As one of the original characters from the Mortal Kombat franchise, I feel honored that the game still renders amazing fanfare. This weekend at the McCormick Center, The Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo ( C2E2 ) will feature everything and anything pop culture. With the rebirth of the1990’s, I will join my Mortal Kombat cast mates on a panel that will discuss the making of the game.
The Mortal Kombat game was created partly in response to the popularity of the Street Fighter series, which had little competition at the time. The original storyline of Mortal Kombat was creative and attentive to pop culture’s hunger for a multi-character fighting game that was less-cartoonish, featuring for the first time REAL PEOPLE. The additional blood and guts with sophisticated martial moves attracted gamers. At the time MK was released, I had 10 year old and 14 year old brothers who were crazy about the game. When I was cast as Kitana, Meleena and Jade, I had just graduated college. It was amazing to live as the ‘coolest sister ever!.’
The Mortal Kombat cast grew over the years, until they eliminated live action; but I was closest to the core group of characters. They were my training partners. After college, landing Mortal Kombat was amazing; but I was thrilled to have found a group of martial artists that helped me expand my skills. Danny Pesina, Phillip Ahn, Ho Sung Pak, Rich Divizio, Carlos Pesina, Anthony Marquez and I loved our traditional martial arts. We gathered most of the time at Lakeshore Athletic Club where we worked out together every week. Our training ranged from traditional practices of stances, to playing with weapons, to lifting weights, jumping rope and even crafting fight scenes for the all the other projects we took on.
Mortal Kombat’s continued popularity is amazing! Game creators and producers have consistently released new versions of the game over the past 25+ years. But the continued popularity of the game is rooted in the following.
- Since the average gamer is 35 years old, and 53% of the adults playing video games today are between 30 and 49 years, the original Mortal Kombat fan is likely still playing the games today. Therefore, they have followed the franchise and kept up with the latest version.
- I know first-hand, that society today allows a parent to experience a collaborative joy of toys, games and movies. Our icons are now our kid’s icons. Today’s parent has more layers to their relationship with their child. Parents over the past couple decades have become far more participatory in their kid’s interests. Parents and kids play video games together. The fan events I have attended are filled with adults my age and their children. As they step up for autographs and proudly show their favorite MK collectibles, they ask for autographs for their entire family.
- Anyone familiar with the Mortal Kombat franchise knows it was the first of its kind. MK 1,2 and 3 were part of a small window in time when technology was going digital, but the craft was still very much analogue. The fact that kids knew they were controlling real people, made the game so amazing. When the game first came out, I was commonly asked if I could really do all the moves in the game. I gladly answered by showing them the scorpion kick.
- Rich (Divizio) reminded me that the popularity of the franchise is also influenced by the retro scene, which has allowed the original fan to become re-acquainted with the cast and characters again – essentially we are all still around and assessable.
- Danny (Pesina), who I have always viewed as our leader, has built amazing relationships with fan groups around the world. He has acted as an ambassador for Mortal Kombat. Danny has been beyond gracious with fans from Luxemburg to Argentina. He continues to set the example, making the fans realize that we are friendly, responsive and appreciative to the fans.