A couple of months ago, Chris texted out of the blue that he wanted to try recording again. We are both at different phases in our life that will allow us to take an hour or so every month to sit down and dedicate that hour to simply talking about video games. Fittingly enough, this year both Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat decided to release new games. Perfect. What’s old is new again.
I thought we might start over the summer because I have more time then. That didn’t happen and then I thought we might be doomed to the dust bin of history once again. Well, things happen fast sometimes and we picked up the conversation again last month, picked a date, logged into Zoom, and recorded.
For the first one, I never tested the audio, so it might be a little off this time around. But, I’m actually testing different set ups and apps to make sure that it comes out better for future recordings. We talked about it and we have ideas at least through December. So, 4 episodes are bound to happen with more to come once we talk about next year.
In the meantime enjoy us talking about “What’s Old Is New Again” and come back next month for a discussion of our favorite spooky pop culture; movies, TV shows, and games. Last year, I started coming up with themes for each month and October (long planned and finally realized) became Spooktober, so it just made sense to follow that theme for the podcast.
Those who follow the page regularly recognize the gimmick. I started writing NFL profiles every whenever I remembered and got around to it. Because I don’t follow football nearly as closely as I once did, I got the idea for the gimmick. Because I wrote an article about the Street Fighter 6 Demo (and uploaded a short game play video) and Mortal Kombat has no such demo, I am left writing the completely ignorant Mortal Kombat 1 preview.
Of course, part of the gimmick is that I’m not completely ignorant. I spent a good 5 minutes skimming a game play video that I found on YouTube. The video clocks in at 19 minutes. I found maybe 30 seconds that I consider relevant to my discussion of the game. Don’t get me wrong. It’s a perfectly good video, but there’s a lot of repetition of the Kameo fatal blow moves. The first time, you say, “Wow!” or “Ew!” or both. By the third time, you find yourself skipping ahead to find the words, “Finish Him!” for some fatality fun.
I saw a Kenshi and a Kitana fatality. I clicked through twice to see a Johnny Cage one. Either they haven’t programmed it into the game yet or they told the individual in the video not to give too much away. Seeing as how Johnny Cage somehow became one of the faces of the franchise, I understand their reticence around the finer points of his move set.
As for the fatalities, they don’t disappoint. Rarely since the conversion to 3D has a fatality failed disappointed me. Some of the ones in MK3 were just awful. Then, in MK4, we got perhaps the greatest fatality ever envisioned with the Quan Chi leg rip. I still laugh hysterically every time I see that one. From what I saw in the video, MK1 brings the pain and maybe some laughs with the fatalities.
Mortal Kombat Mario Party
Sometimes I love living in the future. Don’t get it twisted. Sometimes living in the future absolutely blows, too. But I remember seeing an article with the tagline, “Mortal Kombat’s new play mode is like Mario Party with blood.” So, when I couldn’t remember that they actually called it “Invasions”, I searched Mortal Kombat Mario Party in Google to find a video showing off the mode.
From what I understand, it replaces the Krypt. If they made this choice after Mortal Kombat X, I might like it more. However, I liked the Krypt mode in Mortal Kombat 11 a lot. I played that mode until I unlocked every single thing available and then I played it more because I refused to search a Wiki to see what the secrets were until I was convinced there was nothing left to find.
You will have to wait for my thoughts on actual game play, fatalities, and story until after I buy the game. Unlike Street Fighter 6, I wanted to play Mortal Kombat 1 from the beginning. For whatever reason, I’m more of a Mortal Kombat fan, so I will probably end up buying this one for full price. Hell, I considered buying a PS5 just for this and the new Spider-Man game. So, look for an completely ignorant Mortal Kombat 1 preview update in the coming months.
Chris and I recorded the reboot of the reboot of 2 Guys Gaming a couple of weeks ago. In anticipation of having to write about the game again, I saw that Steam had the Street Fighter 6 demo available. You may remember that I texted him after he suggested we record again, “Let’s do SF6 and MK1. Seems like the perfect soft landing spot for us.” He agreed and then we promptly recorded the episode three months later.
Hey, we’re old guys. We have lives that don’t often coordinate. The important part is that we recorded. I plan to edit and release it on Wednesday with my MK1 article, but it might end up being Friday instead because I can’t think of another proper way to end the week. Just trust that it will come at some point this week.
