Do not deny you’ve said “Get Over Here” from Mortal Kombat. The same way you have done a Hadoken or a Kamehameha. In the 90’s, the method of using real actors to make games were starting to become a big thing. As different as FMV is, digitization was the FPS bet for success. It has advanced over time and you seen it in games like Heavenly Sword, Beyond Two Souls, and more. In the beginning, it was the thing of the 90’s. In the end, it has expanded to something more.
When Mortal Kombat came out, the sprite games were dominating Arcades and the home. MK, though, was something we never have seen before. We people were uppercutting their opponents and digitized blood came out, we were witnessing a new evolution of gaming. Anyone who played the game was impressed. It affected Street Fighter 2 business and developers wanted to hope on the violent train that brought Midway success.
The thing about digitization was that it only worked for Midway and nobody else. Just look at the success of Mortal Kombat 2 versus games like Tattoo Assassins, Pit-Fighter, and Street Fighter The Movie The Game. Midway was able to take real-life actors and record and program these characters to make a functional and fun game. Since we had games like Clayfighter, Killer Instinct, Samurai Showdown, and other fighting games, digitization seemed like the next step that gaming was going to be in the future. Sadly, that wasn’t the case.
Actors were still being used but not their true likeness. With a game like Heavenly Sword, actors were being used for CGI cutscenes and with Madden, using real live players to do animations for those titles. Digitization changed and even when MK 4 came out, developers stop using it since the cost was a bit high and not much return was coming in from it.
I can say though that in the 90’s, it was the hot art style for arcades. It didn’t look good on console and goodnight the 3DO didn’t help it at all (go take a gander at The Way Of The Warrior). This method did evolve using unknown actors and some known to bring a cinematic experience when the HD era arrived. Games like Uncharted, Beyond: Two Souls, Hellblade, and more might not fully utilize the process (that the graphics look like they been digitized) but the process is still there.
Although the moment has way past, digitized graphics were something to behold. Though sprites and FMV were alive and well, it existed for a long time. Now, if we look at the Arcades, we can see the cheesiness of it all but that’s what great about Art in video games. The new may become old but it will always be historic.