Post Mon Feb 28, 2011 11:17 am

Ed Boon- Mortal Kombat Co-Kreator

This article is something I wrote for my video game class. Enjoy!

Edward J. Boon was born on the 30th of March, 1964 in Chicago, Illinois. (“Ed Boon – IMDb”) He is held to be one of the greatest American video game designers of the 1990’s. In fact, in 2009, Ed Boon was listed on IGN’s "Top 100 Game Creators" as #100 on the list. ("100. Ed Boon.") Known as Ed Boon, he was the co-creator, along with John Tobias, of the fighting game series known as Mortal Kombat (St. Louis Business Journal), which created an extreme amount of not only great criticism for core game mechanics and uniqueness, but also an extreme amount of negative criticism for the amount violence and excessive gore present in the game series. After the position of lead programmer for the game series for over 15 years at Midway, Ed boon transferred over to one of Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment’s subsidiary production studios called NetherRealm Studios, whenever Warner Bros. bought the studio from Midway. ("100. Ed Boon.")
Ed Boon, under different corporations, has programmed and designed for the following video games: Super Smash TV, Mortal Kombat, Mortal Kombat II, Mortal Kombat 3, Ultimate Mortal Kombat, Mortal Kombat Trilogy, Mortal Kombat 4, Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero, Mortal, Kombat Gold, The Grid, Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance, Mortal Kombat: Deception, Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks, Mortal Kombat: Armageddon, Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe, multiple pinball systems, and the next Mortal Kombat game that is set for a 2011 release. (MobyGames) Not only has Ed Boon programmed and designed these games, but he also has a good amount of voice-acting, too. He did all the voices for Super Smash TV and when Mortal Kombat came out, Boon did many characters in that game, and continued throughout the series. Interestingly, he even holds the Guiness World Reocrd for longest running voice acting in a video game, voicing Scorpion since the first Mortal Kombat games and even in both of the films Mortal Kombat and Mortal Kombat Annihilation. (Jeff Gerstmann ) (He also does the voice of Scorpion as a cameo in Comedy Central’s Drawn Together.) (""Drawn Together" The One Wherein There Is a Big Twist: Part 2 (TV Episode 2005) - IMDb. ")
Ed Boon continually tries to tie in other aspects of his life and his works are heavily influenced by his world around him. Not only does he incorporate his examinations into his video games, but he also constantly tries to stay connected and engaged with the fan-base through many medians. One median in which Ed Boon personally talks with his fans that has become increasingly popular over the last year is Twitter. Boon uses his account on Twitter to inform fans that actively follow him of information from the lead designer of the game weeks and sometimes months before the information is supposed to be released. He uses this to his advantage to keep fans actively talking about the upcoming Mortal Kombat reboot. He can use this to gauge fans’ reactions to news to help him decide what is a good move for the game or if he’s focusing too much on non-important subjects. He also uses Twitter to selectively release information. For instance, September 10th of 2010, Ed Boon posted a photo of a leg a yet-to-be identified female character and claimed that if Shao Kahn (the main boss of the villians from the Mortal Kombat series) would receive the most votes and win Gamespot’s “All Time Greatest Villain” Contest, that he would release more information about the character. Before this, there has been no real attempt to directly put the responsibility for what information will be released on the players or fans of a series. He brought many people into the world of Mortal Kombat through interactivity, and now he is granting them interactivity with the development of the upcoming title. (Boon)
As stated before, as lead programmer and designer of the Mortal Kombat series, Ed Boon has been able to take control over many aspects of the game and change points of the video game to put his own style on the development of the games. His influences range from very random sources… For instance, Ed Boon graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (MobyGames), but before that, he graduated from a private Catholic high school called Loyola Academy. With all the violence and death within this game, Ed Boon does not pull characters and themes from Hell or Judea-Christian beliefs to represent this darkness. Instead, there are other realms that are parallels to our own or other dimensions within the Mortal Kombat series such as our world, the Earthrealm, the Orderrealm or the realm that most people would consider Hell, the Netherealm. There is even a realm that is simply referred to as Heaven, which is the direct equivalent to the Catholic Church’s ideal heaven.
Other influences for the Mortal Kombat series that Ed Boon has shared about are music and friends/family. In the series, he named both Tanya and Sonya after his sisters named Tania and Sonya, and named Noob Saibot after himself and the co-creator of Mortal Kombat, John Tobias. (The name composes of their last names spelled backwards.) Designing characters has really been reflective of his relationships, but Ed Boon has also put in some ‘Easter eggs’ to connect some of his favorite bands to the franchise: Rain, a purple ninja, has his name and costume based off of Prince’s Purple Rain album, and even the album Abacab, which was a cheat code that was enterable in the Sega Genesis version of Mortal Kombat.
Whenever the first Mortal Kombat game was released, in 1992, there was no ESRB or rating system that warned parents about video games and there was no way of parents actually knowing what kind of situations were going to be in the games they buy for their children. Well, for Midway to compete with Capcom’s Street Fighter series, Midway needed a vantage point and a fighting game to be unique and draw in cash that they are losing to competition and the way they did that was with gore and violence. Mortal Kombat introduced a new level of gore to video games whenever it was released and even featured a special way of mutilating the opponent after a victory known as a ‘Fatality.’ After seeing these kinds of graphical depictions, parents across the nation claimed that this game would corrupt the mind of the youth, even though Ed Boon had stated that his intentions was to not sale the game to children, but to adults who enjoy the excessive amounts of blood and violence. Congressional hearings were set up and there was a lot of pressure on the video game corporations to be regulated. Fortunately, the ESRB emerged from this extreme criticism, a completely separate entity from government control, and began labeling video games with ratings. (Dutton) Other notable fighting games of the time that are somewhat attributed the name of helping create this necessary rating system are Primal Rage and Killer Instinct.
The Mortal Kombat franchise has been going strong since it started, but has lost a lot of fans over the years because of other substitutable games and lack of new elements, or too many elements, in the newer releases, but the upcoming Mortal Kombat game promises to bring the experience back to where it began by removing all the unnecessary elements such as a 3rd dimension to move the player in, the weapons introduced in previous version, a return of most of the original characters, and even a regression back to the original trilogy’s story-line. (Ryckert) "With every game we make we need something dramatically different. With this one it's because it's returning to what made MK what it is; it's a return to 2D fighting, Fatalities... Mortal Kombat's return to form, so to speak." (Robinson) Ed Boon has really put a lot of effort into regaining the players and fan-base that the original Mortal Kombat games established, and hopefully it is worth it because there is a lot of hype behind it, and even a television series based off of it to be released later in 2011.

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