The inescapable echo of turkey gobbling can mean only one of two things: either someone's cracked out Mortal Kombat II for a little retro revenge, or there are thanks to be given in the MK homeland!
We understand not everyone celebrates Thanksgiving this time of year, but in the spirit of MK's origins and the general act of well wishing, we hope you'll oblige. Afterall, Mortal Kombat fans have had a lot to be thankful for in the last couple of years!
#10 Mortal Kosplay
We kinda missed the boat on Halloween, so why not start simple?
The influx of interest in Mortal Kombat has been a boon [see what I did there?] to fans of dressing up as their favourite kick-butt characters. This kostume kombat phenomenon goes well beyond the thrills of Halloween and officially endorsed costumes, extending to some of the world's biggest pop culture events and contests. There have been official models endorsed, too, as I'm sure you've managed to notice.
As an enlightened bastion of modern thinking, Mortal Kombat Online would never think to stoop to merely objectifying the female cosplayers among us, but that doesn't mean we aren't as thankful for the Kitana and Jades of the world, as much as Scorpion and Sub-Zero. Not to mention some of the less usual suspects! Check out the MKOmmunity's own keruuu (and friend) rocking a seriously bad ass Kung Lao and Nightwolf combo! [pictured right]
Yes, yes. Mileena, too. Perverts...
#9 The Fans
You can't have a wave of living tributes in costume without fans to squidge and wiggle inside them! The ragtag crew in the Mortal Kombat Online MKOmmunity represent only the tip of the iceberg, the coolest and most handsome fans who've flocked to Mortal Kombat in the last few years.
The continued success of the series is a testament to the diehard loyalty of its fans, old and new. Mortal Kombat has always had a sympathetic ear toward the fanbase, incorporating some of our ideas and rumors into the very games themselves! MK and MKO more than anyone knows what it means to be thankful for the fans (most of the time)!
#8 Music & Soundtrack
Fans of the Mortal Kombat games have long been spoiled by the tailor-made soundtracks of Dan "Toasty" Forden. The atmospheric musicman returned in 2011 to work his magic (and "toasty" cameo) in the latest game [read more], but he wasn't the only artist inspired by the warriors!
Mortal Kombat has a long and interesting history with music outside the games. From The Immortals' classic (infamous) concept album and single, to the borrowed music of the movies, music has made fans of many. Songs Inspired by the Warriors took MK back to the pop-alternative masses, uniting characters like Reptile with artists like Skrillex in an audio-concept fusion.
#7 Return to Live-Action
Granted, this step hasn't come without controversy, resulting in a wide variety of perspectives, not all of them good. Even so, however you slice it, the demand for a return to movies has been there since the 1997 sequel flopped, and we're thankful Mortal Kombat is getting another run.
Mortal Kombat: Legacy gave director Kevin Tancharoen an opportunity to present his vision for the Mortal Kombat characters. The freely available YouTube release generated some of the highest numbers ever seen by a first-run programme on the web service. The success has spurred a July announced second series [full story], as well as the promise of a long rumored feature film.
What happens next is still subject to results, but we're certainly glad the wheels are in motion. Production dates that go nowhere can finally be shelved, even if there are still a few questionable stories surrounding the future movie. Speculation seems par for the course in this age of pop culture adaptations, where video games don't always have the best reputation.
#6 High Quality Collectibles
There has never been a better time to be a fan in need of some serious Mortal Kombat curio!
No gaming den or office can be complete without an accurate representation of your favourite characters. For the first time ever, MK has been inundated with licensed products catering to the hardcore enthusiast! We're especially thankful for the work of high-end collectible producers like Pop Culture Shock Collectibles, who've brought Mortal Kombat to the high-end specialist market for the first time with some truly unique items. Life-size busts [pictured right] are a prime example of the impressive wares.