Play This Game for Eternity
After loading up the game, I clicked the button to start “Battle Hub”. It informs me that the game mode isn’t available but I can watch the trailer video. Sure thing. Why not. Naturally, after showing some game play via an arcade scene, a woman comes on to the screen to tell us about the mode. But, wait.
While the character sounds feminine and wears make up and booty shorts, some might argue (not me, mind you) “That’s no woman!” and angrily throw their controller at the screen. Instead, I watched the video and actually forgot about the whole thing until later while waiting for dinner with my wife. Then, I decided to look up what the community reaction to the character was. Naturally, I found a headline about some douche bag named “Johnny Chainsaw” or some other ridiculously overtly masculine username complaining about the game as woke. Just par for the course in our national conversation surrounding LGBTQIA+ people and their mere existence.
I, for one, liked the character. They brought energy and fun to the video. They may or may not be trans. But, that’s the thing. Capcom never confirms nor denies anything. Just this individual on the screen and leaves it up to you to do with them what you may. Like Gwen in Spiderverse, it makes the point that they are here and, well, you just have to deal with it. I, for one, am here for all of it and Eternity is one of the reasons I might buy the game.
“You bastard. You flipped.”
That’s a paraphrase of Chris when he responded to my text that I wanted to buy the game. I assured him, probably not at full price but after a drop or two, for sure. When we talked, we both said that neither of us wanted to buy the game because it felt like it just offered more of the same as Street Fighter 5. We both agreed that one was a dumpster fire.
Not so this time around. When he first said to me that I flipped, I texted back, “I know. But the graphics are awesome and the game play is solid. Yes, I made that determination after only about 15 minutes of actual game play. Honesly, though, what more do you need than the 2 minute video I recorded earlier. It’s Street Fighter. You fight…on the street.
I mean, it might be dangerous to judge a game so quickly because, as the Street Fighter 6 demo warns, “This game is still in development…followed by some other word that basically say the finished product probably won’t look or play the exact same way that it does here.” Some of that is true. Most of it, though, is just legalese to cover their butts in case someone takes better notes than I did and wants to sue them over the omission of a game mode or character. For me, though, I’m sold. Hell, if my check is big enough this week, I might just splurge and buy it then.
I meant to write this article last Friday to cap off my celebration of the new fighting games coming this year. Then I wanted to post it Saturday and again yesterday. Saturday, I took a nap and then went to see Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 with Liam and Quinn for father’s day. Look for the review on Thursday. Yesterday, Christine took me into Boston to see the Alanis Morrisette musical “Jagged Little Pill.” Harder to maneuver that one into our aesthetic, so I’ll just say it was very good and I highly recommend it. And, so, on Monday, you get Noob’s history with fighting games.
Unlike my other histories (maybe I’ve only written one, Mario?), I won’t be traveling through the actual chronology of these games. I’m 47 years old and things that happened 20 years ago feel like they happened 3 years ago. Plus, Covid happened 3 years ago and that feels like a lifetime ago. So, my internal clock broke some time ago. As a result, this will read more like a list of games that I played and some stories about them.
They hyped the shit out of this game. Loking back, I remember now that they even got the guy who played Johnny Cage in Mortal Kombat as one of the spokepeople for the game. They promised ultraviolence and a way to improve your fighter by collecting powers and storing them via password. Then, the game never came to my arcade. I lived life thinking I imagined it along the lines of the Mandela effect. Then, i found a ROM of the game and played it a few times on MAME. Jesus, what a piece of shit.
Super Smash Bros.
I live with the shame of being terrible at Super Smash Bros. Moreover, I have no idea how to even play the game. I don’t know what the percentage means, can perform no moves on cue, and spend most of the time just hoping that people falling off the cliffs will kill them and give me the win.
King of Fighters
Unlike many of the games on the list, I have no idea when I started playing King of Fighters. I know it most likely happened like all of the others on the list and I met the game while waiting for the lines at Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter to calm down. Something about this game caught my eye. And, yes, I was a teenage boy, so it’s the thing you’d figure it would be. I was a Mai main.
I never fell for the console wars. Likewise, I refused to pick a side during the Virtua Fighter/Tekken split between fans. With that being said, I preferred Virtua Fighter, espeically after Virtua Fighter 2. But, I enjoyed getting my ass handed to me in Tekken. I just returned the favor if they ever became foolish enough to challenge my Shun in Virtua Fighter 2.
