We’re all busy at OffBeat this week getting our big Jazz Fest Bible issue ready, but when I took a quick look through OffBeat‘s Twitter feed a couple hours ago, the following caught my eye: “I scored a 187 on @BigFreedia #BootyBattle! bigfreedia.com/bootybattle”. Needless to say I was curious.
Sure enough, a marketing firm teamed up with Big Freedia and Vice Magazine to create “Big Freedia Booty Battle”, an online video game. There have been a couple New Orleans bands whose songs have been featured in video games, but I’m pretty certain this is the first time a New Orleans artist has been the subject of a video game herself.
The game starts with selecting your own character. I went with the girl second from the right because her hairdo, white thong, and immense posterior made her look more like a sumo wrestler than p-popper. The music—Big Freedia’s “Booty-Whop” (a perfect choice with its Nintendo-style midi samples courtesy of BlaqNmilD)—drops in, and you’re told to get ready, but like at a real bounce show, the warning doesn’t prepare you for the speed and intensity of what follows.
Following the DDR/Guitar Hero game model, arrows move up the screen, and you have to press the corresponding arrow key on your keyboard (it’s HTML5, so you can play on your iPhone, but I don’t recommend it) as they go over the arrow outlines below the lights. Exhortations like “BOOTY WHOP,” “SHAKE DOWN” and “AZZ AZZ AZZ” pop up when you’re doing well, and if you get on a hot streak your avatar bends over, face on the floor.
Mashing the arrow keys continuously will probably get a high enough score to barely squeak by the computer, but there’s no pride in that. I started off with a measly 191, not prepared at all for how fast the arrow keys would fly up at me. It’s probably harder than bounce dancing in real life. I gave it two more tries, though, and eventually worked my way up to a top score of 313, but here’s a truism about video games: whenever you think your score has reached the limits of physical human capability, there’s someone else who’s doubled your points. As of right now, the overall high score sits at 538.
As with all things good in the world, there’s a prize at the end. A link pops up offering a free download of the Big Freedia song “Feelin’ Myself”, a track from her God Save the Queen Diva mixtape.
You can make your own booty whop at bigfreedia.com/bootybattle. See if you can beat my own top score of 313.