The Many Kontroversies of Mortal Kombat – Laser Time #379

Even for a medium riddled with high profile scapegoats, Mortal Kombat is still probably the most infamous video game of all-time. Join us as we look back on the beloved fighting series and go-to political punching bag: FIGHT!


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4 thoughts on “The Many Kontroversies of Mortal Kombat – Laser Time #379

  1. Howard Philips (of bowtie, Nester, and Lost Levels rejection fame) and Howard Lincoln (former chairman of Nintendo, heard testifying to Congress in this episode) are two different people.

  2. Few little additional factoids:
    The crossover of talent between video and pinball went both ways. Ed Boon (before he moved over solely to arcade coding) only worked on pinball until MK. Best known games include Black Knight 2000 and F-14 Tomcat. His biggest contribution though is probably as the voice of Rudy in Funhouse:

    Those two kids in the banner for this podcast are Josh and Zach Sharpe. Both professional pinball players, Josh is CFO at Raw Thrills (run by Eugene Jarvis) and Zach is head of marketing at Stern Pinball. They’re also the sons of Roger Sharpe, “The Man who Saved Pinball”:

    Sorry for the info dump, thought some people might find it interesting!

  3. I remember the sensationalistic news stories about Mortal Kombat, but it didn’t make any actual difference because the game was everywhere and nobody batted an eye. Back then 711 had arcade cabinets, and the local one had Mortal Kombat, right in the the front of the store everyone could see without even needing to go in. But I remember going there one day and suddenly Mortal Kombat was gone and replaced with… Mortal Kombat II and it blew my mind. I went to school the next day trying to describe the game “one of the new characters is like Wolverine, he has blades that come out of his arms”. Within a few weeks the game was everywhere, either replacing Mortal Kombat or right alongside it at larger arcades in the area.

    The congressional hearings were such an obvious joke that clearly nobody on any side took seriously at all, Sega tried to mitigate things as much as they could and Nintendo did what they did during the entirety of the 16-bit era and dug their head in the sand. I had friends with parents who were a bit concerned about the violence in Mortal Kombat, but had Night Trap and knew that it was a complete non-issue, so trying to politically tie Mortal Kombat with Night Trap just showed how full of shit they were and did absolutely no research whatsoever and had no idea what they were talking about.

    If they had actually done any research whatsoever, when Howard Lincoln was talking about the family friendly clean image of Nintendo all that would have to be done to counter that was pull up an image of Bionic Commando and its extremely graphic exploding Hitler head.

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