I actually went through a phase where I preferred Darkstalkers to Street Fighter. Essentially a reskin of the game with horror figures, I liked the graphical style better in Darkstalkers. That all changed when I discovered Street Fighter Alpha and they brought this style to Street Fighter. Because, realistically, Street Fighter has the most polished fighting engine out there and everything else pales in comparison.
I discovered Virtua Fighter when both the Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter machines got buried underneath long lines of quarters. And, so I started playing Virtua Fighter. Similar to my experience with Street Fighter, I found the strategy of the game appealing. Also, no fireballs or dragon punches. The legitimacy of the fighting, no matter how actually illegitimate it might have been, brought me great joy. I peaked in the series with Virtua Fighter 2 and my drunken master Shun. I was unbeatable with that crazy old bastard.
This game became my main after I bored of Mortal Kombat 2. Plus, the mall in Monroeville where I rode the bus after school got one of the massive screens and cabinets for the game. That made the dinosaurs seem that much larger than life. When the update hit (yeah, if you’re annoyed by waiting a few hours for a game to update online, imagine waiting weeks until they released a chip that needed to be installed in the game) and we got combos and finishing moves, I asbolutely lost it and deposited quarter after quarter until I got them all. Blizzard’s brain punch is still the best.
The game promised combos. And, wow, did they ever deliver. This game ushered in the era of mega combos and dimishing returns on the damage of those combos. Plus, the unique design of many of the characters kept me coming back for more. I started as a Glacius main, but switched to Spinal once I got better at the game.
This obviously represents only a portion of Noob’s history with fighting games. As I searched for videos from Primal Rage, it reminded me of another game that I played, Eternal Champions. Kevin was crazier than me and purchased all of the systems, the 3D0 included. Maybe I will do another version of this when Mortal Kombat releases. Look out for Noob’s History with FIghting Games Part 2.
On Monday, I gave my early impressions of Mortal Kombat 1. As I wrote in that article, I talked about how Chris and I discussed getting the gang back together for old time’s sake. I suggested talking about Mortal Kombat 1 and Street Fighter 6 Early Impressions as a soft landing spot. We both played the games from the very first in both cases. Well, not Street Fighter. Nobody played that one.
But, you get the point. Once Chris learned that I played Street Fighter, we put it into our regular rotation for a time during the monthly nerd nights. Looking back on it, we always lamented that once a month seemed like too long to wait. Now, I for one, would kill to be able to meet once per month. The cruel irony of fate. I work less and also, somehow, we have less time to hang out. Oh well, self pity over.
How Do I Write This Thing?
When I first heard about Mortal Kombat 1, I immediately Googled to see if the game actually existed. When I heard about Street Fighter 6, I went about my business. I might have texted Chris about it, but it certainly made less of an impact on me. And, here comes some nerd shame admission that we are so good at around here.
I haven’t played a Capcom fighting game since Marvel vs. Capcom 3. I haven’t enjoyed a Capcom fighting game since Marvel vs. Capcom 2. I played Street Fighter 3 a couple of times and never played Street Fighter 4 or 5. Actually, looking back on it, Chris and I might have played some Street Fighter 5. If so, it’s forgettable. I bet that’s the main reason that this game made so little impact on me. I played Mortal Kombat 9, X, and 11 and enjoyed every single one of them.
Okay, let’s start over and see if I can find my love for Street Fighter like I did with Mortal Kombat. First, my very first memory of the game escapes me. I remember distinctly reading EGM (the property still exists) or some other such magazine to figure out tips and tricks to get better. I learned about how the fighting system stores moves and by chaining together basic attacks with a special attack, you create an unblockable combo move. Now, it’s coming back to me.
I started to convince myself that Street Fighter required more skill and it briefly became my game of choice. Because you played on only one quarter when you won back then, I wanted to be able to get as much out of my coin as possible. I think the same article also introduced me to the concept of zoning and counter moves. I never got to “professional” level, but I definitely put together several 5 to 10 game win streaks in my day.
Street Fighter Alpha 2
My glory days for Street Fighter came during the Alpha phase. The 2nd one came at a time when I found myself getting back into video games. I lived alone for a brief time when I moved to Massachusetts. I needed to fill the time not spent working. So, I bought comics, Magic the Gathering cards, and a PlayStation. Fun fact: I promised myself after buying the PlayStation that I’d never pay full price for a console again. I kept that promise to this day.
I loved the art style of Alpha and the new characters and combo system. Because this game came out before the advent of at home high speed internet, I played mostly by myself and never got a chance to play against anyone other than Christine. While fun, it never truly captured the glory of those days in the arcade.
