Illustration for article titled My Mama Kicked My Ass In iMortal Kombat/i—And Every Other Fighting Game
Image: WB Games

Back when I was a kiddo, there were three absolutes I lived by. First, Batman was the coolest person in human history. Second, Dragon Ball Z was the pinnacle of storytelling. Lastly, parents aren’t good at video games. Like, they just aren’t. Games were our domain.

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So you can imagine my surprise the first time I caught my mom’s hands in Mortal Kombat.

In my earliest gaming years, my gaming diet consisted of Final Fantasy games, arcade-y sports games like Ready 2 Rumble and NBA Street and fighting games. I loved fighting games; in fact, it’s a love that continues to this day. One of my favorites as a kid was Mortal Kombat. This probably stemmed from having a VHS of the movie on repeat simply because the theme song went hard. I wasn’t allowed to play rated-M games as a kid but I inexplicably had Mortal Kombat games. Upon reflection, I realize this was probably just because my mom rocked heavy with them.

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I remember chilling in my room in Kettering, Ohio. Just a 7-year-old boy happily stomping dudes in Mortal Kombat Trilogy, then my mom came in the room just to check in on me and she asked if she could play.

Pft. Mom wants to see me in MK? OK, she can get this work. We started playing, and I was shook. I put all these hours into this game only for my mom to come in and wipe the floor with me. I thought she just got lucky, so we ran it back.

Again, your boy got stomped.

She had to have been practicing. Somehow when I was sleeping she snuck into my room and got on the Playstation. That’s the only explanation. I wasn’t quite off, as my mom did have experience playing Mortal Kombat in the arcade when I was but a wee child stunting in the stroller.

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This wouldn’t be the last time this happened. Fast forward a few years to 2001. My pops sent me a copy of X-Men Mutant Academy 2 on the Playstation. Cyclops was my main and I put in work to learn his combos and his super move. Like clockwork, here comes my mom. This time she had no idea what she was doing, she just wanted to play as Storm. This really should’ve been easy work.

It wasn’t.

Round after round, character after character, I got worked. It didn’t even make sense! I put in the time to get good and here she comes just getting off these combos. Even worse, when I asked how she did that, I’d get hit with “I don’t know I’m just pressing buttons.” Honestly, I think my love of JRPGS was spurred by the fact my mom couldn’t beat my ass in them. Granted, I wouldn’t be surprised if my mom could throw hands in Dissidia: Final Fantasy.

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This trend would only continue throughout my life.

The year is 2011. I’m 18, a freshman in college and still living at home to save money on living expenses. Marvel vs Capcom 3 has finally released, and your boy is in the lab trying to find the best team composition. My mom enters the living room.

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“Whacha playing?”

“Marvel vs. Capcom 3,”

“Oooo, can you play as Storm?”

“...yes.”

“Can uh. Can I play?”

I closed my eyes and took a deep breath, as ass beatings of the past washed over me.

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“Sure madre, you can play.”

This time, I actually could hold my own, and there was a solid back and forth between wins. For once, I could actually compete with my mom. MvC 3 might be one of my favorite fighting games by virtue of the fact I can hold my own in it more often than not.

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I recently purchased Mortal Kombat 11 during Playstation’s spring sale. I’ve been steadily playing the game, trying to get good with Spawn because I know, madre, that when quarantine is over, hands will inevitably be thrown.

This time though, I will be prepared.

Jr Staff Writer @TheRoot. Watcher of wrestling, player of video games. Mr. Steal Your Disney+ Password.

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