Mortal Kombat 11 was released a few days ago, and gamers all around the world are getting stuck in with the new storylines.
There’s one in particular that’s being given a lot of attention, and it has to do with Jax Briggs, leader of the Outerworld Investigation Agency.
The African-American fighter gets his own happy ending, in a way; the latest iteration of the game sees him face up against his own daughter, thunder God Raiden and a younger version of himself.
Long story short, he gets around.
In Mortal Kombat’s Tower Mode, each character engages in a set number of fights, and if they win, they get their own non-canon ending, showing what they would do if they won the Shaolin Tournament.
For Jax – that’s easy: end slavery. A noble pursuit.
In a voiceover monologue, he says: “I’ve been lucky. My family and I have lived the American dream.
But most people who look like me haven’t had that chance. I owe it to them to put things right. I’m not waiting centuries for people to get woke when I’ve got the power to speed things up.
Jax continues with the monologue as images of Africans being rounded up and put on ships slowly changes into a happy, seemingly multicultural world where black people are empowered.
I don’t get it right the first time, or the second, or even the third – but eventually I knock it out of the damn park.
My family’s back. The world’s a better place for everyone. Turns out you can have everything; anyone who says you can’t needs to dream bigger.
A positive reimagining of history, and yet some gamers had an issue with it.
One indignant gamer wrote: “Preventing slavery in America sounds like a good idea. Except you’d undo the founding of modern America, including the lives of every black American, they’d vanish in a Thanos snap. Undo the western civil rights movements and everything that made his own life. He’d erase himself."
Others were baffled by the critics.
Uh, a few things...
1. America existed before Christopher Columbus landed on its shores. In fact, it was a thriving place, and then ol’ Chris brought the disease and the colonialism and the genocide.
2. The civil rights movement existed because African Americans were subjugated as a result of slavery.