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About 20 years ago, Midway was at the cutting edge of arcade game development using a unique method of creating very realistic images. By digitizing live actors, shot in front of a green screen, a number of games were developed that had a photorealistic look not found in any other games. Games like Narc, Smash TV, NBA Jam and Terminator 2: Arcade all used this technology. This approach was applied to a number of game categories including sports, gun games, and shooters. One genre, however, had not yet been attempted – the fighting game. In 1991, a small team of four decided to try making a fighting game using digitized graphics. The goal was to make something bold, shocking, and as realistic looking as possible. The game would eventually become Mortal Kombat, the first in a series that have sold over 30 million games.
Mortal Kombat was the “bad boy” of fighting games. It unapologetically depicted blood and had a much more hard-edge presentation than its tamer competition. Mortal Kombat’s bold presentation wasn’t without its controversy, but that only fueled the game’s unstoppable popularity. In addition, Mortal Kombat introduced a deep story and unique characters that also set it apart from other fighting games.
I’m really happy to see the upcoming release of the Mortal Kombat Arcade Kollection, which hits PSN next Tuesday, August 30th. The MKAK is a great way to relive the classic Mortal Kombat arcade games right in your own living room, but I’m also excited that players who enjoyed this year’s new Mortal Kombat will soon have the opportunity to play the first three games that set the foundation for the entire fighting-game franchise.
I was introduced to Mortal Kombat on April 20th, 1992. I was fresh out of art school and starting my career at Williams/Bally/Midway. I remembered being overwhelmed that I was actually walking into the building where some of my favorite games were created: Narc, Robotron, Defender, and Smash TV just to name a few. Mortal Kombat was yet to be released. However there were a few Mortal Kombat prototypes lining the halls of Midway that we could test out. I remember being just blown away by my first experiences with Mortal Kombat. What first struck me was the size of the digitized characters on the screen. They were huge! I remember selecting Kano as my first character: I was a big Terminator fan at the time, so the choice was obvious. I also remember how in awe I was working (and playing) along side of the guys that created the game. A few days after that, I met the actors that were filmed for the game.