This upcoming April 23rd will mark the 11th anniversary that my father passed away. Before you jump to conclusions and think I'm about get all sappy and depressing I want to let you know one thing: I'm not. I won't bore you with the details about how he was a "great friend", "loving dad", "loyal son" or anything like that. It has been 11 years, and I don't feel that anyone ever throughly expressed how awesome he was. So I will document one moment that will sum up just how much I love and respect my dad.
In 1994, "Mortal Kombat II" was ported to the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES). My dad purchased the SNES as a family gift for Christmas two years prior. The first Mortal Kombat game was a pretty big deal, and the second one was an even bigger hit when it was released in arcades across the country. I had played both versions, and spent a lot of time at National Coney Island during the summer of 1994 because the arcade version was there. It was such a smash hit that people would go to National just to stand in line and play the game.
Needless to say, "Mortal Kombat II" for SNES was at the very top of my Christmas list that year. I knew my dad was my best shot at getting the game. After all, he was a former United States Marine. The United States discharged him because they wanted to give the Soviet Union a fair fight during the Cold War. He then spent the rest of his life being a bullet proof vest tester. I know, my dad was a badass. Also, he ordered "Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare" off of Pay Per View for my sister and I to watch when I was just five years old. With that said, why would my dad not buy me "Mortal Kombat II" at age eight?
Only Mark Wilcox would show Freddy Krueger to a five year-old
Unbeknownst to me, there would be some obstacles in the way. After all, my dad usually let me watch horror movies on a whim, he would never consult anyone first. I know that Christmas alone opens up several conversations, one of them being "What are you getting your kids for Christmas?" or "what do your kids wants for Christmas?", to which my dad would reply "he's asking for 'Mortal Kombat II' this year. At least he's not asking for Magic The Gathering yet."
There was a ton of controversy surrounding the Mortal Kombat franchise. It was the most violent game at the time, and raised the bar for mature video games. Never before did video games display such graphic images such as punching off your opponents head, knocking people into pits of spikes, slicing people in half, you get the picture. My aunt (my father's sister) had already purchased "Mortal Kombat II" for my cousin, who was three years older than me at the time (he's not anymore, I'm pretty sure that I caught up to him). My aunt heard that I wanted the same game for Christmas, to which she told my dad to not purchase the game, because I was too young and was not mature enough to play such a violent game.
"Mortal Kombat II" was pretty fucking ridiculous for its' time
That was just the beginning. My babysitter, who was an elderly lady, had caught my friends and I playing the first "Mortal Kombat" numerous times at her house. My buddy at the daycare brought his Sega Genesis and would always execute the blood code. She saw how violent it was, and would always take the game away from my friend. She told my dad that it was an awful game, and that it was not meant for children like me.
Then there was my mom. I had never played "Mortal Kombat" around my mom, nor did I tell her that I wanted the game. She had watched a story on the news about how violent the game was and how much controversy surrounded the game. When my mom got word that I wanted "Mortal Kombat II" for Christmas, she practically begged my dad to not get it for me.
Then there was my second grade teacher, who was a total bitch. Despite her being evil, I was very nice and loyal to her because she had a nice rack, and I happened to hit puberty six years early. She gave the class an assignment one month before Christmas: write about what you want Christmas. I wrote about how much I wanted "Mortal Kombat II" for SNES as well as some other things. The next week I got my paper back, and she wrote on it "C+ You'll shoot your eye out!" Then her and my mom (who was dressed as a witch for some reason) taunted and laughed at me.
Finally there was my sister, whom I shared a major sibling rivalry with when we were little. For you only-children out there, allow me to explain how siblings are spiteful toward each other for no logical reason. Most siblings resemble the siblings in the story of Cane and Abel (yeah, I never thought I would be quoting the Bible either). Sometimes I would tell my friends to call my house just so that my sister could not use American Online, because I enjoyed it when things did not go her way. She pulled the same shit on me, one of those moments being the time she told my dad to not get me "Mortal Kombat II" because of how violent it was, and that I was not mature enough to play it, and that it could have an adverse effect on me, etc.
Fast forward to December 25th, 1994. I open my presents, one of them being a box with the black dragon logo on it. My dad had come through. This was my Red Rider BB gun. I was now able to play "Mortal Kombat II" from the comfort of my own home in my underwear. All was right in the world.
I played a lot of SNES in my underwear
The moral of this story is not just that my dad was so awesome that he let me watch horror movies and bought me kick ass video games. It was so much more than that. I learned on December 25th, 1994 that my dad did not take any lip from women. After five women told him to explicitly not do something, he went ahead and did it anyway. And that is why I will always love my dad.
RIP Mark Wilcox: June 20, 1959 - April 23, 2000. You will always be remembered.