illustration of friday night funkin' featuring three of its characters pictured on a screen with arrows and a speaker
Since its initial release in 2020, Friday Night Funkin' has put out consistently catchy music and helpful mods to grow the game's appeal. (Illustration by Lexey Gonzalez, Wichita State University)
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illustration of friday night funkin' featuring three of its characters pictured on a screen with arrows and a speaker

The only thing greater than the game’s premise of a boyfriend rap-battling foes to reach his girlfriend is the supportive and creative fandom it has cultivated.

Have you ever wanted to just go on a simple date with your girlfriend, but then her dad finds out and forces you to do a rap battle with him? If so, you’ll enjoy the premise of the latest game becoming a hit on the internet. Welcome to Friday Night Funkin’, a rhythm game developed by users ninjamuffin99, PhantomArcade3K, Kawai Sprite and EvilSk8r on the media-sharing platform Newgrounds.

The game follows a boyfriend rapping against every foe trying to get in the way of him dating his girlfriend. Every week, you compete in rap battles, facing opponents including her ex-rockstar dad, a duo of spooky kids, Pico (Newgrounds’ mascot and the boyfriend’s ex) and her celebrity mom. The parents are actual demons, too — it seems like it’s hell on earth for the boyfriend, but the game is great fun for casual and pro players alike.

How To Play Friday Night Funkin’

Like most rhythm games, you wait for the arrows to come onscreen and hit them at the right time on the beats. In Friday Night Funkin’, your rival hits the arrows alongside you, so you either wait for your turn or do a duet with them by hitting the arrows at the same time. You match up, down, left and right arrows using either the arrow keys on your keyboard or the W, A, S and D keys.

Music

The music is one of the highlights of Friday Night Funkin’. There is an arrangement of songs for each week, all composed by Kawai Sprite, and each one is an absolute banger. Week 3, Week 4 and Week 7 have the best tracks, but they all will make you headbang as you try to keep up with the rhythm. Even the characters make sounds and pace themselves to the music.

Difficulty

There are three modes: easy, normal and hard. Depending on your skill with rhythm games and with the keyboard, it can either be a breeze while you jam to the music, or a nightmare where you must focus and make sure you don’t miss a single arrow.

Friday Night Funkin’ is not difficult when it comes to rhythm game standards, but that does not make Friday Night Funkin’ a bad game. Its simplicity easily brings in casual players, and pros can still have fun with the game. The value of Friday Night Funkin’ is not in how hard the game is, but in its fun factor, its music, its charts and the feel of the game overall.

Mods

The game grew in popularity very quickly, and with the popularity came mods —and the mods grew support and attention for the game even more. Many fans of Friday Night Funkin’ are highly creative, and popular mods include the Whitty Mod and the Hex Mod, which grant players access to fan-made characters. Down Scroll is a helpful mod that indicates how many arrows you miss, your accuracy and overall scores. So many mods have been created, and all were made with love and care. Some test your skill while others make you laugh out loud, such as “Friday Night Funkin’ but bad,” where the quality of everything is awful on purpose (yet so well-developed).

The Friday Night Funkin’ Fandom

At the starting stages of Friday Night Funkin’ in late 2020, there were only a few people who knew of the game on Newgrounds and Github. But as the months passed, it grew thanks to the internet. YouTubers began to play the game and give it praise, and with that newfound attention came mods, fan art, headcanons, lore and more. The community expanded in such a short amount of time. It seems to be growing even more, and it doesn’t look like it will stop for an exceptionally long time.

The fandom was positive at first, but like every group, there’s always a toxic side — a separate group that doesn’t like the game simply because it’s popular. But that group does not detract from the fandom; it is still wonderful, and the fact that members of the fandom helped make the game grow to its current popularity is incredible.

The Kickstarter

FNF’s most recent week was Week 7, featuring Tankman, another of Newgrounds’ mascots. Shortly after the release, ninjamuffin99 and his team announced a Kickstarter for Friday Night Funkin’, with a goal of $60,000. The developers said that if they reached their goal, they would release the full game with loads of features, including 20 weeks, or 60 songs, of content; two-player mode; mod support; collabs; and more. Not a bad deal — and in just a few days, their goal was surpassed.

Currently, the Kickstarter has $1,814,872 in pledges, almost reaching one of the developers’ end goals of $1,865,000. This goal will likely be reached before the campaign’s end date on May 18. The numbers really show how amazing and wildly dedicated the game’s fandom is.

The team created the Kickstarter because they did not want to just make a retail game that would require users to pay for extra stuff. They wanted to carefully and patiently make a real game with a professional budget, and they wanted its fandom to have a hand in the making.

Why Play Friday Night Funkin’?

Friday Night Funkin’ is one of the best indie games to come out in 2020. It started as a small idea made by a few people and was a fun game played by a small group. Now, in 2021, it has a team of artists with a dream that may soon come to reality, a whole fandom supporting them and the game through thick and thin and a future that is bursting with promise and stardom. A free demo of Friday Night Funkin’ is available on Newgrounds, so there is no harm in giving the game and its fan-made mods a try. It has been a joy to see this game grow into the game it was made to be — a way to enjoy a funkin’ great Friday night.

Writer Profile

Diamond Sears-Allen

Borough of Manhattan Community College
Video Arts & Technology (VAT)

Hello, my name is Diamond Sears-Allen. I am currently studying to become a TV writer someday, and I am also a lover of video games. Hope you have a wonderful day!

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