By and large Paul Neimeyer has been one of the unsung heroes of the twenty-seven year legacy of the first Mortal Kombat! As Logo Artist and Designer, he helped bring to life the lasting image of the first Mortal Kombat arcade cabinet! He recently unearthed original concept art sketches from his personal archive, perfectly preserved to give fans a glimpse into MK's arcade origins!
Series co-creator John Tobias originally provided the pencil sketches and color marker comps for development of the arcade coin-op cabinet's design. The drawings detail the now iconic Johnny Cage jump kick side panel, and red and gold dragon, as well as control panel colors and detailing. From these drawings, Paul Neimeyer "did all of the finished line art and color film prep for screening", according to a tweet shared by Tobias.
One image shows the iconic text logo in an earlier iteration as "Dragon Attack" -- a title considered during the game's development. Tobias noted this as "the coolest part of the find" while tweeting about the discovery, adding "I forgot we came this close to actually using Dragon Attack!"
In an interview with MK Online, Tobias explained further, "We would write ideas for the game's title on a marker board in Ed's office and there were a ton of them and some were god awful. "Dragon Attack" and "Ultimate Kumite" were two that were actually considered. I laugh now about how close we came to using those names."
Speaking in the same interview about the iconic dragon design used on the cabinet, Tobias went on to explain, "The dragon icon actually came from a small dragon statue that our general manager, Ken Fedesna, had on his desk. I believe John Vogel, who constructed our background graphics, digitized and used it in the backgrounds. I used it as reference for the dragon that appears on the coin-op game's side cabinet artwork. That dragon's head became the circular dragon symbol that is still used today."
Mortal Kombat was recently inducted into the World Video Game Hall of Fame. John Tobias, John Vogel, and Ed Boon appeared with several klassic arcade cabinets at NetherRealm Studios, offering thanks for the honor.
What do you think about the perfectly preserved treasures of this unearthed lost kontent? Share your thoughts in the comments section below and keep it respectably retro by joining the discussion in the 2D Kombat Klassics forum!