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Mortal Kombat turns 30


OK, so we're leaving the oh-so-delightful world of children's books behind because it's time for...


KYLE WYATT: "Mortal Kombat."

RASCOE: That's right. "Mortal Kombat." You got to say it like that.


MATTHEW YANG KING: (As Liu Kang) I'm Liu Kang. It is an honor to duel with you.

RICHARD EPCAR: (As Raiden) Is it possible that the past and future are colliding?


CARY-HIROYUKI TAGAWA: (As Shang Tsung) It has begun.

RASCOE: The iconic fighting video game turns 30 this weekend. The original was released in arcades with an old-school joystick to use for kicks and blocks. I played the at-home version of it back in the day. Those finishing moves were intense.


STEVE RITCHIE: Finish him. Scorpion win. Flawless victory. Fatality.

RASCOE: As for the plot, it started with seven warriors fighting in a tournament to protect their realm. Let's just say it's complicated, but that doesn't really matter. There was Johnny Cage, Sonya Blade, Scorpion, Sub-Zero.


STEVE BLUM: (As Sub-Zero) I'm not so cold as to mock your pain.

RASCOE: "Mortal Kombat" is known for over-the-top gore, and it isn't without controversy. It had a starring role back in 1993 in U.S. Senate hearings urging formal content ratings for video games, just like movies. All these years later, though, Mortal Kombat lives on, movies, comic books and sequel after sequel of that legendary video game.


WYATT: "Mortal Kombat." Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Ayesha Rascoe is a White House correspondent for NPR. She is currently covering her third presidential administration. Rascoe's White House coverage has included a number of high profile foreign trips, including President Trump's 2019 summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Hanoi, Vietnam, and President Obama's final NATO summit in Warsaw, Poland in 2016. As a part of the White House team, she's also a regular on the NPR Politics Podcast.
Hadeel Al-Shalchi
Hadeel al-Shalchi is an editor with Weekend Edition. Prior to joining NPR, Al-Shalchi was a Middle East correspondent for the Associated Press and covered the Arab Spring from Tunisia, Bahrain, Egypt, and Libya. In 2012, she joined Reuters as the Libya correspondent where she covered the country post-war and investigated the death of Ambassador Chris Stephens. Al-Shalchi also covered the front lines of Aleppo in 2012. She is fluent in Arabic.
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