The Secret To The Gruesome Sounds In Mortal Kombat Is Exploding Vegetables

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 may not be aware that Mortal Kombat is still being produced. In the early 90s, the game was at the bleeding 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. The 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.

Really, the unsung artists’ heroes of Mortal Kombat might just 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 Nether Realms HQ in Chicago to see what it’s like to make the sounds that make gamers squirm in their chairs.

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A Democrat Went to a Trump Rally to Try and Understand MAGA-Lovers

President Donald Trump threw himself another big rally Thursday night, this time in Manchester, New Hampshire, a state he nearly clinched in 2016.

We invited Lucas Meyer, the president of the Young Democrats of New Hampshire, to attend the rally with VICE News and talk to Trump’s fanatical supporters about why they love him so much. He agreed to attend because it’s “instructive to experience.”

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Inside Wakandacon, a Paradise for Black Cosplayers

Wakanda might be a fictional place but a version of it comes to life in Chicago every summer.

After several trips to the movie theater to watch the record-breaking superhero film “Black Panther,” David Barthwell and his two siblings enlisted the help of their friends to create their own Afrofuturist utopia.

“We found Wakanda to be a place of radical inclusivity, a place of feminism, a space where there is economic independence and a strong focus on community, a space of education and a focus on technology,” said Barthwell in a VICE News interview.

This summer, the group organized a weekend of black empowerment and creativity for the second time, dubbing it “WakandaCon” in homage to the fictional uncolonized African kingdom. The “Black Panther” film’s influence at the convention is pretty clear – from the cosplay to fight choreography workshops.

But the real draw was the aspirational concept of Wakanda. Organizers say 3,000 people attended the second annual WakandaCon.

“There aren’t many spaces where we can be ourselves without being policed by other people,” said Me’Lisa Lashon, dressed in an original costume “Miss Wakanda 2019”, partly inspired by her days in Texan beauty pageant scene.

WakandaCon is among a handful of conventions like Blerdfest and BlerdCon that formed over the past several years as a more inclusive alternative to mainstream cons.

VICE News went to Chicago to see what it looks like to recreate Wakanda.

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Why Kashmiris Are Calling “Bullshit” On India’s Modi

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Did The Assault Weapons Ban Really Work?

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Small Town America Isn’t Prepared For Natural Disasters

In 2016, this tiny Appalachian town experienced a catastrophic flood. Water rushed down its main street from the mountains above, washing away cars and destroying dozens of homes and businesses. Shipments of food and aid were cut off on the main highway, and there was no electricity for days.

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Americans Told Us How Their Lives Have Been Torn Apart By Gun Violence

As the U.S. was still reeling from back-to-back mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio, we started asking Americans from different generations and walks of life how gun violence in the country has impacted them personally.

Then, on Wednesday night, an armed man shot six police officers in north Philadelphia during an eight-hour standoff.

“When Columbine happened, I felt like ‘What’s going to happen now? Are they going to change the gun laws?’ But nothing happened. Then Sandy Hook happened and I thought ‘Now they’re really going to do something about it’ and nothing happened,” Diana Torres, 42, said. “At this point, I feel like what else has to happen for this to change?”

America’s rate of murder or manslaughter by firearm is the highest in the developed world.

“It’s really been normalized that gun violence is a part of my everyday life,” said Jolie Simone Barga, 14. “We don’t feel safe at school. We don’t feel safe going to the movie theater. We don’t go and feel safe at a store.”

Every day, 100 Americans are killed with guns, and hundreds more are injured, according to Everytown research. Families, friends, colleagues, and communities are left with the loss of loved ones and with persistent fear about the next mass shooting.

“This isn’t just a problem that happened in El Paso or a problem that happened in Dayton, Ohio. It can happen anywhere,” Barga said. “Just because it was in those places the other day, [doesn’t mean] that it can be in your hometown the next.”
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This 14-Year-Old Climate Activist Is Giving Up School to Save the World

Alexandria Villaseñor is standing in front of the U.S. Capitol and posting Instagram stories like any other teenager.

“Is there any good music that goes with climate action?” the 14-year-old asks a group of activists.

A couple of suggestions later, a song that’s more than twice her age blasts from her phone speakers on abbreviated loop: “It’s the end of the world as we know it… It’s the end of the world as we know it…”

And Alexandria doesn’t feel fine. Over the next few hours, she’ll have meetings with both of New York’s senators to ask them to do what they can to ensure her generation doesn’t experience the actual end of the world because of climate change.

“I notice a lot of politicians are looking at what is politically possible,” she told VICE News in an interview. “But I did think with some politicians I talk to that we’re on the same page on how urgent this is.”

Around the globe, young people like Alexandria see the climate crisis as the existential threat to their generation. They’ve skipped school in more than 130 countries to demand policy changes, following the lead of Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old from Sweden who is currently sailing across the Atlantic Ocean to attend the United Nations climate talks in September.

As one of the movement’s American organizers, Alexandria has also become a prominent young critic of world leaders’ inaction. Even though nearly 200 countries pledged in the Paris Agreement to keep global temperatures from hitting catastrophic levels, laws and norms aren’t changing quickly enough, and global greenhouse gas emissions are still going up.

When her classmates go back to middle school this fall, Alexandria won’t be joining them. Instead, she’ll take on eighth grade via independent study so that she can lead her global youth network, Earth Uprising, and continue her activism at full blast.

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Farmers Still Love Trump Even Though His Trade War Is Hurting Them

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This Dystopian Game Show Wants to Pay off Your Student Loans

ATLANTA — RJ Korah stands in a dimly lit room, looking intently at a man who holds the keys to his freedom.

Korah owes over $90,000 in student loans. And the man standing across from him can wipe that slate clean for him — provided can correctly answer a question about “Super Mario Bros.”

Korah isn’t alone. Americans owe a combined $1.4 trillion in loans, and young people are getting increasingly desperate as they look for a way out of their debt.

But Korah isn’t in some shady loan shark’s office. He’s in a sound studio in Atlanta, on a game show that specializes in paying off your student loans.

The mechanics for ” Paid Off” are pretty generic: three guests, a pile of money, and corny jokes from the host in between rounds. But the stakes are a little different.

If you make it to the final round, you have the chance to get your entire student loan debt paid off.

The whole thing is led by Michael Torpey, a comedian who you’ve probably seen in a Hanes commercial. For him, this show is part comedy and part political statement — he even closes each show with a reminder for viewers to call their local representatives and demand a solution to the debt crisis.

“I think debt forgiveness isn’t a handout,” says Torpey. “It’s the responsible thing.”

VICE News took a visit to the set of Paid Off to see if RJ would be able to pay off at least a little bit of his loans, and to find out why Torpey wouldn’t mind if his show gets canceled — as long as someone listens.

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