Mortal Kombat Gets R18+ Rating in Australia

February 14, 2013 -

GameSpot is reporting that NetherRealm Studios' Mortal Kombat has finally received a ratings classification in Australia. Two years ago the game was refused classification in the region twice due to its graphic and bloody contents, but thanks to the new R18+ adult rating classification in the region games like Mortal Kombat won't be (hopefully) banned for sale going forward.

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Research: Sense of Humanity Lost When Playing Violent Games

October 31, 2011 -

New research from the University of Queensland suggests that playing violent video games leads to players seeing themselves and their opponents as "lacking core human qualities" such as warmth, open-mindedness, and intelligence. The research, conducted by Dr. Brock Bastian from UQ's School of Psychology, was recently published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology.

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CraveOnline Team Shatters Guinness World Record

June 9, 2011 -

CraveOnline and NOS Energy Drink announced today that four of its team members have broken the Guinness World Record for "longest video games marathon playing a fighting game" by playing 32 hours of Mortal Kombat. The record breaking team featured Cristopher Bryant, Paul Chillino, Melissa Estuesta, and Lance Moose. The team shattered the record at the CraveOnline Non-Stop NOS Gaming Lounge outside of the Los Angeles Convention Center during the E3 Expo. Guinness World Record officials were on hand to monitor the team and present them with an official certificate announcing the breaking of the world record.

In order to break the previous record, the gamers had to play a total of 31 hours straight. They were each allowed ten minute breaks every hour.

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PSA: Play Mortal Kombat on PSN Free This Weekend

May 20, 2011 -

Because the PlayStation Store is down, those who own a used copy of Mortal Kombat for PS3 don't have to worry about paying $10 for the "Kombat Pass." Rather than making players wait until the store is back online, Warner Bros. has decided to suspend the pass requirement until the PlayStation Store returns - which is rumored to take place on May 24.

Like used game owners, new players won't have to worry about redeeming the code that comes with the game until the PS Store is online again.

In other words, a free weekend of online play. And if you hate the online play, and you bought the game used, this weekend could save you a cool $10. All in all a win-win.

Source: Kotaku

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Report: WB Moving Towards 'Online Pass Code' Scheme

March 29, 2011 -

According to a report on Joystiq, Warner Bros. may be joining THQ and EA in offering codes for online play in its latest Mortal Kombat game. Citing an anonymous tipster who forwarded an email from WB to retailers, Joystiq claims that the company wants to charge used game buyers an additional fee for getting online. A new pass will supposedly cost 800 Microsoft Points for Xbox 360 and $10 for PS3. From the alleged WB email:

 

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Mortal Kombat Classification Appeal Rejected in Australia

March 15, 2011 -

No Mortal Kombat for you, Australia. An appeal by publisher Warner Bros. Interactive to overturn an earlier decision by Australia's Classification Review Board to deny classification has also been denied. That means that the forthcoming Mortal Kombat reboot has been permanently refused classification in Australia, banning the title from official retail release. In an official statement, Warner Bros. Interactive praised fans in Australia and expressed disappointment in the classification board's decision:

"We're obviously extremely disappointed that the refused classification decision has been upheld by the Classification Review Board. We want to thank the thousands of Mortal Kombat fans in Australia and around the world who have voiced their support during the appeal process."

Mortal Kombat's  reboot will still arrive next month in other territories so you can expect fans that want the game bad enough will simply import it from those regions.

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Mortal Kombat Gets R18 Rating in New Zealand

March 7, 2011 -

According to Gameplanet.co.nz Mortal Kombat will be available in New Zealand. Australians are no doubt envious of the fact that NZ has a ratings system that goes beyond the 15+ age limit. The reboot of the Mortal Kombat series received a rating of R18: Graphic Violence in New Zealand, ensuring that the game will be released in the region in April.

Mortal Kombat will be available on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 on the April 21. The game releases here in the United States on April 19, 2011.

So far, Australia is the only country to refuse classification of the game (to my knowledge). We do not know why other than the tired mantra of "protect the children" being at play on some level. If you want to protect children MP's of Australia, give the games rating system the proper adult classification it needs: R18+, please.

