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When Mortal Kombat Promoted “Positive Messages” at Read-A-Thons

When Mortal Kombat Promoted “Positive Messages” at Read-A-Thons

Ah, 1995. The year after video game covers first started getting stamped with age ratings. A year when people hadn’t quite figured out when (or if) it was still appropriate to market violent titles to kiddies.

The PG-13 Mortal Kombat movie came out in ’95, and it’d proved a smash hit. Presumably, someone looked at Power Rangers Live and Ninja Turtles: Coming Out of their Shells, then turned back to MK and figured, “Hey, it’s got brightly-costumed ninjas, too!” The Mortal Kombat Live Tour thusly followed, and it traveled across America to dazzle children with fatality-free fights and stunts. It really, really did.

Before its stop in Anaheim, the live tour’s cast made a delightfully awkward appearance on KTLA’s morning show. Watch it, and ponder Shang Tsung’s fumbling description of MK’s “positive messages!” Cringe at the host’s clumsy attempts to hit on Sonya Blade! And most of all, puzzle over what shortage in costuming could’ve turned the fanged mutant Baraka into a dude in a gym shirt and ski mask!

Here’s a lasting demonstration of why it’s generally bad form to pitch hardball during a puff piece. Out of all the simple follow-ups to ask Mr. Tsung after he’d introduced his castmates–like “So, what’s the show about?” or “Can you tell us about the laser light effects?”–a query about any violent controversies probably couldn’t be tied up in a four minute promo. Our hearts bleed for this evil warlock who suddenly found himself dropped into a 20/20 segment.

Featured Image Credit: NetherRealm Studios

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