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The Secret to the Gruesome Sounds in Mortal Kombat Is Exploding Vegetables

We smashed bell peppers with Mortal Kombat’s sound designers to simulate the game's gore.

by Dexter Thomas and Michael Shade
Aug 20 2019, 3:12pm

If you twist a bell pepper in just the right way, it sounds like someone’s chest cavity being ripped open.

A lot of non-gamers might not be aware that Mortal Kombat is still being produced. In the early 90s, the game was at the edge of realistic, digitized violence, and the franchise was so controversial that Congress held hearings about it.

Believe it or not, the series has only gotten more violent since then. Its most recent installment, Mortal Kombat 11, features zoomed-in sequences where characters can break spines, bite out chunks of brain, or gouge out eyes.

But try playing it, and it’s not just the sights that will make you ill — it’s the sounds.

The unsung heroes of Mortal Kombat might really be the sound designers who sit in a room for hours, trying to smash household objects, fruits, and vegetables together in a way that sounds like a convincing disembowelment.

VICE News went to the game's HQ in Chicago to see what it’s like to make the sounds that make gamers squirm in their chairs.

The original version of this video first appeared August 16, 2019, on VICE News Tonight on HBO.