Flawless Victory! The History of 1992 Coin-op Classic Mortal Kombat!

It was 1992 and the smell of Mrs. Field’s Cookies blended with Burger King fries as I plopped down four quarters for my next turn at Mortal Kombat. Arcades and food courts were still the coolest places to be in the 90s. The mall had everything a growing teen nerd needed! Cookies, movies, and games! And one of the games that sucked both our time and well-earned allowances was Classic Mortal Kombat.

In response to the Street Fighter mania that was sweeping the arcades, Midway Games developed Mortal Kombat. It was a great success. The graphics were more realistic and less cartoony than Street Fighter. The biggest variation was the level of violence and the infamous “Fatalities”. And these moves were rarely easy to complete. Being pre-internet, the moves had to be “traded” by word of mouth and learned by the process of gameplay.

In 1993, the Kombat madness continued with the release of Mortal Kombat 2. Soon after home releases were developed for both the SNES and the Genesis. The SNES was famous for having removed the blood and replaced it with “sweat” since Nintendo was family oriented. While the Pepsi-generation Genesis was all about violence and blood.


The violence in 90s games was ramping up the government took notice and created the ESRB or the Entertainment Software Rating Board. And much like the ratings on movies, comics, and CDS, the fun police added another marker that never stopped anyone from buying or playing, or watching them.

Mortal Kombat 1 will be released in September of this year. Which marks a full circle back to the origins of the first game with modern graphics. I hope this is not a sign of the well running dry. Either way, Classic Mortal Kombat will forever be cemented in the minds of gamers and nerds alike.

Seven things about Mortal Kombat:


  • The Original Cast of Characters

    The original game included Goro, Johnny Cage, Kano, Liu Kang, Raiden, Reptile, Scorpion, Shang Tsung, Sonya Blade, and Sub-Zero. I’ve always loved the dynamic between Scorpion and Sub-Zero.

  • Freddy Vs Jason Mortal Kombat Style!

    Action and Horror fans should love those that were added in MK 9, MK 10, and MK 11. Kratos, Freddy Krueger, Jason Voorhees, Predator, Alien, Leatherface, Spawn, Terminator, Robocop, and John Rambo.

  • Jean Claude Van Damme

    According to Mentalfloss.com, at the time of the original release, Jean Claude Van Damme was a huge action star, and Johnny Cage was modeled after him. Much of the game was modeled after the Van Damme movie Blood SportWhich is an incredible movie of long Van Damme yelling hits. And the huge and awesome Bolo Yeung!

  • Flawless Victory

    Mortal Kombat was created in 10 months by 4 people. Using stop-motion and motion-capture graphics and five actors, they created iconic characters that have lasted for three decades.

  • He's Got Four Arms!

    All of the original characters were portrayed by real actors except for Goro. Goro was done with stop motion with clay.

  • Toasty

    Mortal Kombat has featured lots of Easter eggs over the years. One of the more famous is “Toasty”, an inside joke by sound designer, Dan Forden. At one point you can unlock a secret character, Smoke if timed right when “Toasty” appears.

  • Friendship

    Mortal Kombat’s “Fatality” has spawned numerous variations such as Brutality, Animality, Babality, and the best, Friendship.

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