The Phroth Staff Recalls Their Favorite Injuries: The One Where Matt Radlow Plays Mortal Kombat


Twas a crisp autumn day back in 1997 and like any third grader, I was in my room playing video games on my SNES. The game was Mortal Kombat II, a game that I had never beaten. Now if you never played this game, Mortal Kombat II was an intense fighting epic that allowed you to battle vicious foes in a tournament to the death. If you have, you remember it was hard as fuck! The lives were limited and the opponents were numerous. But the worst part about it was that even if you performed flawlessly against the playable characters, once you reached the sub-boss Kintaro you were screwed. Despite countless attempts to defeat this colossal fiend, I was always overwhelmed by his sheer brute force. Words cannot even describe how tough Kintaro was.

Kintaro even has badasses like Sub-Zero pissing in their pants

Let me put this into perspective for you non-nerds out there. Fighting against Kintaro is like fighting against the Rancor from Return of the Jedi, except instead of being Luke Skywalker, you’re C-3PO. Still too nerdy? Okay, fighting Kintaro is like fighting a muscular douchebag, and you’re Snookie. However, on this particular crisp autumn day, my luck had turned for the better. Like usual, when finally faced with Kintaro I was disgracefully defeated until only one life remained. But then something magical happened…I was victorious! I had defied all odds! I had beaten Kintaro! The heavens above were smiling down at me. “I’m the coolest kid in the world!” my third grade self stupidly shouted. I was finally going to face the final boss, the evil tyrant Shao Kahn.

Not to be confused with Chaka Khan

It all came down to the final round. My palms were sweaty. My knees were weak. My arms were heavy. My mom was preparing spaghetti…but alas! I was defeated!! After months of playing this godforsaken game I had lost! The final boss Shao Kahn wasn’t even as tough as his four-armed predecessor, yet he kicked the living crap out of me! No words could describe my anger. Unfortunately, my third grade gamer rage instinctively kicked in, as I yanked on my SNES controller with the ferociousness of a cocaine-deprived hooker, sending the system flying with it. This was bad news for me. For you see, my parents were content with placing my television on a cheap, plastic Fisher Price bookshelf. The kind of Fisher Price bookshelf that can only support about 20 pounds, wobbles, and can easily be tipped over.

Pictured above: bad parenting

Naturally, the utter power from my third grade wrath was enough to get the shelf off balance. And as it started buckling, the television it was carrying went crashing down towards my head. At first everything seemed fine. It appeared to only have grazed my head and stood right at my feet. Naturally, my young instincts told me to check the TV and SNES first, which were both fine. All was right in the world. Unfortunately, I had a slight sting around my scalp. After rubbing my head with my hands, I was lead to the shocking conclusion that I was bleeding profusely. Blood had completely covered my hair and hands. Now I wasn’t exactly Rambo back then, so my fit of screaming and crying immediately caught the attention of my mom, who immediately drove me to the hospital. I thought I was going to die. “Now I’ll never grow up to be president,” I idiotically thought to myself during the ride to the hospital. But as it turns out, the injury, although memorable, was nothing life threatening. Despite the bloody head, the scratch wasn’t too deep and I got away with needing only three or four stitches. The doctor then proceeded to call me a “little pussy.” I guess the moral of the story is that Mortal Kombat II is an extremely difficult game.


Stick to Street Fighter, kid


By Matt Radlow, Phroth Phest Director


  1. Matt Powers says:

    Not beating Mortal Kombat II was the same reason Al Gore didn’t become president, and look what happened. You have doomed us all Radlow.

  2. Jeremy Popkin says:

    Those controller wires were a goddamn liability. I nearly broke my N64 during numerous fits of Game Over induced rage, but thankfully consoles back then were utterly indestructible.

    Awesome article. Thank you for reminding me of my own repressed childhood anger.