Mortal Kombat secret menus have been a rumor in the video game for over 20 years. The EJB secret menus, named for series co-creator Ed J. Boon, have been sitting unknown and hidden in the first three arcade cabinets of the franchise since their release in the early ’90s.
The Mortal Kombat gem involves quickly tapping both the player block buttons in a precise sequence until it unlocks. The secret menus are getting widespread attention now, thanks to a long-winded video demonstrating the unlock method on the arcade hardware.
Boon has said in the past that there were still undiscovered secrets in early games, and this discovery proves that he wasn’t joking. Now, the question becomes whether there are still additional treasures to be found.
The options in the Mortal Kombat secret menus are mainly devoted to diagnostic testing and internal management for arcade owners, but you can also use the menus to jump directly to the endings for specific characters, cheat your initials into the high score screen, and view some secret thank-you messages from Boon himself. In Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3, you can also use the menu to view a quick fatality demonstration and play a punishing, hidden Galaga-style shoot-’em-up.
On at least some Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 cabinets, the EJB menu trick can also be used to set the cabinet to free play mode, letting you (and anyone else) grab a game without putting in any quarters, as shown in this video. Given that, it’s probably a good thing for arcade owners everywhere that this trick remained secret for so long.
Unlike console and PC games, arcade cabinets aren’t typically available for anyone to poke around in. This can lead to secrets going unnoticed in arcade games for years, even in the most popular machines.
Gamers may find Mortal Kombat secret menus in console games in the future. Sometimes these are called Easter Eggs.
It’s crazy to think such a popular series of arcade cabinets could hold their secrets so long. If you have access to a cabinet, and you’d like to check out the EJB menu, the video above explains the complex button sequence needed to unlock it.
The Mortal Kombat secret menus open up all sorts of useful and silly things. You can check out character endings, see frame error counters, perform diagnostic tests and even unlock Galaga mini-games. Some gamers wonder if there are other secrets waiting to be explored.