The year was 1993. Midway's digitized fighting game Mortal Kombat had turned into quite an arcade phenomenon, and the September 1993 release on home systems was a huge success as well (although the Genesis version clearly played a lot better than the SNES version). And when a game is that big... you make a sequel. And at the end of 1993, Mortal Kombat II cabinets started slowly trickling into arcades.
However, the version that was originally released to arcades was... an unfinished game. Midway had a strange method to their madness - instead of sitting on the game and tweaking it until they were finished, they released incomplete versions, and then later released later rom revisions for arcades to upgrade to the newest version. The first versions of MKII were completely playable, but some special moves for some characters had not been added yet, and only a handful of Fatalities had actually been programmed in. The game was also missing other "extra" game elements like the intro storyline, winning streak records, and even endings!
A couple rom revisions later brought about Revision 2.1. This was considered the almost-complete version of Mortal Kombat II. Almost all the Fatalities had been programmed in, along with two new types of finishing moves that were a total surprise to the public... Friendships, and... Babalities.
Unfortunately for Midway, the whole Babality thing was not tested very thoroughly. After people figured out the correct method for doing Babalities, they also learned that the Babality lead to some truly unusual and hilarious glitches.
A couple months later, Revision 3.1 was released and considered the "final" arcade version of Mortal Kombat II. Not surprisingly, the Babality glitches were removed completely.
And I lost my motivation to continue playing the game.
The 2.1 Babality glitches still stand out in my mind as perhaps the most entertaining video game glitch of all time. It obviously had absolutely nothing to do with the actual gameplay, but it was great because it led to hilarious things that were never intended by the programmers. I really did miss the glitch greatly, because it didn't take too long for every arcade machine in the area to be upgraded to 3.1. And there was no chance of ever seeing this "feature" get brought back in a home version (unless they were stupid enough to leave the same exact glitch there on accident). I thought I would never get a chance to mess around with the Babality glitches again, unless by some circumstance I came across an arcade machine that hadn't been fully upgraded.
And then MAME came along. Oh, how I love you, MAME.
So. What exactly are these glitches I keep referring to? Well, first of all, in case you have forgotten (or if you never played MK2), a Babality turns the opponent into a baby, and can only be done if you win the deciding round using nothing but kicks (no punch attacks or special moves done by punches). As an example, here's Baraka's Babality move: Forward, Forward, Forward, High Kick.
Now, observe what happens if you spaz out and continue hitting Forward + High Kick after you've done the initial Babality.
...wow. Okay, let's see what happened here. After making the initial Raiden baby, the second motion actually brought back the main grown-up dizzied form of Sub-Zero back. And for no particular reason whatsoever, a SECOND baby has been placed on the ground... a Kung Lao baby. Strangely, whenever multiple Babalities are performed, the duplicate babies always end up being Kung Lao's. Why, I have no idea... it'd be even funnier if it picked a baby at random, but alas. But that also makes it possible to get...
Five Kung Lao babies! They look so awesome lined up in a row like that too. Note the weird discolored sky at the top of the screen, that sometimes happens too... if the screen was in the middle of flashing when the fatality "timer" runs out, the background will just freeze in whatever color it was in at the time. There's also a small explosion coming out of the floor there for no reason at all.
You can also combine Babalities and Friendships together! Although you can't do anything after performing the Friendship. Still, as long as you're going to turn someone into a a baby, you might as well be friendly about it too, right? Thanks for being so kind about the whole thing, Baraka.
These tricks are all fairly tame though. The REAL fun is when you realize there are other things you can do after a Babality. Namely, special moves so you can actually ATTACK the baby.