Mortal Kombat (commonly abbreviated “MK”) is a series of fighting games created by Ed Boon and John Tobias. The first four renditions and their updates were developed by Midway Games and initially released on arcade machines, and later to home consoles. The arcade titles were later picked up by Acclaim Entertainmentfor the home console conversions. Beginning with Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance, Midway Games exclusively created home versions of Mortal Kombat up until Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe. Following Midway’s bankruptcy, the franchise was picked up by Warner Bros. in July 2009 and became a part of the Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment.
The development of the first game was originally based on idea of making a video game starring Jean-Claude Van Damme, but that idea fell through and Mortal Kombat was created instead and released in 1992. The original game has spawned many sequels and has been spun off into several action-adventure games, films (animated and live-action with its own sequel), and television series (animated and live-action). Other spin-offs include various comic book series, a card game and alive-action tour. Along with Capcom’s Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat has become one of the most successful and influential fighting franchises in the history of video games.
The series is known for its high levels of bloody violence, including, most notably, its Fatalities—finishing moves, requiring a sequence of buttons to perform, which, in part, led to the creation of the ESRB. The series name itself is also known for using the letter “K” in place of “C” for the hard C sound, thus intentionally misspellingthe word “combat”, as well as other words with the hard C sound within later games in the series. Early games in the series were especially noted for its realisticdigitized sprites (which differentiated it from its contemporaries’ hand-drawn sprites), as well as an extensive use of palette swapping to create new characters.