26 February 2010

Mortal Kombat - SEGA Genesis

In 1994 I move to Charlotte, NC to intern at The Charlotte Observer for the summer. I was 21. It was my first time away from my hometown of Baltimore and I didn't know a soul.
The pay was good and the city was filled with pretty women and good restaurants. Another reporter intern and I shared a $500 apartment in a faceless subdivision. We didn't get paid until two weeks in and, since we both blew our cash supply just to get there, we ate a lot of fried bologna sandwiches. I can remember eating one with him while watching OJ's Bronco on TV.
Yes, it was that summer.
I learned a lot that summer, a lot of which was good. My roommate was the first black kid my age I really got to know as a friend. Charlotte is an interesting city and a perfect place for a 21-year-old reporter to discover if he's got what it takes to do the job. And, as I mentioned before, there are a lot of beautiful women in that town.
On the other hand, I struggled to find a voice there. I was unsure of myself in the beginning, feeling as if I had left all my talent in a suitcase back home that I forgot to bring with me. My mentor - the staff reporter who was supposed to show me the ropes - was a tired man with little enthusiasm for shepherding a punk around the city.
And sometime in July a large, painful cyst developed on my lower back - way down on my lower back.
Yeah, right there.
I had to have the thing lanced by some doctor I had never met and then explain to my editor why I had to miss damn near a week of work because I could barely walk, much less sit in front of a computer.
Man, that sucked.
It was during this week that I ate a lot of Pizza Hut delivery pies and played the hell out of my roommate's copy of Mortal Kombat on the venerable SEGA Genesis.
I'm not much for fighting games - especially if there's any blocking involved - but I could play Mortal Kombat on the Genesis. And I did. A lot. Back then the game's gore content was literally off the charts. I remember the commercial that built up the hype for the game's home console port - some joker yelling MORTAL KOMBAT! and thousands of kids running through the streets.
I wasn't doing much running that week, but I jumped around a lot and sent fireballs into the faces of may an opponent with Liu Kang. I still play the game today - either on my Genesis or on the surprisingly good Game Gear version.
It says a lot about a game that can bring a smile to a man who is literally out on his ass.
By Victor Paul Alvarez

1 comment:

  1. For those of us who were coming of age during this time, Mortal Combat was truly a magic formula. The mystery of special combos and fatality finishing moves, the incredible joy of playing it for hours with friends, and the comfortable pleasures of spending long hours in the solo Mortal Combat dojo, honing one's skills for the next time a friend came over to play. Like Final Fight before it (I'm thinking of the arcade version here) it was a game that defined a moment in time. Thanks for the memories.