It was just about a year ago when gamers freaked out about the inclusion of a story mode in NBA 2K16, written and directed by Spike Lee, which featured a high school basketball prospect from Harlem looking to make it in the NBA.
There was just one problem, this character was black and the game wouldn’t let you forget it.
The review from Game Informer read in part, “no matter what race or creed you create for your MyPlayer, you play the role of ‘Frequency Vibrations,’ a high school hoops sensation born and raised in Harlem. I embraced this narrative direction since this is the story Lee wanted to tell, but the dissonance of seeing my pasty white player interacting with his black twin sister ultimately made me go recreate a different character so the cutscenes wouldn’t be so jarring.”
Comments from the gamers themselves were more blunt, “It’s safe to say Spike Lee destroyed the MyCareer section of this game and tried to make it only friendly to the black community. I don’t want to be a part of a damn annoying black family with an idiot story plot and ‘friend’ that I’d like to personally kill. Just let me be me and my story to be mine, not yours dick.” read one comment by iamburnsy in the comments section of the IGN review.
Yeah it’s safe to say that people didn’t like having to play as a black character in a video game.
Well imagine having to deal with this issue your entire gaming lives. Minorities are constantly forced to play as a white character and the “dissonance” that it caused some in one small part of one game is something that minorities have had to deal with their whole lives.
Don’t worry though, its not a problem you’ll have to deal with for this year’s NBA 2K17 as a tweet from @Doyle_J10 makes clear:
“Finally got 2k17, and the myCareer is already 1000x’s better than 2k16. No more spike lee bullshit #2k17“