When Street Fighter II first hit the arcade scene back in 1991 no one could have predicted quite the sensation the game would become. Calling SFII huge is a bit of an understatement in the same way that calling the meteor that called the dinosaurs a big rock – it isn’t inaccurate, but it doesn’t quite encapsulate the situation.
The fighting game genre was fairly nonexistent in arcades and on home systems prior to SFII’s popularity, and after it you were hard pressed to find a publisher or even a calendar month that didn’t have a fighting game coming out.
One of those challengers was Midway’s Mortal Kombat, a violent game that used video capture of human actors wearing costumes, and it was not only strong enough to stand on its own but also pioneered a different type of fighting video game.
After the release of Mortal Kombat in 1992, fighting games were then divided into Street Fighter-style fighting games and Mortal Kombat-style fighting games, with the main difference being in the title’s use of fatalities, something Street Fighter eschews to this day.
Released just prior to the sensation that was DOOM, Mortal Kombat’s depiction of violence in a video game was visceral, real, and caused a controversy unlike any other seen in the industry. In many ways, DOOM owes a debt of gratitude to Mortal Kombat’s pioneering ways in the area of violence in video games.
And the issue was a divisive one, pitting Nintendo on one side as the self-righteous (and self-proclaimed) family friendly games maker and Sega on the other side as the defender of freedom of expression in games and, ostensibly, the purveyor of more adult fare. Not only did Sega win this battle, but it did so handily.
To give you some idea of how important fighting games were to the