I gave very few Street Fighter 6 Early Impressions in this article. I think that because I have two friends who play the game and Aiden also enjoys playing Mortal Kombat against his friends that I have more invested in that game. I still like the aesthetic of Street Fighter and get excited by new game announcements. But, it just doesn’t hook me like MK.
If you read this page for longer than a couple of articles, you know that I identify as an old man. Those who fear the reaper always say, “No way, you’re young!” While certainly true by modern standards, my aching back, expanding belly, and distinct memory of the first Mortal Kombat 1 release says otherwise.
My friend Kevin and I took the summer after our senior year of high school and traveled to live with his father. The trip started as a week, then expanded to two weeks, and may have been a month, possibly two by the time all was said and done. Well, we spent the summer more or less the same ways we would have at home. We went to the comic book store (it was the summer of the “Death of Superman”!) and visited at least one arcade.
I always use that as all of my introductions to new things. Because, honestly, as the Noob of All Trades, they truly classify as Humble Beginnings. This one, especially, warrants the title. Surveying the games in the arcade, we laid eyes on a most peculiar sight. A man, who sort of looks like Jean Claude Van Damme, executes a leaping kick on the side of the cabinet. On the front, in the marquee, Mortal Kombat. Yes, with a K.
We both put quarters into the machine, maybe about 5 bucks each, but probably less, and button mashed our way to the occasional mistake move when we stumbled upon something that resembled the motions in Street Fighter 2. Otherwise, we marveled at the blood and the mysterious “Finish Him” that ended every fight. Remember kids, this is before phones. Hell, this is before I even knew the internet existed. And, so, we needed to find a copy of EGM or some other such magazine that gave us the fighter’s moves. But, that came after some MK sensei rolled up to the cabinet and blew our minds with Sub-Zero’s fatality.
The Golden (?) Age of Reboots
It all started with Star Wars. Well, at least that’s when I noticed that a certain movie looked and felt very much like another certain movie released 40 years before. I even wrote an article that mentioned the similarities between the movie. Well, none of it really clicked until the Scream movie released in 2022. As far as I know, true to form, they coined the term “Requel”.
So, armed with that, I took a more critical look at some of the new movies. I recognized the story from Creed. I heard echoes of the past in the Jurassic World series that came to a logical conclusion in the most recent movie. Then, I saw an article for the newest Mortal Kombat game.
The last two Mortal Kombat games I played were called Mortal Kombat X and Mortal Kombat 11. Therefore, logically, the new one in the series is named Mortal Kombat 1. Wait, is that right? That can’t be right.
Mortal Kombat 1
I searched to make sure that I read right. Because all of the old games get released over and over on every single new system, I needed to make sure that it wasn’t just a new release of the original game. Heck, they might have even updated the graphics for the game. But, nope, they named the new game MK1.
During my text conversation with Chris, I said, “I can’t tell if this is an actual reboot or just a joke by Ed Boon at the expense of all the recent reboots.” He said that he thought the former. In the end, I agreed. Then, the trailer hit and left no doubt.
Speaking of the trailer, look for a reaction video from me regarding that trailer. Then, after the game releases, look for my first impressions and then the final review of the game. Finally, Chris and I talked about getting back together to record and my idea for the first show back is this game and the new Street Fighter. Hope we can get it done before Germany, but more likely next month.
How weird is it that our console game of the year 2020 actually came out in March 2019? I mean, if you’re at all familiar with our page, it isn’t that weird at all. We are nothing if not unabashedly retro in our sensibilities. Something about this year dragged me kicking and screaming into a more modern gamer. Chris, however, remains steadfast in his commitment to retro gaming and I love him for it.
True to gaming in 2020, MK11 reached its “final form” over a year and a half after being released. In April, Aftermath came out to continue the story, gave us friendships and new stage fatalities, and added three new characters. More recently, Kombat Pack 2 gave us 3 more new characters. So, you could absolutely argue Mortal Kombat was better to us this year than last.
It feels like I just wrote the article in that last paragraph. Well, I have a couple of days to rework this article and get it published.
Console Game of the Year 2020: Humble Beginnings
If you told me last year that I’d pick Mortal Kombat 11 for this article, I’d not have believed you. I received the game as a gift from a friend. In a true dink move, I didn’t touch it for the first few months I owned it. Actually, it wasn’t a dink move. Not consciously at least. The XBox was upstairs in the game room that became Aiden’s room. I was busy with school, too.
