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At its height, Mortal Kombat was such a popular and influential fighter that even Midway itself started ripping its own game off, joining the already-sizeable number of clones that tried to capitalize on the MK formula (War Gods anyone? Though John Tobias left the Midway team in 2000, Boon has continued to create and oversee each new Mortal Kombat project.

He has reinvented the series from its simplistic roots into a deep, well-rounded fighter that's seen upgrades that include everything from the use of weapons and fully-realized quest modes to online head-to-head match-ups and fighters with dynamically-switching fighting styles -- and audiences continue to eat it up.

Now that he had the look, he needed that special something to attract his target audience.

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Iwatani's eureka moment came when he removed a slice of pizza from a pie, creating the visual inspiration for his next big thing.

It was in this moment that, according to Iwatani, Pac-Man was officially born.

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Sporting a dissimilar combat engine, block button and the innovative "Fatality" match-enders, the violent puncher created or seriously influenced many gaming trends that still stand today -- not just in the genre, but the industry as a whole.

In fact, it was the heavily-criticized emphasis on blood and gore that spawned the first real debate on violence in videogames that also led to the eventual creation of a rating system to help inform parents about which games may be suitable for their kids.

"When [a game] comes together well, there is very little that is more gratifying," Boon told Edge Magazine in 2006.

"It makes all the hard work worth it." Toru Iwatani is a god among men in the gaming industry.

But there's a first time for everything isn't there?

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