The punch that changed Mortal Kombat history

Enlarge / The raw power of a new Mortal Kombat cabinet was hard to contain…

David L. Craddock’s Long Live Mortal Kombat goes behind the scenes to reveal untold stories from the making of the first four Mortal Kombat games and explores how the franchise impacted popular culture. In this excerpt from the book, two of MK‘s arcade legends meet for the first time and learn a new technique that propels them to the top of the food chain in their local arcades.

Nitin Bhutani was bored. It was the fall of 1992, and he was hanging out with friends between classes where he attended college in Long Island, New York. The group had two hours to kill. Bhutani proposed they go to the student rec center and play some of the pinball and arcade games there. Brown-skinned with dark, slicked-back hair, he looked for any excuse to get away from classrooms and play games. Truth be told, though, he was lukewarm toward his own suggestion. He and his boys had played the rec center’s handful of coin-operated amusements to death. But it was either hit buttons or hit the books, so they moseyed over to the rec center.

To Bhutani’s surprise, a new cabinet stood among the ranks of games he had conquered. He watched the attract mode. When the game’s title flashed across the screen, something about it—the intentional misspelling, the golden lettering set against a red backdrop—caught his eye. A few other guys stepped up to play. One of them finished the match by firing a bolt of lightning at the other character that blasted his head apart in a spray of blood. Holy shit, he thought. “It just showed up one day. I see this game where people are chopping heads off and am like, ‘Oh my god. I gotta play this,'” he recalls.

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