Why Mortal Kombat’s Absurd Violence Is Good

Why Mortal Kombat’s Absurd Violence Is Good

Mortal Kombat X is a game where you can:

  • Eat someone’s face
  • Remove someone’s ribcage and use it to string them up like a puppet
  • Use someone’s jaw as an ashtray
  • Shove someone’s head down their throat and then pull it out of their stomach
  • Chop someone’s head off and then before it falls, chop their body up into a delightful lotus pattern in order to nicely compliment their severed head

And many more ludicrous shows of violence and gore. As offensive as these things may seem, these are actually Mortal Kombat X ’s strongest ally against being offensive. They are standing behind a powerful shield, a shield of absurdity.

The violent acts of Mortal Kombat X lie so far outside the realm of reality that it’s hard to take them seriously. This is EXACTLY why we find the game acceptable.

Let’s think about another sort of Mortal Kombat . Instead of these ludicrous fatalities, we turn the violence down, just a bit. Instead of putting a bullet in someones head an watching it pop a wad of bubblegum, we shoot someone in the chest, just once or twice. They fall to the ground, get pale, and slowly drown as blood fills their lungs. We get to see them struggling to get up, to live, but the light slowly fades from their eyes.

Or what about a Fatality where someone punches someone enough that they can no longer act. Instead, they start seizing on the ground, unable to speak, unable to breathe, until eventually they stop moving.

Don’t those scenarios seem screwed up? Far more screwed up than pulling someone’s intestines out and strangling him with them.

The thing is, as violence becomes more and more farfetched, it becomes less and less like the real violence that we encounter in the world. No one in the world is going to freeze someone’s torso, punch it out, grab your spine, break it, and then tear you in half. No one is ever going to do that. But someone might shoot you, or someone you love, and that’s terrible.

In a way, this is the same thing that happens with any fantasy game that shows violence. Look at things like Dragon Ball Z or Street Fighter . Nobody is going to be throwing fireballs at you or launching you in the air and continuing to pummel you. It’s a type of violence so far away from violence in the real world that we don’t identify with it. It doesn’t seem real because it’s so far away from both the real and the possible.

Why Mortal Kombat’s Absurd Violence Is Good

What do you think? Is Mortal Kombat X not offensive because it is too absurdly gory to be offensive? Let us know in the comments.

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