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Happy Birthday ESRB: Game Biz Unveiled Rating System to Congress 15 Years Ago

July 29, 2009 -

It was 15 years ago today that the video game industry introduced the ESRB rating system to Congress, reports Wired's This Day in Tech blog.

The move came in the wake of Congressional criticism of game violence, particularly the original Mortal Kombat, which seems laughably tame by today's standards. Wired's Chris Kohler writes:

The [Congressional] hearings were largely a response to the popularity of... Mortal Kombat...

Nintendo chairman Howard Lincoln and Sega vice president Bill White took potshots at each other during the hearing. Lincoln said that the Sega CD game Night Trap, another photorealistic, occasionally violent game that the company had rated MA-17, “simply has no place in our society” and testified that “small children” had bought it.

Meanwhile, White’s position was that Sega was more responsible than Nintendo, because his company had [its own] rating system in place...  [Connecticut Sen. Joe] Lieberman would later express his shock that the two executives went after each other with such ferocity.

Lieberman's threat to regulate game content via legislation persuaded the game biz to get its act together. The IDSA (now known as the ESA) was formed and quickly set up the ESRB, which went into operation on September 1st, 1994.

Mortal Kombat Film Producer Sues Midway Over IP Rights

June 25, 2009 -

The man who brought Mortal Kombat to the big screen has sued Midway in U.S. Bankruptcy Court over what he claims are his intellectual property interests in the franchise. The suit may interfere with a proposed  $33 million sale of Midway assets to Warner Bros.

In a complaint filed yesteday, Lawrence Kasanoff, through his company, Threshold Entertainment, asked the Court to preserve his IP rights including copyrights to certain MK series characters. Kasanoff also wants to retain the right to create derivative film and television projects based on the popular fighting game franchise.

Kasanoff claims that it was he who made Mortal Kombat more than just a video game:

In 1993, Kasanoff visited Midway... with an idea to launch the Mortal Kombat concept in a totally new direction. Specifically, Kasanoff proposed to develop... a full feature-length motion picture, a television series, and other productions. Midway was initially skeptical, as Kasanoff's idea was revolutionary at the time...

 

The Mortal Kombat series, as it stands today, is far more a creation of Threshold and Kasanoff than of Midway. Midway's creative input was almost entirely limited to the videogames. On their own, the videogames provided only minimal back-story and mythology, and only flat, "stock" characters... Kasanoff and Threshold were responsible for virtually all of the creative input that went into turning the videogame concept into a multimedia enterprise.

In his lawsuit, Kasanoff also claims credit for making MK characters like Liu Kang, Sonya Blade and Scorpion into recognizable names. The suit estimates that the franchise has grossed more than $4 billion over the years.

In petitioning the Bankruptcy Court, Kasanoff seeks to block the proposed sale of Mortal Kombat assets to Warner Bros.

DOCUMENT DUMP: Grab a copy of Kasanoff's complaint here.

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New Owner: Midway Hemorrhaging Cash

March 3, 2009 -

Do you get the feeling that Midway's ongoing bankruptcy drama isn't going to end well?

Reports yesterday indicated that executives planned to either structure a reorganization or sell off the company's only major IP asset - Mortal Kombat. Guess which one of those will be easier to do.

But a filing by Midway's new owner seems just as alarming.

GamePolitics readers may recall our February 15th exclusive report on allegations of sleazy insider dealing in the Midway affair. At the time, some Midway creditors wondered who new owner Mark Thomas was and how he was able to purchase Midway from media mogul Sumner Redstone for a mere $100,000 in November.

Thomas, through his shell corporation, Acquisitions Holding Subsidiary, fired back in U.S. Bankruptcy Court on Friday. Midway, says AHS, is hemorrhaging cash and Thomas wants his investment collateral protected:

[Midway has] an immediate need to access and use AHS's Cash Collateral. Nor can it be disputed that, based upon the Debtors' 13 week forecasted Budget, [Midway is] hemorrhaging cash at an alarming rate. Indeed, the [Midway] Budget indicates that between February 9, 2009 and May 4, 2009, [Midway] will burn through approximately $12,392,598 in cash representing an approximately 75% depletion of its cash reserves...

 

The Objecting Noteholders have made several unsubstantiated and unsupportable accusations - none of which are true - regarding the relationship and transactions between Sumner Redstone and AHS' s principal Mark Thomas... each of those allegations is without merit... 