Finally, after those few months of gentle reminders by said friend, I logged into the game. Not entirely understanding how the game might be different from the previous few iterations, I played a few games. Yep, this is Mortal Kombat all right. For good and for bad. Little did I know how much this game would come to dominate my life over the next two years.
Console Game of the Year 2020: Familiarity Breeds Contempt?
Not at all in this case. My friend gave me the version that came with Kombat Pack 1 already included. All the fighters were there for me. Sure, in some cases, I had to download them. Also, Shao Khan and Frost both cost and extra 5 dollars. Now that I think about it, the Frost thing had to be a classic Ed Boon MK troll because you unlocked her simply by playing through the story mode. Everyone was there, though. All the classics like Johnny, Sub Zero, Scorp, and my favorite Liu Kang. Throw in some Newbies like Kitana and Jax. Finish with a sprinkling of the next generation, Cassie and Jacqui. It’s all wheat and no chaff.
Getting back to that story mode. Eventually, it hooked me on the game. I don’t remember how or why, but I moved the XBox into our bedroom and started playing the story mode. I wrote a review for the story. That’s how impressive I thought it was. Once the game got me hooked, my friend mentioned that you could “AI” the towers. Once I discovered that, I played the game daily to get those sweet, sweet cosmetics.
Console Game of the Year 2020: Aftermath
As happens with any game, I grew tired of beating the same towers over and over again simply to rise in the ranks and get a single new skin for being in the top 5%. I rediscovered Diablo 3. Quinn and I started an epic world in Minecraft. MTGA grabbed more and more of my attention. Because of Covid, I spent more time obsessing over online learning.
I simply had no time for Mortal Kombat 11. Then, Aftermath released. I did two videos (two of three or four this year, so more than recent years!) reacting to the trailer and friendships. The new characters got me playing towers again to get new skins. A weekly Kronika quest kept me logging in on a regular basis.
Console Game of the Year 2020: Summer Lull and Kombat Pack 2
Eventually, I tired even of the regular loot from Kronika and the towers started to repeat again at a nauseating rate. I played more Pokemon Go and went for 2 hours walks to kill the time. Don’t forget Diablo 3 and MTGA. There’s only so much Mortal Kombat one person can take. My limit is apparently a couple of months before I start to stray again.
Clearly, Ed Boon realized that and released Kombat Pack 2. I reviewed this last month. Ever since the release, I’ve played daily again to get the last month of skins on the Towers of Time. Except for yesterday, I’ve been grabbing the Kronika vaults again. It just completely slipped my mind. Damn, I’m sad now. Oh well, maybe there will be another way to get the items. Or, maybe I just won’t sweat it too much. Okay, what was I saying?
Oh yeah, it seems like every time I get bored with the game, something new comes along. It’s similar to the CCG treadmill. They can’t keep this going forever on MK11. And, it seems like this last Kombat Pack might be the last unless there is a surprise announcement early next year. However, it just feels like they’ve milked this cash cow dry.
Mortal Kombat 11 has some new strategies to it. I’m not capable of executing many of them. Hell, I’m still stuck on the Raiden combo in the tutorial. But, watching more and more streams lately, I can see that they’ve included a deep and rich fighting engine. It’s no Tekken or Virtua Fighter. But, it’s better than bully your opponent into the corner and juggle cheese.
The inclusion of new guest stars have kept the game fresh. Plus, I still have to play through the Aftermath story. There’s enough to keep me going in Mortal Kombat 11 until at least the spring when the weather starts to get nice or I buy a PlayStation 5. Even though I played much more Hearthstone, Mortal Kombat 11 is, by far, the most fun I’ve had with a game in the last year.
Wait, I have to buy Mortal Kombat 11 Kombat Pack 2? I’m pretty sure the game was a gift a couple of years ago. The friend was kind enough to purchase a version that included some skin packs and the first Kombat Pack. Therefore, this is the first time I’ve had to put money into the game. Okay, that’s not entirely true. I did happily pay for the expansion that included Robocop, Fujin, and Sheeva. But it’s the first time I’ve paid for cosmetics. No, wait, that isn’t true either.
I purchased both skin packs and at least one announcer voice. It’s weird that both felt the need to lie and then felt the need to explain myself. Sorry that I’m treating this article like online therapy. I will get back to the subject at hand. Is Mortal Kombat 11 Kombat Pack 2 worth the money?
