It seems like we’re having the same debate about violence in video games again. Mortal Kombat, the godfather of video game discourse, has been rebooted and the trailer for the first game has people talking about its violent content. While the visual quality of games has improved, the violence in Mortal Kombat can be seen as over-the-top and for comic effect. Other games, like The Last of Us 2, are arguably more violent and shocking. But, Mortal Kombat has always been known for its violence and gore.
There’s supposed to be a grim appeal to the intentional ridiculousness of extreme violence in horror movies and other media. Mortal Kombat is no exception with its iconic characters, rich lore, and mechanical gameplay that appeals to single-player gamers. However, the violence itself has always been a point of controversy that has been accused of corrupting society since the game’s inception in 1992.
Mortal Kombat is more than just violence and gore, but NeverRealm’s workplace practices during the creation of Mortal Kombat 11 have stirred up debate. Regardless, it’s fine to think that the violence in the game is too much. But, it’s important to acknowledge that this is not a new or unusual characteristic of the game. It’s always been over-the-top, ridiculous, and intentionally comical. It’s not necessary to defend it – it’s simply a part of the series and its appeal.