Gaming’s ESRB turns 20

For ESRB 20the past two decades, if you’ve wanted to get a video game into Wal-Mart, Target or any other brick and mortar retailer, you’ve had to go through the Entertainment Software Ratings Board first.

The ESRB isn’t just the gatekeeper of what can and can’t appear in a video game. It’s also proven to be a helpful tool for parents, a shield against those who wish to demonize an industry, and a thorn in the side of game makers hoping to reach the biggest audience possible.

It turns 20 on Tuesday, and while vidoe game ratings are now ubiquitous, that wasn’t always the case.

Read more at Yahoo! Games

Get over here! New Mortal Kombat coming in 2015

Now Mortal Kombat Xthat his stint overseeing weather conditions in the Northeast is over, Sub-Zero is getting back to what he does best: kicking butt.

After weeks of winks, whispers and hints, Warner Bros. Interactive and developer NetherRealm Studios have officially announced Mortal Kombat X, the latest in the long-running fighting game series. It’s due to land on the PS4, PS3, Xbox 360, Xbox One and PC in 2015.

Read more at Yahoo! Games

Mortal Kombat: The long journey back to theaters

When “Mortal Kombat: Annihilation” hit theaters in 1997, it did something that parents groups and senators had failed to do: Brought the franchise to its knees.

The film was so horrendously bad that it made 1995’s “Mortal Kombat,” which only the most die-hard fans of the series truly embraced, look downright artistic. Production on a third sequel, sub-named “Devastation,” was shelved and New Line Cinema never looked back.

Read more at Variety’s Technotainment blog

New Mortal Kombat movie on the way

It’s been 14 years since Sub-Zero, Johnny Cage, Sonya Blade and Raiden were in theaters, but in 2013, they’ll be back.

New Line Cinema and Warner Bros. Interactive are partnering to bring Mortal Kombat back to the big screen — and they may just be able to redeem the franchise’s long tarnished cinematic legacy.

Read more at Yahoo! Games

NPD: Mortal Kombat, Xbox 360 lead strong April sales

The Easter Bunny apparently stuffed a few baskets with video games this year. The late holiday and a strong slate of titles overcame gloomy headlines of data theft to boost April video game sales by 26 percent, according to the NPD Group.

Hardware sales were also impressive, climbing 12 percent overall, though Microsoft and Sony had a lot more to celebrate than Nintendo did.

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Violent game classics make a comeback

When action video games hit their first golden age in the early 1990s, concepts like “stealth” and “consequences” weren’t even a glimmer in developer’s eyes. The focus was on over-the-top carnage. The premise: if it moved, shoot it – though you could also kick, punch or stab it, depending on the title.

As the industry matured, though, in-game violence evolved. Narratives were added to the action, and heroes became more than one-dimensional instruments of destruction. It wasn’t a bad thing, per se, but it seemed like a move away from what hardcore action titles were all about.

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Interview: Tancharoen On Mortal Kombat’s Sudden Screen Rebirth

[Gamasutra’s editor at large Chris Morris talks to director Kevin Tancharoen on how the genuinely accidental YouTube release of his short spec film Mortal Kombat: Rebirth led to a gig with Warner Bros. making live-action episodes ahead of the new Mortal Kombat game.]

When the live action short film Mortal Kombat: Rebirth hit YouTube in March 2010, people started buzzing. The film, starring Michael Jai White and Jeri Ryan, was not only cool to watch, it was reverential towards the classic Midway-originated fighting game series.

Director Kevin Tancharoen had hoped to use it to lobby Warner Bros. to sign him on to steer a reimagined MK film. While he didn’t quite make it to that level, the company has contracted him to direct a series of live-action shorts that will likely lead up to the release of the new Mortal Kombat game in April. Ironically, though, it all started with a mistake.

Read more at Gamasutra

“Mortal Kombat” goes live-action – again

Another old-school video game is getting the live action treatment – but in a different way than its peers.

While Universal is trying to bring “Asteroids” to the big screen and Namco is shopping a 3D series AND reality series revolving around Pac-Man, Warner Premiere has announced plans to create a series of live action digital shorts around “Mortal Kombat”.

Read more at Variety’s Technotainment blog