I’ll admit it, I’ll admit it. I downloaded Runnin Through The 6, a free iOS endless runner made by Nico Uribe, because I’m a huge Drake fan. But it is rubbish.
The reason I was so into the idea of a Drake game is that Drake’s a rapper who occupies a liminal space. He’s halfway between ultra-masculine and kind of feminine. Half a grinning little boy and half a melancholy, gloomy adult. He’s half rap and half R&B. His songs are often about struggling with identity crisis, with time, with place, with distance from people (usually women) he cares about. He often sings about leaving, or about longing, a space in the middle. As a self-defence mechanism for his ego he’s started to fiercely self-mythologize himself into a fighter and a legend, particularly in Nothing Was The Same and If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late. He’s actually kind of a great bridge between the ultra-masculine values of all the games where you find the most efficient or gory way to take someone down, and the kind of games where you might feel your soul being stirred a little bit.
To be fair I wasn’t hoping much from this little iOS game, a game referencing the Know Yourself lyric where, yes, you “run through the 6” collecting tiles with “6” on them. It’s got its share of “woes” I guess, in the form of giant chasms you have to tap to jump over and the bad taste wheelchair symbols that, if you hit them whilst jumping you lose the ability to jump and you are hurled into the chasms anyway. But really I guess “woes” actually refers to Drake’s friends in a reference to Southern slang.
The little character had Drake’s grinning face on it, at one point, as the picture at the top borrowed from Pocketgamer shows. Now it’s just a generic cartoon face instead, one that the app store reviewers are complaining about looking nothing like Drake. One assumes that Drake’s lawyers got in touch to ask that Drizzy’s face not be appropriated on a game that ridicules his past role on Degrassi as a teen in a wheelchair. It’s also probably not that cool to have your face on a game that is a one note joke and, really, isn’t that fun to play because there’s very little in it apart from 6 tiles and chasms and an unreliable jump button.
There was, at one point, a Drake dress up game, but you assume that wasn’t officially sanctioned either.
But what if Drake were planning a video game? At one point I was planning to write a comic with Irene Koh about Drake and Nicki Minaj in Saint’s Row DLC. What if they were characters in that game? Drake would probably be a mafia don with a big machine gun, a giant grin, wearing all his chains in the house, and his special power would be to have all the women enemies in a six mile radius start to cry. Of course it’d have RPG upgrade elements (he started at the bottom). And the co-op buff between Nicki and him would be a power that could make them both invincible and it would be named the Make Me Proud. Legend’s refrain “If I die I’m a legend” would make perfect lobby music. Nicki Minaj, of course, would get Superbass as her ultimate power, and have the ability to turn into a fully-fledged motherfuckin’ Monster once she’s cussed enough people out.
But my feeling is that Drake would probably prefer something a little more thoughtful as his video game canon. He’d want the guns and trappings of masculinity, sure. He’d probably go for something like Max Payne 3, only all the villains and allies around him would be exes with Harvard degrees, fresh from the gym. I guess I like that idea best of all. Can someone call his people for me? I’ve got it all down.