What’s the difference between Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter? If you’re a 90s kid like me, chances are that the major difference is that you were only allowed to play one of them. Mortal Kombat hit the gaming world like a bicycle kick right to the moral fiber and got all of America up in arms.
Where Street Fighter played the fighting game genre close to the chest and tried to leverage kung-fu fever in its purest form, MK went all-out with energy attacks, supernatural plots, and gruesome finishing moves. As the decade rolled on, MK became synonymous with that quintessential 90s quality: attitude. There was something about playing the controversial versus brawler that felt edgy and rebellious. Where Street Fighter was classic, all-togther-now arena rock, MK was unapologetic garage punk—strengthened, not crippled, by its accompanying stream of negative press. The game had street cred and a playground-discussion appeal rarely matched in its time. (Have you fought Reptile? Do you know how to do an Animality?) While Street Fighter set up the technical foundation on which versus fighters are still built today, Mortal Kombat was conquering classroom discourse and, you know, inspiring the creation of the ESRB.
So naturally, someone decided to make a movie out of the thing.