After a delay, a lot of hype and a slew of trailers in the last few weeks it’s finally here. GTA V graced the consoles on September 17 and gaming world as we know it may never be the same. It’s hard for me to talk about GTA V, mostly because the more I spend talking about it the more time it takes away from me actually playing it. And that’s a terrible thought, because I can’t stand the thought of anything taking away time from me playing GTA V.
MonkeyPaw Games have imported one of the most “Japanese” styled games to the Playstation network. The sort of game that will make you question everything in life at first glance then make you question it again with an accent for some reason at a second glance. Cho Aniki, or for its full title: Ch? Aniki: Ky?kyoku Muteki Ginga Saiky? Otoko which apparently means something along the lines of: Super Big Bro: The Strongest, Most Ultimate Invincible Man in the Milky Way. I’m not sure which is worse.
Recently, thanks to the PlayStation deals of getting Resident Evil games half price (or free if you’re a PlayStation plus member) I have been playing all of the Resident Evil games. I already owned Resident Evil for the DS cleverly titled Deadly Silence (get it…? DS?). So naturally I’ve been playing it all from the beginning to Resident Evil 5, while playing I’ve come to realize that the old style plays a lot better at times than the new gameplay. Then I’ve finally made it to Resident Evil 4. The game in the series that took a different route and threw the “survival/horror” aspect right out the window and became a third-person shooter. The game is great mind you, but it definitely wasn’t as chilling as the original three. Then I played Resident Evil 5 and as much as I enjoyed it I’m starting to think that the series should return to its roots because I didn’t enjoy it as much as Resident Evil 4.
Resident Evil 5 was good albeit tried to mimic the style of Resident Evil 4 a little too much. It didn’t have that same impact RE4 did although it did and still does look great. There is something about…
Just like our What happened to Sonic the Hedgehog article, we will be looking at Mortal Kombat from being one of the greatest fighting games to one of the worst. We will be taking a personal look along with nostalgic memories. So what happened to Mortal Kombat?
Mortal Kombat was one of the most successful fighting games in the 90s. Especially in the arcades. Going against the fast paced Street Fighter II, Mortal Kombat offered one thing that Street Fighter II did not. Blood. Lots and lots of blood. Unfortunately Mortal Kombat went from being one of the best fighters to, not one of the worst, but instead to one that became pretty average. So what happened to Mortal Kombat?
Starting off in the arcades I remember being extremely crappy at the game but loved how bloody it was. Fighting some random guy with Scorpion vs. Sub-Zero, using the only two moves we knew. Freezing and a sick amount of “get over here”. It was fun and the blood splurging out really made me enjoy it. Then I faced a guy who obviously knew what he was doing, he chose Sub- Zero and again I chose Scorpion. He kicked my ass royalty. As I was almost brought to tears because I got my ass handed to me, I start to let go of the joy stick. Before I turn around he pressed a bunch of buttons, the screen dims and he rips my head off! The spine hanging from my severed head; while my body lay like a banana peel tossed on the ground. I cried like a little girl who lost her dog. That image terrified me and I was not expecting it at all. I stayed away from that game until it made it to the beloved Sega Genesis. At first the Goro level music terrified me, after days and playing I got used to it. Then I tried finding out how he ripped my head off, convincing my brother that it is possible to do so. Unfortunately for me my brother knew how to do Scorpions fatality. Again ripped mask off, blew fire at me and my skeleton appeared. Yet again I cried at the terrifying image.
After I eventually got used to the images and I eventually learned how to do some fatalities. Mortal Kombat was good but not great. A friend of mine owned an SNES and had both Street Fighter II and Mortal Kombat, we chose Street Fighter II over Mortal Kombat due to the fact that there was no gore on the SNES version, instead of blood, there was “sweat”, in reality it was blood just with a palette of gray instead of red. Comparing the graphics of Mortal Kombat to Street Fighter II was something to point out. It wasn’t sprites but rather people animated in still frames; this could be the reason why so many of us, especially me, was terrified of the gore. Parents were outraged at the amount of blood being shot out on the screen. There was only one thing for Midway to do. Release another game with more blood and more characters instead of just the 7 characters to choose from. Kano, Johnny Cage, Liu Kang, Raiden,Scorpion, Sonya Blade,Sub-Zero. If you’re lucky you may even play as Reptile. Goro is the sub boss of this game and with his 4 arms he was sort of a jerk when it came to beating. Things only got worse with Shang Tsung being able to transform to any other character in Mortal Kombat and he was able to use any special moves as well.
The characters in Mortal Kombat really made the game stand out from the rest of the crowd. Sub-Zero, Scorpion and Reptile especially. Scorpion’s famous war cry “get over here” has become sort of a big part of our culture. Just go up to someone and stick your hand out while screaming “get over here’ and chances are they know what you’re referencing. Although the three ninjas (Sub-Zero, Scorpion and reptile, not the movie 3 ninjas) all have the same style, the only thing that was different is their colours, this remedy would be a known trait in Mortal Kombat in which they use the same character model and switch the colours around to make a “new” fighter.
Mortal Kombat II
When Mortal Kombat II hit the shelves people couldn’t wait to own the arcade port on their favourite console. It added more characters such as Baraka, Jax Briggs, Kitana, Kung Lao and Mileena along with returning fighters such as Sub-Zero, Johnny Cage ,Liu Kang ,Raiden, Reptile, Scorpion and Shang Tsung as a playable character. Just like Mortal Kombat with the secret character Reptile, Mortal Kombat II offered more hidden fighters such as Jade, Noob Saibot and Smoke, all three characters are examples of pallette swaps used as mentioned previously. Jade being a green coloured version Kitana, Noob Saibot being a black coloured version of the Ninja’s model and Smoke (in this version at least) being a gray version of the ninja’s model. a jump of 12 characters to choose from rather then 7 really gave play even more reason to come back and play. Try out the new moves, try out the new fatalities and just go nuts with more variety.
