The Legend Of Marty Kombat
Last Updated On: Tuesday, November 1st, 2016 - 11:39AM PST

Greetings! So you want to learn a little more about me eh?

Well, my resume ties up all the essentials quite nicely, so instead of boring you with a repetitive retreat of the same old, I'd like to share with you a story about the very first community I ever managed, and a very unique individual named
"Marty  Kombat!"

I've been a gamer all of my life, but my passion for community management dates back to 1995, where at the tender age of 10 I first gained access to the internet. In these prehistoric times the only way a young gamer like myself could find web-addresses was by scouring the local newspaper for ads. At that time the Mortal Kombat movie was in full effect, so I visited a site, with an insane amount of backslashes, that was operated by Threshold entertainment.

The one thing that caught my eye was the "Guestbook" that they had at the bottom of the page. The ability to talk to somebody else who shared a common interest, free from persecution? This opened my eyes! I went back and forth for days with other MK fans from around the world; eventually I started looking for deeper outlets to express this newfound passion of mine.

This let me to a yahoo newsgroup that talked about current events, the Mortal Kombat movie, and video game violence in general, being a key topic. When somebody posted a link to a Mortal Kombat only group (that was created in 1993) in the form of "" Thus, I joined my first gaming community!

The group took off nicely, and at any given time there could be up to 50 or more different people chatting. Unfortunately, there was no moderation tool, and I quickly met my very first online "troll" in the form of gentleman named "Marty Kombat." Marty's gimmick was that he believed Mortal Kombat to be real, and he was a real life trainee in the fictional Lin Kuei Clan (MK's protagonist Sub-Zero's in-game affiliation).

Marty's gimmick was funny at first, but he began spamming the chats. Eavesdropping in on serious conversation to let users know that their opinions were invalid because they were only familiar with the "fictional propaganda" that were the movies and video games whereas Marty actually lived the life of an actual kombatent training for the upcoming Mortal Kombat be held on Christmas of 1999! This ferociously inspired the majority of the members to constantly insult him, which began some of the first flame wars on the internet. Eventually the group became unreadable, and many users left.

Where as other people loathed Marty, I actually liked him. To me he represented a person who was truly passionate about a fantasy that obviously provided him with some form of escape from his everyday life. I could very much emphasize, and I was sure all the other members could as well! Especially since we all had one glaring thing in common, a fairly abnormal passion for an ultra-violent 16-bit game series. I decided that instead of hopping on the hype train to torch Marty and "save", that I would instead take his talents and subversively channel them for the greater good.

I began playing into the gimmick, asking questions that could garner nothing other than positive responses from him. For Example:

"Being a real life member of the Lin Kuei, I wonder what you and your clanmates opinions are of Sub-Zero's depiction in the modern day media, especially when compared to other, more mainstream, superhero darlings like Batman or Spider-Man."

This was a question that somebody like Marty, who obviously had put so much effort into his gimmick, clearly had a strong opinion about. I theorized that he would struggle to keep his gimmick while answering, as his true opinion on the matter would shine through. Marty did a good job lightly tying in his answers to his gimmick, but his responses were genuine and they inspired genuine responses from others that led to fairly long, complex conversations.

Marty never dropped his gimmick, but it's intention was no longer to annoy, as he now enjoyed positively contributing to the group. After about 6 months (which is like 2 years in forum time) Marty became a mascot of sorts, especially when similar groups/sites began to arise. His mere presence actually became a drawing mechanism, and users would come or stick around just for Marty's gimmick.

I took great pride in this accomplishment, and knew that creating/managing communities was something that I'd want to continue doing for the rest of life! As the internet expanded into the mainstream, more Mortal Kombat fan-sites began to emerge, including many I either made or contributed to in some way. The old yahoo group gradually faded into obscurity but, on Christmas 1999, you better believe I along with many other returned to witness Marty live blog his experiences at the "very real" Mortal Kombat tournament.

Marty stuck around the group until the Mid-2000's when the yahoo groups were transformed into Google Groups. Withouy any positive reinforcement Marty slowly transformed into the negative troll he had established himself as before my intervention until his eventual dissapearance. However, the group itself is still around, albeit in a much smaller capacity.

Anyhow, I've been making/managing communities ever since! Oh and if you're wondering how Marty did at the tournament, well rest assured...although it was a close one, thanks to Marty's heroic efforts along with a surprising cameo by a real life Goku (who was in disguise as Jeff Goldblum the entire time) the Earth narrowly avoided the Netherrealm apocalypse.

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