I’m not one to make posts on reddit, only replies. But I feel like you would appreciate this…
So, I live in Korea and Mortal Kombat is out today and I’m gonna go see it. I’m super excited. But there is another reason I’m excited, not just because I like the games. Mortal Kombat is why I am where I am in life.
When I was in elementary and middle school, I was forced to play sports. You know, where your parents throw you on a team to teach you socialization, confidence, and team work. But, I was pretty bad at sports, so I’d fail and the other kids would laugh at me. I’d say I wanted to quit, and then my parents would say, “It’s OK! You’re fine” Spoiler, it was not OK for me to get picked on for years. As sports are such an integral part of growing up for many, my parents and school was adamant I just keep doing them. I was always picked last at school during recess, and my PE teachers sometimes laughed at me for being worse than the girls. Nowadays, I don’t think there is shame in being worse than a girl at something, but to a 10 year old boy: no way. Far from helping my socialization, confidence, and teamwork, sports made me shy, insecure, and poor at working with others and I was like this for years.
Well one day I found Mortal Kombat and started playing it. I was good at it. I whooped the few friends I had. It was awesome. It was great for my self esteem. I made myself a little Raiden costume out of my bathrobe. I thought to myself, if I were a strong, fit, powerful God of Thunder the other kids wouldn’t pick on me. So I got interested in exercise. I started jogging and lifting on and off and taking care of my health. It wasn’t systematic, but while I wasn’t a body builder I was still actually stronger than most kids my age which really helped my self esteem. I also became interested in Asia. It was great.
Fast forward to 2000 when I went to university. I liked Asian things, but I met a bunch of friends who over-romanticized Asia but didn’t know anything about it, and I thought to myself, “Am I like that? I don’t want to be like that, I actually want to know about Asia … like REAL Asia.” So during my undergrad, I got a minor in Asian Studies. During the minor I was given a chance to study abroad in Korea.
I really liked it, so I decided to get an MA in International Studies because traveling abroad changed my life. But I wanted to be a teacher so I also signed up for another MA in Teaching. About eight years ago, I came back to visit Korea and got offered a job while visiting the school I did my study abroad at.
Now I teach in a Korean University, and spend the mornings jogging or lifting. Mortal Kombat, far from being the brain-rotting thing that so many people in the 90’s claimed it would be is directly and indirectly responsible for me developing self confidence, getting two grad degrees, living abroad, getting a sweet job, and taking care of my health. Well… at least mostly taking care of my health… pizza is darn delicious and I have no portion control.
So, thanks to everyone for keeping the franchise alive and active! I can’t wait until we can all talk about the movie.