Ed Boon talks about the early days of Mortal Kombat

GI: So when you guys were getting Mortal Kombat started and you were doing your tests of the characters, were you digitizing yourselves in the game? Or did you bring in actors from day one?

EB: In the very beginning, we wanted it to be a game starring Jean-Claude Van Damme and it was supposed to be… I think Bloodsport was a pretty recent release that he had. Bloodsport and Enter the Dragon and all these ensemble things where everybody kind of collects to fight in some kind of a tournament was the kind of theme that we knew we wanted to do that would allow us to have big variety of characters. So we took the movie Bloodsport and we played a videotape and digitized those images and put together like a demo using what we could find.

We made a demo and sent it over to Jean-Claude Van Damme. So we had put together this tape and this demo and kind of showed mocked-up graphics of what we would envision it to look like and then they contacted our guy who talks with the licenses and stuff and they said, “Sorry he’s already signed a deal with Sega” or somebody like that. Which was weird because we never saw that game. I’m still waiting for that game to come out 25 years later.

So we said, “Okay, well, let’s do our own characters.” John Tobias, at the time he was like, “Oh I know a bunch of martial artists that I went to high school with. Let’s bring some of them in and let’s shoot them.” It wasn’t even blue screen or green screen at the time. We just shot them in front of a wall and manually ripped away the edges frame by frame. And we did that super fast. We got a demo of the game running. God, it must have been… just a few weeks. Maybe in a month we got something running.

The big thing was this uppercut. Once we got this uppercut going and the screen shook and the guy flew up in the air then like suddenly everybody is coming into my office “Aw, let me see the game!” Our management all of a sudden… it was something that was real. It was something that people started talking about.

Since we do coin-operated games, we were also working in the building where they manufactured [the machines], so there was a factory and they had a production line and they were making pinball machines at the time. But they were trying to ramp up our offices in, I think it was by Gurnee, we had one that was building the video games and that showed, “Oh for this month we’re going to run out of whatever game we were producing at the time. Can you guys get this fighting game ready in time to fill that production schedule?” And we were like, “We can try” and we were much, much younger than we are now and so I had a lot more energy.

We put the game on test in an arcade like five months after we started it, after that first demo. With six characters. Sonya Blade didn’t exist. And there were four guys on the team: Myself, John Tobias, a guy named John Vogel, and Dan Forden who did music. And that was the entire team. Looking back now, it was odd just because.... I think in my head it’s just two guys on the screen. How hard can it be? Jumping around and stuff. So we put it on test and it was… I swear to god somewhere in my basement I have footage of that first test. But it was like the most surreal thing seeing 30, 40 people crowded around the game and when they would see something crazy happen when they just saw an uppercut or blood or something like that… they were literally running around out of excitement. Running around the machine.

So at the time we were like “Wow!” and we had tested games before and you really get an idea when you test a game how it’s going to do. And we had seen nothing like this. Our company got phone calls from distributors in Los Angeles. I remember one of our distributors [got] mad at us, saying, “What is this game that you’re testing that we’ve heard about?” People flew in from New York just because they heard this game was on test. Again, Street Fighter was huge, so arcades were just packed with people playing Street Fighter. And all of a sudden this new kind of bad boy-looking version of Street Fighter comes out and it was just taking over. It was ridiculous. So some people were flying in from New York and checking the game out, and then we pulled it after just a few days because we knew what the bugs were. So there were people who showed up and the game was gone and we started getting phone calls. It was like nothing you can really imagine, when you see something that’s on the cusp of becoming bigger than the team is.

And we got the game done in eight months. The game from beginning to end was eight months. Four guys. A lot of late night hours. There was no such thing as a designer. The position of designer didn’t exist. It was Programmer, Artist, Sound Guy. Those were the three positions on our team. When I think back to it, the design really was ideas. John Tobias, he designed the costumes and stuff like that. I designed what the guys did, what their special powers were and what their fighting mechanics were. It was a complete collaboration on our part, but as far as the actual work - the implementation of it, the programming in the moves - that was me. And doing the art and the animation and stuff that was John Tobias in the background. Graphics was John Vogel and Dan Forden was the sound. So it was a very tight four-person team. Very collaborative. That was kind of like what started this 25-year chapter of fighting games.

GoNintendo Video - Today's Big Story (12/2/16): Zelda: Breath of the Wild amiibo details

Welcome to Today's Big Story for Dec. 2nd, 2016! Today we have yet another reason to talk about The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, but this time it relates to amiibo!

Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 'guardian' and Poochy amiibo - boxart

Both of these amiibo have received their CPSIA certificates. It's interesting to see that the guardian amiibo received its certificate now. I wonder if any Breath of the Wild release date info could be gleaned from that.

Japan - eShop sale for Dec. 2nd, 2016

Kemco 2nd Super Sale (7 - 21 December)

– D.M.L.C.: Death Match Love Comi (¥1,080 → ¥500) Wii U
– Asdivine Hearts (¥1,080 → ¥500) Wii U

Price Revision (8 December - End times)

– Dai Gyakuten Saiban: Naruhodou Ryuunosuke no Bouken (¥5,990 → ¥2,990) 3DS

Digimon Universe: Appli Monsters Early Purchase Campaign (16 November - 28 December)

– Digimon Universe: Appli Monsters (¥6,156 → ¥5,540) 3DS

Detective Conan TV Anime 20th Anniversary Campaign (30 November - 14 December)

– Detective Conan: Marionette Symphony (¥5,637 → ¥3,400) 3DS
– Detective Conan: Phantom Rhapsody (¥6,156 → ¥4,000) 3DS

Assassination Classroom Sale (16 November - 7 December)

– Ansatsu Kyoushitsu: Korosensei Daihouimou!! (¥6,145 → ¥3,100) 3DS
– Ansatsu Kyoushitsu: Assassin Ikusei Keikaku!! (¥6,156 → ¥4,000) 3DS

Nintendo reveals Legend of Zelda 30th anniversary amiibo usage details in Breath of the Wild

That rare treasure chest is sounding really good to me. Now if only I had the game to see what my amiibo unlocked!

Pokemon GO played with augmented reality glasses

Instead of staring at a smartphone screen, a San Francisco based AR company has adapted its Augmented Reality glasses, to allow the wearer to see and play Pokemon Go via the headset.