I mean, ultimately, that’s for you to determine. However, maybe you’re like me. A father of 3 boys who recently took a job that pays more money and it doesn’t matter to you that this game ultimately cost you over 100 dollars. Maybe I’ll have some insight for you. Wait, what? Oy vey. There’s that brutal honesty once again. Well, if you’re still reading, let’s get on with the review.
Decent – Rambo
Move Set – In keeping with the theme of the 80s action movie icons, Rambo’s move set is a bit clunky. He doesn’t combo easily, at least not for a slow old guy like me. With that being said, he is more fluid than Robocop or Terminator and more fun to play. If you’ve ever seen a First Blood movie, you will recognize his bowie knife and bow and arrow. Of the three, he was always my least favorite character. Ironic now that I will probably end up playing him more than the others in this game.
Finishers – Both of his fatalities are consistent with the character. The first one has the iconic wire trap and bamboo and the second involves a string of bullets (Is that what it’s called? I’m a libtard hippie who doesn’t use guns often). I prefer the first. His friendship is fun because of the nostalgia of playing laser tag with the boys. I did get a chuckle when he did the crawl from one behind one inflatable to the other.
Ending – John Rambo has no use for being a god. He wants what he always wants. To simply retire to a cabin in the woods in peace. It would seem as if he finally gets that wish from Kronika’s hourglass.
Good – Rain
Move Set – As I was working through the tutorial, I was sure that Rain would be my favorite character from this pack. Part of his style combines Noob Saibot and Fujin, two of my favorite characters. He is a fun character to play, but you can deduce from process of elimination who my actual favorite from this set is. Damn you angry, internet mob. You win this one.
Finishers – Both of his fatalities are fun. One has an homage to the classic Queen album, II, before eviscerating his opponent. The other has similarities to one of Kung Lao’s in the game with a twist at the end that had me chuckling. His friendship is not one of the more inspired ones. Hey, they can’t all be winners.
Ending – Rain goes a bit Kill Bill on the revenge trip against his father and his other sons. These types of endings always crack me up. They’re given ultimate power over time and they use it to exact personal revenge? I get that motivations are different, but come on now.
Great – Mileena
Move Set – Before this Kombat Pack, Ed Boon’s Twitter feed was a non stop barrage of requests for adding Mileena into the game. I get that Twitter isn’t real life and most of it was for the meme, but it had to have been tiring for him to deal with on a daily basis. Well, she’s here, nerds. You win. I didn’t want to like her character simply for this fact, but I can’t deny. She is the most fun to play beyond a shadow of a doubt. Sure, part of that is nostalgia. But, she is just a well rounded character and worth the wait.
Finishers – That’s not to say that it is all roses and unicorn farts. Neither of her fatalities are particularly interesting. I will say one thing about her second. Instead of exploding her opponent’s head, she implodes it. That was a nice touch. After trolling Mileena fans with Kitana’s friendship, the Edenian princess shows up in teddy bear form for dear sister’s.
Ending – Another revenge story? It would seem that the writers are gonna beat this horse until it’s dead. I mean, this one is consistent with the character’s singular obsession with her sister and parents, so there’s that.
Is Mortal Kombat 11 Kombat Pack 2 worth the money? Of course I’m going to say yes to justify the fact that I spent the money on it. In all honesty, though, 15 bucks isn’t too much to spend for 3 characters that are absolutely fun to play. In order to write this article, I sped through the tutorial and 5 opponent tower in order to get the endings. It only took about an hour at most. So, it is worth about what minimum wage should be. If you were smart and waited, definitely pick up the Ultimate edition as there is so much more in the game like the Krypt, which could have been a game unto itself.
For some reason, I forgot the topic for High Score episode 5. I guess there’s just a lot on my mind with the start of school. When I saw the teaser at the end of episode 4, I was excited. Then, it just left my mind completely. And, so it was when the episode started, I said, “Oh yeah!”
Once upon a time, there were these things called “arcades”. They were kind of like stores. Except they didn’t sell anything. You traded your bill money for quarters, which you then put into a machine that let you play a video game. “Okay, Grandpa, why are you telling us this?” Well, the subject of High score episode 5 was fighting games. During the height of the fighting game renaissance, I spent an obscene amount of time and money in these “arcades”.
