This essay is going to focus on one of the digital games that was developed over two decades ago; mortal kombat. Mortal Kombat is a video game that has always been favorite for many people over the years especially among the teens. The essay shall cover the following areas: the visual, auditory and tactile signs provided by the game to its players together with the meaning of every sign. The significance of every sign shall also be articulated transparently within the essay. The essay shall also outline the approach that shall be taken by the researcher for the analysis of the game. Various kinds of interactivity offered by the game shall also be illustrated transparently within the essay. The significance of the game's form of interactivity shall also be deliberated upon within the essay to give a piece of clear information to the reader. The essay shall also outline various rules of the game highlighting what the rules teach us about the ideology of the game. The essay shall further outline audience positioning as far as the game is concerned with the suggestions it offers regarding its ideal audience with their influence in the meaning of the game. The thoughts and influence of ideal players concerning the meaning of the game shall also be outlined effectively within the essay. The essay shall also focus on various ideologies communicated by the game about the real world. The reason for its popularity in the 1990s shall also be outlined in the essay. The researcher shall conclude the essay by giving his thoughts about the game.
The history of mortal kombat
The video game was initially developed in 1992 by midway gaming company located in Chicago (Studios, Entertainment& Poland, 2015). The developers; Ed Boon and John Tobias had an idea of coming up with a video where Jean Claude Van Damme was the starring, but the idea failed which made them create Mortal kombat as a perfect replacement for the original game (Bogost, 2006). The game became famous and has been one of the most successful video games in history since it is based on a true story. There have been a series of upgrading on the game over the years. The first upgrade was in 1993 which was entitled mortal kombat 2, then mortal kombat 3 in 1995, ultimate mortal kombat 3 in 1995 and the mortal kombat Trilogy in 1996. The first version of the game took place in the earth realm where seven different warriors had various reasons to enter a tournament that had been established with the prize of continued freedom in their world which was to be overtaken by the outside world. The version of the game featured some of the most established warriors such as Liu Kang, Johnny Cage, and Sonya Blade. The earth realm warriors attained victory in the courtesy of their thunder god Raiden which made Liu Kang the champion of mortal kombat. Mortal kombat 2 was very interesting where earth realm warriors were lured to the outside world by Emperor Shao Kahn where the emperor eventually defeated them. In mortal kombat 3, Shao Kahn revived Sindel the former queen for Edenia, and they tried to invade the earth realm, but they were defeated by the warriors of the earth world realm for the second time. In mortal kombat (IV), the former elder god called Shinnok attempted to conquer the realms and tried to kill Raiden who was the thunder god of the realms, and the earth realm warriors also defeated him. The last version of the game mortal kombat (xi) has only two survivors Shao Kahn and Raiden after a severe war culminated between the warriors of the six realms.
The visual and auditory signs portrayed by the game
The visual signs
The game has many graphics portraying the fighters. The game has various controls that are used to manipulate the movement of the fighters. The fighters are usually dressed in war attires where they are both gigantic. The oozing blood after an attack is a clear sign of danger in an opponent's life. When an opponent is killed, this is clear evidence of defeat. There is a timer that determines the starting point and the finishing point for the fighters. The visual signs are very crucial because it invokes feelings to the player where he feels he is the real person challenging the opponent especially in the circumstance where his player is injured, and blood oozes.
The game is usually accompanied by a specific type of music which always plays more when the players have caused the game. There are also specific sounds produced when a punch or a kick is thrown. When one of the fighters die, he produces a particular sound which notifies the player that the virtual payer is dead. The auditory sign is essential because it makes the game real for the player when the soundtracks for kicks and punches are heard during the play.