Along with a batch of new characters, Mortal Kombat II also added more blood and gore. There were also stage fatalities added, such as upper cutting someone off a bridge to land on a pit of spikes. Or upper cutting them into the sewer of acid, where a skeleton would float on by. The famous level being the subway level, where once you uppercut the opponent he or she would land on the tracks where a subway would then hit them. This was all fine and dandy, the graphics weren’t as better, but they did animate better. The controls were just as stiff and slow as before. Mortal Kombat II being a game that didn’t seem to take it self serious also gave players a treat by offering not only very gruesome fatalities, but also Babalities and Friendships.
Midway added the Friendship’s and Babalities as a way of making fun of the controversy behing Mortal Kombat and saying it isn’t really that bad. Babalities would turn the opponent into a baby version of themselves and friendships would result in a fighter doing something silly. The game would dim like a fatality was about to be done and instead of seeing a head explode you’ll see Shang Tsung make a friendly rainbow. This was a real treat among us gamers because it was really really funny. We liked the gore of Fatalities the randomness of Babalities and the humour of Friendships.
The only thing that was different about Mortal Kombat and Mortal Kombat II, were the people playing the game. Now older and now wanting more and more. Although Mortal Kombat does contain a storyline, it didn’t really matter to us. We didn’t play any of the Mortal Kombat games because we wanted to see Scorpion get his revenge. We just wanted to fight and pull fatalities. Besides the Mortal Kombat film tried to explain the story, sort of, not really. Basically it was good vs. bad.
Mortal Kombat II really did improve on what was an other wise OK game, this can be seen at the landmark and would only get better in the next batch. Mortal Kombat is known for characters How do you make a franchise like Mortal Kombat become bigger and badder, well you add bigger and badder characters, even more fatalities and a lot of easter eggs, such as they did in Mortal Kombat III.
Mafia II has recently attracted protest from UNICO National, a group set up to “promote and enhance the image of Italian Americans”. After reading of how the group protested the game at its launch I spoke to them to gain a better understanding of why the game upset them so much.
The focus of your protest seems to be that you think this game will provoke negative connotations of Italian Americans. How do you respond to the claim that the Italian Mafia is a historical point for games to examine?
Of course, there is no denying that, in the period portrayed in “Mafia II” there were Italian Americans in organized crime – but, the problem is, that it was not the exclusive domain of Italian Americans, as is constantly portrayed by the media. It is this constant and unrelenting exhibition of Italian Americans in the mob that creates the stereotypical perception that it is a unique characterization of only Italian Americans. During this period there were plenty of murderous thugs and criminals in organized crime that were not Italian American – but, that is not what is portrayed. If, as your question includes “…a historical point for games to examine?” – then there are many other organized gangsters and criminals that were not Italian American missing from these games.
When certain groups cry racist they can usually come across as hypocritical. For example, a black blogger protested black Zombies in Resident Evil 5. She later claimed that “all zombies should be white” and had no problem with the Mexican enemies of the previous game. Do you think that the problem you are protesting is something that is true of more groups than your own? Or would you not think it racist if the enemies were Chinese or Russian?
Let me assure you that we have, and will, object to the stereotyping or denigration of ANY group. We do not believe that anyone should be marginalized or defamed by stereotyping. However, it is painfully apparent that Italian Americans are the ONLY group in America where overt stereotyping is so rampant in today’s society. It is now not politically correct to use pejorative terms or stereotypes about other ethnicities, religions or races. But, on a daily basis, we find Italian American negative stereotyping and defamation in many venues. It is certainly not balanced, by any measure. I am so proud to be an American, and I am proud of my Italian Heritage. I can not ignore the unfair and continued stereotyping of our heritage and culture and I will stand up for any others who are subjected to such stereotyping. And, based on the large number of prominent Italian American organizations and advocates that joined us in our effort against Mafia II, there are many, many people that feel the same way.
Is your current stance against Mafia II something that is limited to the game itself, the games industry itself or against the wider range of entertainment media today? For example, if the untouchables or the Godfather were to come out today would you take issue with those?
We have consistently fought against negative stereotyping and denigration of Italian Americans for many, many years. This has included Film, TV Shows, Advertisements, Theatrical Plays, news accounts, etc. that have stereotyped Italian Americans. Our most recent effort was our campaign against the horrendous MTV series “Jersey Shore.” After our concerted protests in the first season, as well as our success in getting 12 national advertisers to pull their advertisements from the show, I am very pleased to say that the second season does not have ANY Italian American references or stereotypes. It was a long and concerted effort but we are very pleased at the result.
If your protest is at games in particular why would you say that is? Does the perceived intended age of video games have anything to do with it?
Our protest is not at games specifically, as we are consistent in protesting stereotyping, denigration and discrimination wherever we find it. However, what does concern us greatly is that a video game WILL be played by young people, including teens and pre -teens – regardless of the “M” rating (which probably makes it more enticing for young people to want to play it!). This means that a whole new generation will be exposed, for hours-and-hours and days-and-days, to the perception that it is ONLY Italian Americans who were murderous thugs and criminals in organized crime. This is not an appropriate perception that should be implanted into the subconscious psyche of young people.
You protested the launch; do you have any plans for the game next?
Do you plan to end your protest with Mafia II?
Absolutely not! Until the unfair and widespread negative stereotyping and denigration of Italian Americans ends, we will diligently campaign against any attack on our heritage and culture.