The most curious and at the same time strange subspecies of pursuit returned with another update to Mortal Kombat 11. These silly sketches of sudden friendliness performed by the fighters, who just hammered each other in a bloody mess, may seem to be something alien to the series but the roots of this phenomenon go back to the origins of cult series of fighting games.
Friendship and babality first appeared in the second part of Mortal Kombat and became an ironic echo of the loud scandal that gave birth to part one. The original game was ahead of its time not only in the realism of graphics and animation but also in the level of brutality. One thing is conditional violence when one bunch of pixels with poor special effects “defeated” another bunch of pixels, and quite another – deliberately bloody and as far as it was possible in general realistic scenes of beatings and murders.
The conservative American public turned out to be completely unprepared for the fact that instead of fun races on the green lawns, children would suddenly begin to arrange naturalistic abominations in the most perverse forms on TV screens. Video games were not too far away from ordinary physical toys, both in the public consciousness and in marketing positioning. By the way, many modern video game publishers, like Nintendo or Bandai, have bailed out of toy manufacturers.
Concerned about the crippled “Death Battle” children’s psyche, the public spilled righteous anger first on television and then in the U.S. Congress, where Senator Joseph Lieberman argued for government regulation of the gaming industry, illustrating his arguments with eloquent footage from Mortal Kombat.
As a result of congressional hearings, the independent American rating commission ESRB was established in 1994 and continues to operate to our days. Similar commissions have been established in other regions. PEGI took up age ratings in Europe, USK – in Germany, RARS – in Russia, and so on.
Thanks to the first Mortal Kombat games are no longer children’s entertainment officially, for which the audience around the world thanked the developers from Midway with unprecedented attention and highest sales. Not only the controversy about the game was heard from every TV, but also the new status “adults only” worked for all possible age audiences as a call to action, because there is nothing more desirable than the forbidden.
Midway got a huge audience and a legal field cleaned up from angry activists. The fight was won on all fronts and before “flawless victory” there was only one touch missing – especially the mocking finishing off. This was the “flawless victory”, the most ridiculous finishing into the even more bloody second part of the fighting.
Did you want less brutality? Get idiotic soap bubble scenes. Were you worried about the kids’ immature psyche? Here’s your opportunity to turn violent killers into roaring babies.
Simple players appreciated all the irony of what was happening, so perceived the “good finishing” up to the end of the fourth generation of consoles. In 1997, Midway probably thought the joke had dragged on, so they didn’t add Friendship with Babality into part 4. The “babality” did come back to Mortal Kombat 9 for a short while.
There are not any trolling or ironic implications from the authors of the game anymore, but they work perfectly for the oldest fans of “Deathly Battles”, whose fragile childish psyche was “brutally broken” in the mid-nineties.