 

The Limited Objection is replete with unsupported and, frankly, irrelevant factual allegations regarding the relationship between Mark Thomas and Sumner Redstone...

We asked Wedbush-Morgan analyst Michael Pachter to comment on Midway's situation:

Unfortunately, their low cash position, high debt load, and unforgiving creditors place them in the position of having to generate cash at a bad time, and it's always easiest to sell the assets with the most value.
 
I think it's premature to say that they are dead, but fair to say that a [potential] sale of Mortal Kombat will weaken them.

DOCUMENT DUMP: The AHS/Mark Thomas objection...

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"Mortal Kombat Killer" Gets 36 Years in Child's Death

January 19, 2009 -

Lamar Roberts is going away for a long time.

In December, the 18-year-old pleaded guilty in the December, 2007 death of 7-year-old Zoe Garcia, the step-sister of Roberts' girlfriend, Heather Trujillo. Roberts and Trujillo reportedly acted out moves from Mortal Kombat on Zoe.

9News reports that a Colorado judge has sentenced Roberts to 36 years in prison. Of the sentence, Roberts told the court:

I do agree to get what I get. I'm not a monster, your honor. I'm truly sorry (for) what happened.

Roberts, who was 17 at the time of the slaying, was tried as an adult. Trujillo received 18 years, but her sentence will be suspended if she successfully completes a six-year program for youthful offenders.

43 comments

Man Pleads Guilty in So-Called Mortal Kombat Killing

December 16, 2008 -

A man whom prosecutors allege killed his girlfriend's stepsister in a re-enactment of the Mortal Kombat video game series pleaded guilty in a Colorado courtroom yesterday.

The Associated Press reports that 18-year-old Lamar Roberts (left) admitted to charges of child abuse and knowingly/recklessly causing death in the case.

Seven-year-old Zoe Garcia died in December after a night of babysitting at the hands of Roberts and Zoe's stepsister, 16-year-old Heather Trujillo (also at left). Trujillo received a suspended sentence earlier this year and was placed into a program for youthful offenders.

While prosecutors focused on the Mortal Kombat angle, some relatives of the victim questioned that theory. Child welfare reports indicate that Zoe lived in a highly dysfunctional household and that there was at least one prior incident in which Roberts was reportedly abusive toward the child when drinking.

Roberts will be sentenced in January.

Midway is Sold for Pennies on the Dollar

December 1, 2008 -

Financially-troubled game publisher Midway has been sold for a mere pittance of its former value.

Reuters reports that media tycoon Sumner Redstone (left) unloaded his controlling interest in the Mortal Kombat publisher for $0.0012 a share, or about $100,000.

Hell, at that price any gamer with a full-time job could have gotten a loan and owned their own game company.

The buyer is investor Mark Thomas. In addition acquiring Midway's assets, however, Thomas also bought himself $70 million worth of Midway debts.

In doing the deal Redstone, 85, takes a huge loss on his initial investment in Midway but realizes an $800 million tax saving for his media conglomerate, National Amusements.

As for Mark Thomas, in a year or two we might be toasting him as the man who saved Midway. Or, he could be the answer to the trivia question, "Who was Midway's final owner?"

25 comments

Mortal Kombat Parody: Barack Obama vs. Fox News & the "Terrorist Fist Jab"

July 6, 2008 -

A fist bump?

A pound?

A terrorist fist jab?

With those words, Fox News talking head E.D. Hill ignited a bit of a controversy last month. Hill was referring to a small, celebratory bumping of fists between Barack and Michelle Obama. The "terrorist fist jab" comment would eventually lead to an on-air apology from Hill.

A parody video has placed Obama in a Mortal Kombat setting with the terrorist fist jab as his special attack.

GP: Pretty funny stuff and we thank reader Scott Snell for the heads-up...

 

28 comments

Girl Sentenced in So-called Mortal Kombat Murder Case

July 3, 2008 -

GamePolitics readers will likely recall the tragic killing of 7-year-old Zoe Garcia last December.

The child died from injuries received at the hands of Lamar Roberts, the boyfriend of her sister, Heather Trujillo, 17, who was babysitting for Zoe at the time.