The approach used in Mortal kombat
The company used the ludology approach in the designing of this wonderful video game (Davidson, 2011). This is because of the aligning the players with their culture within the game. It is evident that the realm warriors had their god of war called Raiden who ensured that they achieve victory whenever they fought against the intruders from the outside world. The players also used witchcraft to achieve a victory which is clear evidence of the culture that surrounded them (Jhon, 2018). This is very significant to the players because it enables them to appreciate or condemn the culture that surrounds the players. This approach depicts the tactical skills used by the fighters which are usually applied in the real world. It depicts the actual skills that be used by individuals when in danger. According to Frasca (2003) this approach entails the use of characters who exist in real life experience by enhancing their skills through efficient programming to match their strengths in the game with their real abilities which creates a sense of reality to the players and it makes it be more than just a game but an enjoyable experience for the players.
Interactivities offered by the game
The game has two user interface where two people can play at the same time. It has the arcade control board that uses a joystick and five buttons that enhance the total control of the game by the two players. The other user interface is the skin touchpad where the user uses a touch-sensitive layer on the wrist to control the players when playing. When there is a single player, he sets the interface appropriately, takes one side of the joystick and proceeds accordingly with the game. The Mortal combat provides the player with an opportunity to interact with the virtual fighter in the computer by controlling his fighter using the appropriate tools of control designed for various purposes like kicking and punching. The wall-based surface is the most preferable by the players because it enables them to play from comfortable sitting positions and furthermore; it allows flexibility. The players interact appropriately with the features of the game by clicking on the start button and after that control one side using the specific button to throw a fist, kick or self-defense against the opponent. The video enables the two players in different destinations to compete online via a secure internet connection. This enables the users to compare their standards of the game with those of their friends in other parts of the world. A play who interferes with the connection lose some points when another player forfeits the match.
The rules of the game
The existing rules focus on either the gameplay or the bracket play.
Rules For the gameplay
Third-party communication is allowed through various platforms such as party chat, skype and team speak. If a player delays during the first 20seconds or after he has been injured and blood are oozing from his body he will lose that round or the math would be restarted and played until the player has the potential of winning the game. Any form of cheating, unsports man like behavior, glitching and an abuse of the game mechanics results to the forfeit of the match by one of the players or a ban from game battles. The player will lose the round if he lags out after the first 20 seconds or after blood is drawn and he will have to restart the game to stand a better chance of winning. For a single match, only the players on the two teams and the MLG staff are viable to participate, and if a player is found to have invited an ineligible player, the game would be forfeited with immediate effect. This implies that a game without rules is worthless; hence the designers did an excellent job for Mortal kombat because the rules limit the players to some mischievous acts such as quitting the game before it is over.
Rules for the Bracket play
A standard default start time exists for all the round one matches. After the first round, the single default start time for the teams depends upon the submission time for the previous results. The general that applies, in this case, states that all the matches should be started at their default start time and played until completion. A team that loses a match in a single elimination tournament is usually eliminated from the competition. March rescheduling is not allowed except for the finals. Warm up or practice games are not allowed once the first match of the tournament has commenced.
What the rules depict about the ideology of the game
Every competition has rules and regulations which has to be adhered to for effectivity. This game adheres to this general law. The idea of the game is to motivate the players by giving them a chance to compete against each other. The players play within the rules with a clear mind that a player can forfeit the match if the opponent misbehaves. The rule depicts that the players have to be more dangerous when competing against each other and avoid acts that may result in the cancellation of the match. The rules give a piece of clear evidence that Mortal kombat has its own rules just like all the other games and they should not be violated against all the odds by the players.
Mortal kombat has players in all parts of the world. This is due to its attractive features and graphics. The game has gained popularity among the youths especially in the United States of America. This is crucial for the company because the more it is downloaded, the more the company earns. This game targets the youths who like to compete and the unique features of the game provides them with a suitable opportunity to compete effectively against each other. The game has been advertised through various blogs which have made it popular in the world. The audience has a significant influence on the meaning of the game because they always give it a priority over the other games that exist in the market. They cherish the game, and they have been upgrading the game till the latest version mortal kombat (xi). The game perceives its ideal players as the people who have much interest in action movies; hence the game offers them a real experience.