Street Fighter – “That old grey mare…”
I can’t remember if I used the old grey mare metaphor in one of the other articles. I know I was considering it for the Atari article, but went with Grandpa instead. Even if I have, it is apt in this case. Many these days say that Street Fighter sure ain’t what she used to be. But, let’s focus on the positive.
Like Final Fantasy, Street Fighter got its inspiration from anime. When they talked to the artist for the game, he mentioned how anime is not viewed as art. Or, it wasn’t. He wanted to help people see the potential of the art form. Apparently, he and his contemporaries succeeded. At least in my case. I certainly consider anime to be an art form. Then again, I’m easily impressed by any creative process.
Takahiro Nagano – “Living the Dream”
One side note before moving on. I forgot to mention in the previous section, mainly because my notes only said “Chun Li – Madden” and I couldn’t figure out what that meant. What it meant is that they put a female character into Street Fighter II (and then expanded the female roster with future editions) similar to adding different skin tones to Madden. Gaming is supposed to be inclusive, mad nerds.
Now, for Takahiro Nagano. His life mirrored mine in many ways. I mean, other than winning a gaming championship and starting his own esports team, we are basically kindred spirits. He found himself in a dead end job that he didn’t find much inspiration from. So, really, when you think about it, I’m basically him. Another note from this section is “training montage”, a reference to the introduction to his esports team, which took on the form of the old 80s training montages a la Karate Kid or Rocky. I got a good chuckle out of it.
Night Trap – “Where’s the Naked Ladies?”
I’m doing these out of order, but that’s intentional. Always save the best for last. I’m not sure if you will agree with my assessment, but I have good reason for it and you can’t change my mind! I remember Night Trap. I might have even had a friend who bought the game. See, it was supposed to be this risque horror game, but production issues caused it to be neutered beyond belief into a not quite campy enough imitation.
That didn’t stop Congress from trying to neuter the game and the industry further. As games started to become more “realistic” and feature more violent content, folks like Tipper Gore and Joe Lieberman (If you don’t know him, say his name like Droopy the dog. If you don’t know Droopy the dog, Google him, then say Joe Lieberman’s name like him. Then, Google Joe Lieberman and have a good laugh.) got their panties in a bunch. And that, boys and girls, is why we have ratings on our video games today.
Mortal Kombat – “Or, should I say, ‘MORTAL KOMBAT!'”
So, I said I was saving the best for last. Similar to Street Fighter, you might say that Mortal Kombat hasn’t been good since (insert your favorite version here) and that’s fine. Up until recently, I might have even agreed with you. However, Mortal Kombat 11 is a ton of fun and I wasted many an hour over the last year trying to collect as much as I could in the game.
MK also helped to usher in the “video games are warping our kids’ brains” era. But, I come here to praise John Tobias (who is interviewed for the series!) and Ed Boon. Given the limited resources that they were working with at the time, they made a game that has been with me for over 25 years and has been passed on to my kids.
High Score episode 5 has come a long way from the low of episode 2. I regained my faith in the series and even had it boosted by the Sega episode and this one. The entire series is an amazing walk down memory lane. In addition, we have met some new faces along the way. I’m feeling a bit melancholy that there’s only one episode left, but it should pave the way for some actual factual retro content that’s been promised for weeks now.
Now it’s an MK 11 Krypt tour? Still no gameplay? Well, let’s list the reasons again. (1) Technically the Krypt is part of playing the game, (B), as I said, there is plenty of gameplay contend out there and (∑) it’s Mortal Kombat. What do you expect for gameplay? Well, that’s what you’re getting.
With all of that being said, I’m not entirely sure how to write an article about the Krypt. I thought maybe a review, but that will most likely make for a boring article. I could do a virtual tour, but that’s dumb, too. Looks like I might have to get over my stage fright and just record a video.
Noob’s MK 11 Krypt Tour Video
I hope you enjoyed my first video in about 5 years. As I may have mentioned in the video, the Krypt is one of my favorite game modes. I’ve said numerous times to friends that it could be a game to itself if they wanted to develop it a little bit more. I’m sure that it will eventually get boring after I’ve opened everything, but I honestly don’t know how long that will be.
For instance, just the other day, I found a statue that led me on a bit of a scaly goose chase (yes, I’m still trying to be good about spoilers) that still hasn’t ended. And another character randomly appeared to try to sell me more stuff. In between farming towers with the Noob Saibot AI build given to me by a friend, I will spend all of my time in the Krypt. Hope to see you there!
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