At some point the pair apparently made comments to investigators that they were acting out moves from Mortal Kombat. However, as we reported earlier this year, Heather's aunt believes that Roberts made up the Mortal Kombat story to "look tough" (see: Is Brutal "Mortal Kombat" Murder Lacking the Mortal Kombat Part?).

As reported by Colorado's 9news, Trujillo has received an 18-year sentence which will be suspended if she successfully completes six years in a program for young offenders. She must also testify against Roberts at his upcoming trial.

GP: This case is a terrible tragedy. But beyond that it demonstrates the media's focus on the sensational - and perhaps untrue - Mortal Kombat aspect. What has not received nearly as much coverage is that this was a completely dysfunctional family situation, one that was well known to family service authorities in at least two states.

Via: Kotaku

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Should ‘sexism’ factor into a video game’s rating?:

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Michael ChandraWonderkarp, try games where you don't get interactive cutscenes and only the main character really talks to people. Or games with a silent protagonist. I think the Bechdel test is a nice indicator (though flawed) for movies and such, but not games.11/22/2014 - 7:56am
ZippyDSMleeWymorence: HTD was a fun and very messed up film I love it. A new one would be nothing like it sadly.11/22/2014 - 1:57am
Andrew EisenOnly if we lived in a world where a bad movie meant every subsequent attempt would suck. Seriously though, after the last few years, I'll give Marvel the benefit of the doubt that it could make a great Howard the Duck movie.11/22/2014 - 1:29am
Wymorenceisn't that a GOOD thing there isn't a movie after the abomination that was the first?11/22/2014 - 12:27am
Andrew EisenNo movie in sight but Howard the Duck is returning to comics! https://games.yahoo.com/news/howard-duck-series-announced-184400635.html11/21/2014 - 10:48pm
MechaCrashThe point of the Bechdel Test isn't "is this film sexist," it's to illustrate "this is an incredibly low bar and most movies STILL can't pass it."11/21/2014 - 10:11pm
mthielNew report on Adam Lanza http://tinyurl.com/pnj9os611/21/2014 - 8:07pm
Andrew EisenIf you missed the HuffPost segment I guested on, the replay is now embedded in the story.11/21/2014 - 6:05pm
Wonderkarphttps://pbs.twimg.com/media/B2__4yZCcAA9Ytp.jpg these look amazing. Peach is the only one I'm tempted to open cause her packaging is bent. get another nonbent one....man. toycollector me and gamecollector me is fighting11/21/2014 - 5:51pm
WonderkarpJust finalized my Smash Bros free Sound Track Order. Also got 4 amiibos and they look fantastic. I'm afraid to open them. they look spectacular!11/21/2014 - 5:45pm
james_fudgeCan we all agree that Andrew cleans up nicely and can go on any program?11/21/2014 - 5:01pm
Wonderkarpthank you for that line, Andrew. alot of great films fail the bechdel test. Gravity fails it and it has a female lead.11/21/2014 - 4:48pm
Andrew EisenAw, thanks James! Well, now I have to drive back to work!11/21/2014 - 4:45pm
Andrew EisenDidn't have a chance to say this on the HuffPost segment but while the Bechdel test is useful as a broad examination of gender representation in media, it's not at all appropriate as a judgment of quality.11/21/2014 - 4:45pm
james_fudgeAndrew you killed it!11/21/2014 - 4:44pm
WonderkarpMadeline Bergman. second female, they never speak of men, just a computer program. it passes the test11/21/2014 - 4:34pm
E. Zachary KnightDoes Other M have more than one woman in it?11/21/2014 - 4:31pm
Wonderkarpyet Metroid Other M, a game where people cried sexist due to the commanding officers restricting Samus, passes the test....11/21/2014 - 4:21pm
Wonderkarpwait...they are using the bechdel test to determine which games are sexist?.....how does that work with a game like Super Mario Bros when there is no Dialogue? test itself is BS. Alien doesn't pass it11/21/2014 - 4:20pm
james_fudgeAndrew Eisen on Ice! Please join in at 4:23 pm et and support our bestie! http://live.huffingtonpost.com/r/segment/sweden-sexism-video-game/546d41cffe344486d400023711/21/2014 - 4:05pm
 

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