Ideologies communicated by the game
Violence as the means for success.
The game outlines violence as means for achieving the goal in life. The game perceives violence as a common thing in the society which has resulted to violent behavior among the youths in the society as it was in 1999 at the Columbine school in the US were two young men ended up the lives of many people in Littleton. It was found out that the two were addicted players of mortal kombat which might have given them the courage of performing such as heinous act without fearing the consequences. The game portrays murder as a common thing which is against the societal norms.
Depiction of Asian culture
Mortal kombat 2 depicts Asians as martial artist experts. This is evident through the use of many Asian characters such as Kitana, Kung Lao, Liu Kang, Mileena, Raiden, Scorpion, Shang Tsung, and Sub- Zero. This is very crucial for the players because it gives an understanding of the Asian culture appreciating them for the practical application of martial arts in the entertainment industry.
Equality in society
The game depicts female characters performing some of the deadly moves such as males, and they are depicted to be superb in self-defense as they deal with their opponents. The game depicts women as, especially where a female fighter wins all the duels due to her excellent skills and determination like men. It is also clear from the game that the woman does not flinch at the sight of blood.
The game provides the players with excellent skills as far self-defense is concerned (Hutin, Pérez-Quintero, Lopez & Szurek, 2015). This is due to the significant moves by the fighters against their enemies. Research has shown that the obsessed players tend to acquire some of the skills and when faced by a real-life situation they end up applying the skills obtained from the game.
Reason for its popularity
Mortal kombat became famous for various reasons in the early 1990s after its creation. Some of the reasons are:
- Because of the blood that often spattered across the screen whenever an opponent was hit and vice-versa. This created much interest to the players because it made the game to appear real enhancing a feeling of victory by the players.
- The game incorporated real martial artists such as Liu Kang, Sub-Zero and Johnny Cage who were the people’s favorite during those days. The game provided the players with an opportunity to choose their favorite fighter and compete in various tournaments with their opponents in the presence of the emperor of the outside world.
- The use of digitalized graphics made the game attractive for the players who were willing to have a feeling of the real-life fighting experience especially for those who had a passion for action movies.
- The characters had various unique finishing moves where sub-zero ripped out the spines of his opponents, and Johnny Cage punched his opponents’ heads off gushing the blood everywhere on the arena and scorpion breathed out fire and burned his opponents to ashes.
- The game had scored for each attack which enabled two players to compete against each other enhancing the passion in the game.
The implication of the game in society
The game has enhanced an increase in violence in society due to the obsession of the players (Goerger, 2017). Research has indicated that we become what we watch and listen to in our daily lives. This implies that the players become violent due to their daily interaction with violence when playing the game. The game makes them aggressive as they quench for victory; hence they are proud when they kill their opponents (Porter & Goolkasian, 2019). The game portrays feminism where female characters challenge each other instead of supporting each other to conquer those who oppress those (Richards, 2016). This is a bad picture of the society, and this has resulted in many criticisms of the game from the society. The game has also resulted in laziness and time wastage among the youths more so in the United States who spend sleepless nights competing and prefer to miss lectures which hurts their performance. The time that would have been spending in productive activity is spent in mortal kombat. Another research indicates that Mortal kombat relaxes the brain after a busy schedule at work. This is because individuals tend to concentrate and focus on achieving victory. The video game has also contributed to the economic growth of the United States of America because the company sells to a majority of web site owners who avails its access to the people.
Mortal kombat is a beautiful game, and the designer had no bad intentions since it was a form of entertainment using virtual characters. Individuals should have the self-control to avoid been influenced by the game into violence behaviors. The game should be played as a form of relaxing the mind after a busy schedule but not spending the whole day in front of a screen, and this is not good for a person's health. Mortal kombat has been improved throughout the years, and the current feature in the market is mortal kombat xi which is very interesting and attractive.
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