Mortal Kombat

December 6, 2012


The video games industry was going through a slump as the 1980s turned to the 1990s, but the entire industry revived abruptly when Midway introduced “Mortal Kombat” in 1992.  

The game achieved notoriety inside and outside the gamer community when it became known that secret codes had been programmed into the game: when activated, the codes changed “Mortal Kombat” from a run-of-the-mill kick-and-punch match between mutants into a bloody battle to the death at whose conclusion the victor would rip the still-beating heart from his vanquished opponent’s chest, or tear his hapless opponent’s spine out and hold it triumphantly aloft, or blast his prostrate opponent to ashes.

The game unleashed a debate over the effect of violent video games on children, which continued throughout the 1990s. But the immense popularity of “Mortal Kombat” guaranteed that other games would compete to outdo it in both violence and realism. The game established Midway as a major force in the video game field and provided the company with the financial resources to develop new games and eventually expand beyond the arcade market.




Street Fighter

December 6, 2012


Street Fighter has long been considered the holy grail of fighting games for its unique mix of style and strategy, and its challenging battle system. However, even though it seems Street Fighter has been around forever, this series actually had meager beginnings. Our story begins with an arcade cabinet in 1987…

The original Street Fighter was a minimalist game, unleashed on arcades nearly two decades ago. The game featured two playable characters: Ryu and Ken. Ryu was the persistent first character, but if someone wanted to play as Ken, he would automatically be selected as the second character. 

The game didn’t have much of a story, and there wasn’t that much to the battle system (there were only three attacks for each character).

However, the game became a cult hit and set the stage for what would be the biggest game in Street Fighter history.

Street Fighter II was released in 1991, and went on to become the best-selling title in Capcom’s history. Though the Street Fighter series was relatively unknown outside the arcade sphere, Street Fighter II was released both in arcades and on home consoles, and it was the latter that really gave Street Fighter II its staying power. It launched on both Capcom’s CP System as well as on the SNES, and though all these versions were nearly identical, the game proved to be a breakout hit on the SNES.

In addition to boosting the move rosters of the game’s original core characters, the game also included several new characters who would go on to become staples of the franchise, including M. Bison, Vega, Guile and Chun-Li. Street Fighter II’s success became the stuff of legend fairly quickly, and Capcom looked to capitalize on its success with several re-releases including Street Fighter II: Championship Edition, Street Fighter II: Hyper Fighting, Super Street Fighter II, and Super Street Fighter II Turbo. These subsequent releases included more characters, extra moves, and improved technical elements.