Companies like Jazwares and Syco Collectibles are also doing their darndest to ensure no fan is left behind! With some of the most extensive catalogues, fans young and old can wrap their fighting gear around action figures based on Kabal, or statuettes based on a wide variety of characters as obscure as Motaro!
#5 History & Nostalgia
It goes without saying that we're thankful for the 20th anniversary of Mortal Kombat!
To still be going strong twenty years later is no mean feat, and it brings with it many perks that other series can't claim! The new game may have rewritten history with time travelling hijinks, but no canonical shift can take away the massive wealth of references and fiction Mortal Kombat has amassed -- and continues to utilize in a wide variety of ways.
Nostalgia is half the fun for a longterm fan and the classics have been coming out of the woodwork in 2012! Getting a fresh perspective on Kombat past from guys like John Tobias has been a thrill of the anniversary [read more] - and with releases like Arcade Kollection, the klassics have received new life through carbon and digital services, alike. It all just goes to show there really is kombat for old men!
#4 The Tournament Scene
Mortal Kombat enjoyed its second year at the Evo Championships in Las Vegas, concluding a wild ride across the United States and Canada that was the Evo Series. In a field traditionally dominated by the Japanese fighters, it was a coup worth celebrating when the game was announced in 2011. In 2012, we're thankful for the firm establishment of a Mortal Kombat tournament scene!
The grass roots efforts of players and organizers across the globe has been truly remarkable, building up a fiercely loyal and highly competitive collective over just a few years. Skeptics have been converted, champions crowned. The MK tournament scene has its heroes and villains and continues to be a compelling case for eSports, with sponsors like Major League Gaming contributing greatly to the mainstream reach.
#3 The Current Generation
Key to the Mortal Kombat resurgence and success in the tournament scene has been the game itself! We're thankful for a Mortal Kombat that has held up to scrutiny and taken on its contemporaries in the gameplay stakes like never before!
The success of the current Mortal Kombat engine goes beyond the 2D inspired hardcore gameplay, extending to modes that have supported attempts at a grander style of storytelling. The gloss of graphics becomes less acknowledged as technology reaches ever further, but there's something to be said for the entire presentation of the latest game, top to bottom. We're thankful the game could support spawning everything else we've mentioned on the list, so far!
#2 NetherRealm Studios
With the existing relationship formed during Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe, it seems almost unfathomable that anyone but Warner Brothers could've snapped up America's most successful fighting game series. That said, the simple fact is, the 2009 bankrupcy of Midway Entertainment -- if only for the briefest of moments -- cast a shadow of doubt over the future of the franchise.
It's easy to take the work of NetherRealm Studios for granted, but we have to give thanks for the continued custodianship of the men and women who've been there since the beginning. As Brooklyn is to Kotter; the names may change at NRS over the years, and we may indeed tease them a lot, but there's something to be said for welcoming consistency and loyalty in these buy/sell, corporate-run times.
WB, or any other prospective buyer, could have easily ripped the guts out of the MK dragon, if only to stretch the skin over the cheapest slave-monkeys going. In an industry where studio and brand decline is now part of day-to-day business, NetherRealm Studios have grown, touting improved facilities and an expansion into other major properties [ie; Injustice: Gods Among Us].
#1 The Future...
The purchase by Warner Brothers and the establishment of NetherRealm Studios seems to have all but ensured the continued future of Mortal Kombat. Where once there was an element of uncertainty, we have to be thankful for the abundance of possibilities that await us!
Talk of game sequels in the immediate future may have cooled as the reality of next gen console hardware sets in [read more], but that only goes to show the direction of the series is as grounded as its ever been. There's also the vast array of other mediums that will likely carry the MK torch in the coming months and years. Mortal Kombat may be twenty years old, but it's never been so hot, in so many arenas!
What are you thankful for? Share your thoughts of themed fandom on the forums! We're always thankful for your input! We're also thankful for social media, where you can follow us @MK_Online and Facebook and read our silly jokes about Shao Kahn pillaging the Edenians land. A subject I'm sure isn't at all relevant.