If you’ve been living under a rock or without the Internet, you may not have heard of the indie rhythm game known as Friday Night Funkin’. That’s okay. After only five days on Kickstarter, it has amassed over $1.2 million, and over 30,000 backers. It’s safe to say that the initial funding goal of $60,000 has been met.
But what is Friday Night Funkin’, and how did it amass such a massive following? As an entry in a Ludum Dare on itch.io, it performed moderately well. Though it ranked 15th in the Audio category (its best), it didn’t win any particular awards. Its gameplay loop is very simple: follow the pattern that the opponent sings and copy it using your arrow keys or WASD. The development team, however, still liked the content and continued to add to it over time.
Friday Night Funkin’s art style, reminiscent of Flash games with the thick lines and simple shading, quickly brought in a nostalgia factor. The interface is intuitive and easy to grasp and see what’s going on at all times. Arrows for upcoming notes, for example, are color-coded for quick recognition. Though Flash support ended late last year, there have been plenty of attempts to salvage Flash-based media. Of course, to any who grew up with Flash over the past two decades, it holds a lot of memories. Mixing crude humor with amateur game design or animation, they opened the door to launch a number of professional careers. Flash’s cultural impact created all sorts of media, including numerous TV shows thanks to its accessible, inexpensive animation. Its importance to weird internet games and even mainstream media cannot be understated.
In addition to its distinctive thick lines and artistic style, Friday Night Funkin’ features audio from Kawai Sprite. Tunes range from festive "Eggnog" in Christmas-themed Week 5 to the chill "Bopeebo" in Week 1, to the intense "Thorns" in Week 6. Though they lack true vocals, the characters make synthesized speech in time to the notes. This gag even transfers to the cutscenes in Week 6, where the Boyfriend can only utter “bop beep be be skdoo bep” in regards to Senpai’s taunts.
Still, the game has provided free content over the past several months. Each update brought new polish, features, and music to the game. At a time when money is tight for many people and a global pandemic is still burning through communities, it acts as a flashy, colorful source of comfort. The small but active development team provided something to cling to. Friday Night Funkin’s popularity on sites such as YouTube and TikTok allowed it to spread to audiences quickly. Its relatively short length, catchy soundtrack, and simple premise charmed streamers and content creators, ensuring further spread. Thousands of memes and remixes and mods ensued, making Friday Night Funkin’ positively explode in popularity.
Currently, the stretch goals include additional Weeks and character creation. The next stretch goal will introduce a new difficulty, and if that is met, the team will develop 10 additional Weeks of content. At time of writing, the team will design 15 new Weeks, 10 new playable characters, a sharing network, online and local multiplayer, and a mobile build. You can check out their Kickstarter, which ends on Tuesday, May 18.
In the meantime, TechRaptor will continue to give you the funky fresh beats for Friday Night Funkin’. Tell us your favorite songs, your favorite character designs, or your favorite mods below or on our social media pages.