FRKN WKND is an autobiographical mixtape of vignette games for mobile. Each game is represented as an app on a made up mobile phone OS. Games are grouped in chapters. For ex: In one chapter, the player (performing as Aquma) codes on a computer, playtests a flying game, is harassed on Twitter, and then meditates. Games each have different mechanics and art styles. Graphics are typically minimal but stylized. In between chapters are meta story elements like texting your parents, looking through photos, checking voicemails, dialing phone #s, etc. The narrative is primarily short stories from the perspective of Aquma, a working class LA native millennial trying to get rich from making video games to pay off student loan debt and help out his mom.
I was inspired to create FRKN WKND when I had to decide on what to develop for my Master of Fine Arts thesis game (USC). I had too many ideas for quirky little personal games to settle with one. I also wanted to try the "make one game every week for ten weeks" challenge. I didn’t stick strictly to that schedule, but I did it in spirit when I decided to produce as many of these vignette games as I could! The plan was to tie them together as a sort of mixtape that, when played in order, would paint a larger picture of my life. We added the "you're exploring someone else's mobile phone" format to contextualize and connect the different games. It also seemed like a fantastic, untapped narrative medium that we could use to really explore what a story told on a mobile phone could be like. For example, the player (performing as Aquma) sends text messages to a physically distant father, tries to video chat a long-distance partner, and talks to his mom on the phone when he’s high. I made abstract “games” about making video games, smoking weed, being harassed by an online hate-mob, meditating, and living in the ‘hood. They naturally started to come together as chapters, so it’s been a process of just feeling out the development as well instead of sticking to a strict design document. It’s been incredibly validating to put my personal stories into a game experience and to have a hand in creating each aspect of the experience. I hope you enjoy the mixtape format and don’t feel like a voyeur for using Aquma’s phone in FRKN WKND.
Developed by Aquma. Amy Huang contributed lots of art and animation. Eric Itomura helped out with some code. Other guest artists include Blendo Games, Paloma Dawkins, and Hellen Jo. Advisors are Steve Anderson, Jane Pinckard, and Anna Anthropy.