Lessons From…Mortal Kombat (Game Series. Not the sub-par movies)

I remember playing Mortal Kombat for the first time at my friend’s house across the street. Neither one of us had ever been big Sega, so we played the watered down Super Nintendo version. Even without the blood and violent finishing moves, it was still a spectacular experience playing through the tower of increasingly difficult opponents. While I have never been a die hard fighting game fanatic, Mortal Kombat holds a special place in my game roster, and I usually at least pay attention to any new developments the series tries.

This trip down memory lane in my mind was fueled by news, and videos, of the newest game in the franchise, Mortal Kombat X. As I recalled my experiences playing several iterations of the franchise, thoughts on what lessons the game had imparted flooded my mind. Of course, I had to write a post on what I recollected. As always SPOILERS ahead.

To be fair, if I am spoiling Mortal Kombat for you, it's your own damn fault at this point.

To be fair, if I am spoiling Mortal Kombat for you, it’s your own damn fault at this point.

Video games have been proven to have beneficial elements like increased concentration, increased emotional state, better hand eye coordination (though to be fair, if you do anything with your hands and eyes working in conjunction this would improve), etc. However, for me the potential of electronic entertainment as a means of instruction and education went beyond these simple measures and tests. One thing that Mortal Kombat taught me, and a lesson all should take to heart, is somethings should just be for the pursuit of fun. Personally, I have never been good at fighting games. At best, all I could manage is a series of superb button mashes that resulted in awesomeness on the screen. Of course, this never stopped me from having fun with the game. For all the randomness I employed, the experience of lounging with friends, talking trash, and trying to best one another was the true joy of Mortal Kombat. I don’t recall all the matches I played, but I remember the laughs and the thrill of mindlessly executing a cool maneuver.

This all looks like a giant mess that I could never purposely accomplish.

This all looks like a giant mess that I could never purposely accomplish.

As much fun as button mashing was, the best game play and matches occurred when the two best players would eventually go head to head. Seriously, randomness and talent will always lose out to skill and there is nothing more beautiful or elegant than seeing pure skill on display. I don’t remember the exact players, but I recall their chosen characters. It was always the ninjas: Sub-Zero versus Scorpion. When I played them. it was a flurry of flashes and random moves. But when they played them, it was poetry in motion. Each move flawlessly executed; only to be expertly blocked and countered. It was almost like watching a real fight between two hungry human fighters. Whatever the craft or art, there is perfection in seeing masters perform. If you are lucky enough to see it, treasure the experience.

It's always the ninjas.

It’s always the ninjas.

Obviously, there is far more to learn from this decades long series, but for now, I simply suggest that you go and play the game as soon and as long as you can.

Thus endeth today’s lessons.

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