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Mortal Kombat turns 30

AYESHA RASCOE, HOST:

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

(SOUNDBITE OF GAME, "MORTAL KOMBAT")

KYLE WYATT: "Mortal Kombat."

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

(SOUNDBITES OF GAME, "MORTAL KOMBAT 11")

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?

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "MORTAL KOMBAT")

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.

(SOUNDBITE OF GAME, "MORTAL KOMBAT")

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.

(SOUNDBITE OF GAME, "MORTAL KOMBAT 11")

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.

(SOUNDBITE OF GAME, "MORTAL KOMBAT")

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

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.