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As a kid, there were many things the older kids were into that we thought was cool. Picture this, the parents nowhere in sight, it’s time to break out the banned goods! No, this isn’t about those dirty mags. Like a right of passage for many 90’s kids, I snuck in my Beavis & Butthead, South Park and the most infamous game of that era, Mortal Kombat. – Extra bonus points for those who still remember the “blood code” from back in the day.

Admittingly, Mortal Kombat is a franchise that I haven’t been into for a very long time. It’s not because the newer games were upping up their gore factor with greater fidelity, I simply suck at fighting games. No moral panic, an admission that there are other game genres I’m better at. Around 2006 was the last time I’ve played something from the series. During that timeframe, I was out of state and it was my younger brother who purchased Mortal Kombat: Armageddon.

Prior to Armageddon, I can not recall the last Mortal Kombat title played – everything between the Sega Genesis and PS2 is a blur as far as fighting games go. Eventually, I return home and my brother is eager to play some video games. We pop in the disc for a day of beating each other up, there’s that familiar dragon logo. Mortal Kombat visuals improved dramatically since the digitized 16-bit days, that’s for sure! Add in a create a character mode with multiple fatalities, we had fun.

My brother and I played for a good while until we mastered the art of fatalities. An uncle was staying with us at the time and we all had a laugh whenever I’d rip Goro’s arms off to beat him with them – good times. Some people claim Mortal Kombat leads to violence while others don’t have the constitution for gory situations. Not surprising considering back in the early 90’s, Mortal Kombat was under extreme scrutiny. The game was considered so controversial that the ESRB was born as a guidance for parents.

This was back in late 2006, nearly a decade since Mortal Kombat: Armageddon released. It’s been over two since the original Mortal Kombat hit the shelves. Seems like the moral panic of the 90’s may be making its comeback. Or is it? This article has been making the rounds in my Twitter timeline. Before we dismiss this as potential for Jack Thompson 2.0, let’s look at some of the newer fatalities from Mortal Kombat X.

Warning: This footage is graphic.

Mortal Kombat X, the latest iteration of the iconic fighting game is definitely not for the faint at heart. Hard to believe that a couple of decades ago, something a lot more tame by comparison sparked so much outrage all things considered. I must say, the selfie fatality is the one I find the most disturbing. Mainly because it’s one of the more realistic fatalities while the others are outlandish.

Sub-Zero_Fatality_MK2

An old school fatality from the early days.

Outlandish is the keyword here. There may be a fatality or two that is feasible in the real world, but many of them are too over the top. You’re pitting monsters, undead and humans against each other in a fictional realm where they fight to the death. None of this scenario could possibly happen in real life. Does this mean it’s okay for children? Generally speaking, no. However, not every kid is the same and parents should know their child better than any stranger on a board.

Violent video games with an M rating carry that rating for a reason. When you’re an adult, you’re free to purchase any game to your hearts content. Too gory even as an adult? Try a game from another franchise. It’s Mortal Kombat, you knew what you were getting into. There’s a plethora of games ranging from indie to AAA on a multitude of platforms. Gaming as an entertainment medium is geared to serve everyone under the sun. For a series such as Mortal Kombat, the level of detail in the violence is only going to get more detailed with each new game. You can’t expect a B-movie spinal cord rip with 16-bit graphics forever.

Simply put, people of sound mind regardless of age can easily tell between what’s real and what isn’t. A rendered image on a screen isn’t a magic murder switch no matter how hard media is trying to convince the masses. In regards to children and video games, ratings exist for a reason. It’s fine to not like a game as an adult, it simply means you’re giving another title a shot. Who knows, that title may become your new favorite video game.

Advancements in technology leads us to more levels of realism possible in video games. In Mortal Kombat‘s case, this means even more gory fatalities than ever before. You can either embrace this or move on to another franchise. Even if you were an old school Mortal Kombat fan who feels squeamish now, there’s not a rule stating you have to stop playing the old classics. Everyone feels differently, but artistic integrity is something I believe is worth preserving. If the title after Mortal Kombat X gets toned down, I’d rather that be the decision of Ed Boon and John Tobias – not people flailing around hypothetical pitchforks in the form of a social media lynch mob.

That’s all the Jack Thompson-esque points out of the way. As for the CBC piece mentioned earlier, this was not a response to that article. It was a combination of reminiscing about the 90’s and the hot topic issue at the time. The article itself did not call for re-igniting the fire from the 90’s as some of the reactions on Twitter lead to believe. The major talking point was people feeling uneasy about the newer fatalities in Mortal Kombat X. And to be fair, some of the newer fatalities are pretty brutal compared to what many of us grew up with. If the fighting mechanics are what you’ve played for and you have a the will, Mortal Kombat X won’t phase you any more than anything else posted on the Internet for shock value. For hardcore Mortal Kombat fans, they couldn’t care less if a pop critic doesn’t find the series fun anymore, they’ll continue to brawl until only one is left standing.

Mortal Kombat X isn’t something I’m personally eager to play, but it should be allowed to be as gory as it wants so long as that’s the creators vision. What are your thoughts?


Anthony Lee

Gamer since the NES era, computer nerd since 2001. Happily in a loving relationship with a happa who has been a gamer since the Sega Genesis era. Who says Sega does what Nintendon't?