Most days I spend scrolling through TikTok, I’m greeted with youths dancing to Megan Thee Stallion, cosplayers delightfully posing as Junko from Danganronpa, or videos of cats failing to do simple tasks. Now my TikTok feed is flooded with the dope beats from Friday Night Funkin’, a rhythm game that can be played in a web browser.
In Friday Night Funkin’, you play as a dude who has to defeat his girlfriend’s family and acquaintances in a song battle in order to be with her. The singing battles use a mix of Space Channel 5 and Dance Dance Revolution game mechanics, requiring you to press arrow buttons at the right time. Your opponent will show you a string of arrows to copy, and you’ll need to press them to the right melody. There are also times where you and your foe have to sing together. You’ll have to be on your toes and really get into the beat to win.
The beats slap, but the songs are carried by the characters’ “vocals.” The characters don’t even really sing, they just kind of beep and boop — yet the songs still get stuck in my head all day. The art style is reminiscent of something from old-school Flash games, and that aesthetic is helped by the fact that you can play the entire game in your browser.
The game gets frequent updates from its small team of four designers: two artists (Phantom Arcade and evilsk8r), a programmer (ninja_muffin99), and a composer (kawaisprite). Each update has added a new character to face off against, with their own set of songs. And each week that the game gets an update, my TikTok feed lets me know that a new delicious beat is out.
The programmer is also active on TikTok, keeping up with the numerous trends happening with the game’s music, such as people using the songs to share memes or folks imitating the characters and cosplaying as them.
Normally, TikTok informs me of mainstream pop songs that are bangers, as they quickly become trends or background music for specific memes. Friday Night Funkin’s rampant exposure on my “For You” page is no exception, though rather than introducing me to a specific pop song, it got me into a game.