Step aside, Street Fighter. Get out of here, Tekken. Guinness World Records has decided to showcase Mortal Kombat and its “laundry list of gutsy feats.” In celebration of the upcoming release of Mortal Kombat (Mortal Kombat 9), Guinness has provided us with a large list of records held by the Mortal Kombat franchise.
Mortal Kombat started way back in 1992 and became famous in arcades for its violent and gory gameplay as well as unique characters. Gamers couldn’t get enough and parents couldn’t slow it down. In fact, the game was so controversial it is the reason the ESRB was established.
The series has been quiet the last few years, but is looking to burst back onto the scene with a heavy dose of what made the game popular in the first place. The upcoming Mortal Kombat reboot returns to its 2D roots and claims to have fun gameplay, loads of blood, and a large amount of exciting fatalities.
The records below are taken from the Guinness World Records 2011 Gamer’s Edition. Check them out and reminisce about your favorite Mortal Kombat experiences.
- Longest-serving videogame voice actor: The longest-serving videogame voice actor is Ed Boon (USA), the creator of Mortal Kombat (NetherRealm Studios, 1991), who has voiced the character Scorpion in every 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 (ESRB) is an industry organization set 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 came 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 videogame and its related products. Leaving aside 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.
Many of the records are impressive, but some of them are quite a stretch. Seriously, is “highest grossing film based on a beat’em up video game” something to brag about? The movie isn’t anything to write home about and I’m pretty sure Mortal Kombat doesn’t belong in the beat’em up genre anyway.
On the other hand, Ed Boon’s dedication to voicing Scorpion in every Mortal Kombat game is definitely a feat worthy of recognition. All of the records together paint a good picture of how revolutionary the franchise has been and how it has shaped the fighting game genre and video games as a whole.
What’s your favorite fighting game series? Does Mortal Kombat deserve these records?
Mortal Kombat will be available April 19, 2011 for Xbox 360 and PS3.
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