on the screen which lets the player know the destructive way they killed their opponent is what was wanted by the game. Another way that Mortal Kombat glorifies fighting is that once a fatality has occurred the game allows the combatants to rip out the hearts or rip off the heads of their opponents and hold them up as trophies (Crossley). Lastly, by performing a fatality with every character you can earn the “Bloody Good Time” trophy or achievement. The game honors you for destroying your opponents lifeless body (powerpyx.com).Personally, I believe that the fatalities are glorifying overkill which is definitely frowned upon from outsiders of the industry.
Mortal Kombat is considered one of the most violent games ever, on the Super Nintendo console. Even in its beginning in 1993 the game was in hot water and getting negative attention. Politician Joe Lieberman called reform for the game which in turn started the Entertainment Software Rating Board which we know of today (www.bbc.com). This game was viewed as bad in 1993 when the graphics were nothing compared to today’s graphics, so the controversy over this game continues. Mortal Kombat possesses actions that are ridiculously gruesome so its hard for games to compare to its negative stigma.
A game that I would like to compare to Mortal Kombat that does not even compare to its grotesque nature is Fight Night. Fight Night is a boxing game where two opponents box one another. The differences between these games are that in Fight Night you do not fight to the death, the graphics are not as gruesome and life like, and the most negative glorification of the game is that a winner is declared by raising their glove. Mortal Kombat has bloody decapitations, ripping out hearts, and ripping off heads and glorifies their actions with awards, for overkill.
In conclusion, I agree that Mortal Kombat has gone too far. Their graphics and unnecessary violence is excessive and is not good for an industry that is populated by so many younger people. I feel that by giving examples of the grotesque and disturbing fatalities and explaining the awards and features of the game that encourages this violence people would also agree with my belief. I feel that the only good thing that came from the long life of Mortal Kombat being so violent and gruesome is the ranking system that the government has put in place in order for games of this nature to have a more selective gaming population.
Crossley, R. (2014). Mortal Kombat: Violent game that changed video games industry. Retrieved December 13, 2016, from http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-27620071
Mule, D. (Producer). (2015). Mortal Kombat Top 10 Most Brutal Fatalities [Video file]. United States: Youtube. Retrieved December 13, 2016, from https://youtu.be/uGM4LcKTO4s.
Powerpyx.com (2011.) Mortal Kombat Trophy Guide. Retrieved December 13, 2016, from http://www.powerpyx.com/guides/mortal_kombat.html
Smith, R (2015). Has Mortal Kombat Finally Gone Too Far. Retrieved December 13, 2016, from http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/mortal-kombat-netherrealm-ed-boon-john-tobias/Content?oid=17244090