Mortal Kombat is Released

Mortal Kombat is a fighting game developed by Midway, released in arcades in 1992.

After being published by Acclaim Entertainment for a home version, it was later returned to Midway. It centers on the first Mortal Kombat tournament and the ultimate defeat of the evil Shang Tsung by the monk Liu Kang.

Originally, creators Ed Boon and John Tobias wanted to create a video game starring Jean-Claude Van Damme, with a digitized version of the action star fighting villains. However, Van Damme was already in negotiations with another company for a video game that ultimately was never released. Van Damme's likeness is still clearly seen in the character of Johnny Cage, with whom he shares his name's initials, JC; a Hollywood martial arts movie star who performs a split punch to the groin (performed by Van Damme in a scene from Bloodsport).

The game spawned numerous sequels, and is considered one of the most popular American fighting games to date.

The beginning of the 1990s was an important turning point for arcade games. In 1991, Capcom released Street Fighter II, and SNK followed shortly thereafter with Fatal Fury. These two games helped to propel the once meager fighting game genre into mainstream success, and ushered in a new culture of competitive gaming into arcades all over the world.

It was also during this time that Midway, once known as one of the leading names in arcade game localizations, was looking to bolster their name as a developer of original games. The company had merged with Williams at the tail end of the '80s, and it was from them that they acquired the internal development studio that would make them a household name among gamers.