The WNBA has been an unfortunate object of derision and condescension in the broader sports world. The league is afforded a fraction of the coverage on sports media outlets, and a cursory browsing of the typically depraved world of internet forum posters shows how downright nasty some jerks can become in their opposition to the league.
The new slogan for the WNBA this year is “Basketball is Basketball” and it’s an interesting point. I think what makes the WNBA so compelling is that it is not, in fact, the same game as the NBA. It has varying strategy, differently valued skills, and some really compelling play. It is with that in mind that stumbling upon this video of a mod to NBA2K that changes the game into a WNBA simulation is so interesting. Unfortunately, I could not track down any more information or even any playable files for the game, but the project seems interesting, and it raises a really great point about gender and sports videogames. As I have argued before, I don’t think representation is enough, that is to say, simply re-skinning an NBA game with female players and then calling it a model of the womens’ sport is not doing the game justice. Maybe the developers of this mod are, in fact, trying to change the game to “play” more like women’s basketball, can’t be sure without trying it. It feels funny typing it, but the simulation cannot be just representational, there are important behavioral factors that support perception of the model’s accuracy.
The links for information about the game take you to a Mississippi AAU girls basketball team website. I may just need to email the person behind this to get more details.