A Letter to the Characters of the Original Mortal Kombat

Dear Combatants, Human, Non-human, Living, and Dead alike:

Whats up everyone. Its Devin Howard, fan and former player writing from the arguably tumultuous year of 2011 here on Earth. I just wanted to drop a quick line, see how things were going, maybe whine a little bit, and ask for some advice. Now, all of you are battle-tested warriors, of impressive skill, stoic resolve, agile and ruthless and dedicated to your varying causes. You initiated a kind of generational battle in the real world, although it was more a socio-political discussion than a vicious tournament of hand-to-hand combat in which loss meant death. I mean, your 16-32 bits of comically pixilated blood generated an uproar over the convergence of digital worlds and physical reality long before the shocking sadism and eerily boundary defying qualities of today’s hyperrealistic gaming fare. You guys are almost the grandparents of controversy over the real or perceived effects our (human beings of earth) consumption of electronic media has both on our individual bio-physiology and society more broadly.

Sonya Blade. You’ll be happy to hear that women are pretty much giving dudes hell right now, across a big broad range of things from employment to academic achievement. You might not be as happy with the renewed and vigorous attempts to roll back basic reproductive rights though. And a wage gap still exists, but women are kicking ass this day and age, seriously, thought you might like to hear that.

Goro. You might be a violent hired goon, and a half-dragon, but I gotta respect those 9 consecutive tournament wins. Federer and Woods are falling off out here though, and Bonds and Armstrong are all but officially juicers. Stay clean man.

Scorpion. Wow dude, gotta say, you’re a huge inspiration. Not only is your prehensile reptilian weapon thing pretty badass (and your dialogue), but you’re one of the most prolific characters in the entire series. How do you do it? Where does the persistence come from? I can barely summon up the discipline to work out twice in one week and here you are in tournament after tournament like some kind of undead ninja Rocky Balboa. Respect.

Johnny Cage. You were kind of lame man, I can’t pretend to have a lot of smiling things to say here. Plus, celebrity idolization in the US is becoming endemic. Its destructive and vapid and depressing (I’m gonna be honest here too: this is a little hypocritical of me to say, seeing as I’ve made a hobby of asking celebs out on dates).

Kano. Ummm, I’m really sorry but I don’t know anything about you.

Liu Kang. You are the man sir. Victor of the tournament. Guardian of Earthrealm. Conqueror of your own emotions, fears, doubts. How do you maintain such an even keel, balancing your own individual desires against your responsibilities? How do you so consistently occupy that rare ground where human nature and the limits of existence intersect but do not clash? I stumbled across a blog (you probably don’t know what a blog is, typically angsty, self-obsessed, very human) called ‘Wanderlust’, and man, every fiber of my being strained, protested, screamed in unhappiness from my office chair that I wasn’t traipsing around the rough hewn edges of civilization under the shadow of mountains and clouds. But it got me thinking that my response is typical, because what I was seeing was latent, right in front of me, and so amazing, it initiated a response that however real, was far from realistic or productive. I can’t just burn, pine, and perish, I need to actually DO or PURSUE something. Could I borrow some of your confidence?

Sub-Zero. Yeah, you’re still a badass. Freeze + uppercut, it ain’t artistic or inventive, and requires little skill, but deadly as hell. Respect.

Reptile. What the hell are you? You act like some kind of meth junkie/cannibal, you really need a xanex but your fatality was dope, gotta give you that.

Shang Tsung. You’re pretty much just a bastard, but for good to exist there has got be some evil right? Without contrast there wouldn’t be much of anything, theoretical, philosophical, scientific, humanistic or otherwise.

Well, thats it from me. Keep practicing, stay awesome, try and stay alive.


Devin Howard


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