RIP Ralph Baer
I really, really hate writing obits. I really do. But I take it as a personal honor to be able to say good things about the men and women I respect, whether in this industry or just in my life, and Ralph Baer is the reason all of this exists in the first...
Oh, did I not tell you this? I think the whole video game world record fad is bull shit. So why am I writing about Mortal Kombat breaking 10 bull shit world records?
My boss is nuts about Mortal Kombat.
It's true. Anthony beat my ass 50 times in a row and reached Noob Saibot. He messed with my head, letting me win one round before stomping me to dust. So on the eve of the ninth title in the franchise's history we're honoring several milestones in video game history:
Longest-serving video game voice actor:The longest-serving video game voice actor is Ed Boon, the creator of Mortal Kombat who has voiced the character Scorpion in ever iteration of the game since its debut.
Earliest game to trigger the set-up of a software ratings board:Established in 1994, the Entertainment Software Rating Board is an industry organization wet up in response to the public reaction to Mortal Kombat. In an effort to avoid compulsory censorship, the ESRB set about applying ratings to games similar to those applied to movies. The move cam as a consequence of pressure from the US Congress.
Largest promotional campaign for a fighting video game:According to CNN, in 1995 Mortal Kombat staged the largest ever promotional campaign for a video game and its related products. Leaving asside initial pre-release promotion the Mortal Kombat movie opened on 2,000 screens in the USA on August 18 of that year, followed by a direct-to-video digital animation special on August 29, a live-action Mortal Kombat tour launched from Radio City Music Hall in New York on September 14, an interactive CD-ROM on October 1 and finally the release of Mortal Kombat 3 the video game on October 15.
Most numbered entries in a fighting game series:The largest fighting game series is Mortal Kombat. It has gone through more iterations than any other fighting game series. The ninth installment is due in 2011. Although Street Fighter has been running far longer than Mortal Kombat, and has more variations available to buy, it has only reached the fourth change to its core gameplay. Street Fighter IV arrived in 2008.
Earliest one-on-one fighting game to use digitized sprites:The 1992 launch of Mortal Kombat offered something that no other beat-’em-up had. In addition to ultra-violence and killing moves, it presented a brand new level of realism through the use of digitized sprites. Rather than using hand-drawn animation characters, the sprites used were based on graphics created using digitized footage of real actors.
Earliest video game poster to be censored:On April 22, 2003, Britain’s Advertising Standard’s Authority (ASA) took the then unprecedented step of condemning the poster campaign promoting Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance. They claimed that the poster -which showed a “hoodie” wiping his bloodstained hand on a businessman above the words “It’s in us all” – was “irresponsible” and “condoned violence”. The poster was unsurprisingly withdrawn.
Earliest successful console fighting game:Although a very popular arcade game, when Mortal Kombat was released for the home market it took an incredible $1 billion-a-year in the first two full years of release. Needless to say, the game very quickly established itself as the number one choice among fighting gamers the world over.
Earliest 3D fighting game to offer online play:Although online play is now a standard feature in all new fighting games, the first online playable 3D fighter was Mortal Kombat: Deception, released in 2004. The game offered one-on-one fighting between two players over the Internet, in addition to two, more sedate mini games – Puzzle Kombat and Chess Kombat.
Highest grossing film based on a beat ‘em up video game:Mortal Kombat (USA, 1996) still holds the record for the highest grossing movie based on a beat ‘em up video game, having taken an impressive $122 million.
Most successful video game spin-off soundtrack album:Released on August 15, 1995, the Mortal Kombat soundtrack album, which accompanied the $100 million movie, went platinum within ten days of release. The album included contributions from artists as diverse as Orbital, Napalm Death and Traci Lords.
See what I mean? While I never knew that Ed Boon was the voice actor behind "GET OVER HERE!" I can't say that I believe "Earliest successful console fighting game" is world record.
Here's the issue I have revolving around "video game world records:" This medium is so young, nearly everything is a world record. It's like giving an award to the guy who filmed a train coming towards the camera for being the first film maker to scare the shit out of an audience.