Mortal Kombat (commonly abbreviated "MK"), is a series of fighting games created by Ed Boon and John Tobias. The first four renditions and their updates were developed by Midway Games and initially released on arcade machines, and later to home consoles. The arcade titles were later picked up by Acclaim Entertainment for the home console conversions. Beginning with Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance, Midway Games exclusively created home versions of Mortal Kombat up until Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe. Following Midway's bankruptcy, the franchise was picked up by Warner Bros. in July 2009 and became a part of the Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. The most recent title is Mortal Kombat which is an alternate retelling of the events from the first three games in the series.
The development of the first game was originally based on the actor martial artist Jean-Claude Van Damme, but that idea fell through and Mortal Kombat was born instead. As a result of its success, Mortal Kombat has spawned many sequels and has been spun off into several adventure games, films (animated and live-action with its own sequel), and television series (animated and live-action). Other spin-offs include various comic book series, a card game and a live-action tour.
The series is known for its high levels of bloody violence, including, most notably, its Fatalities—finishing moves, requiring a sequence of buttons to perform, which, in part, led to the creation of the ESRB. The series name itself is also known for using the letter "K" in place of "C" for the hard C sound, thus intentionally misspelling the word "combat," as well as other words with the hard C sound within later games in the series. The first few games in the series were especially noted for its realistic digitized sprites (which differentiated it from its contemporaries' hand-drawn sprites), as well as the prominent use of palette swapping to create new characters.