Hip-Hop Week | Hip-Hop vs. Game Design: How Game Designers Incorporate the Freestyle Elements of Hip-Hop into Hip-Hop Themed Video Games

Hip-Hop Week concludes with this post on In Third Person! For the grand finale, I look at the point where the elements of hip-hop freestyle collide with game structure. Has any game ever found the right balance? Thank you for joining me on this adventure!


The element of improvisation is a foundational block of hip-hop music and culture. In the beginning, the scene started with DJs, rappers, and breakdancers making things up as they went. Though hip-hop music and culture has been mainstream for quite some time, the ethos of what freestyle means still permeates.

Translating that freeform nature of hip-hop has been a challenge in the world of video games. By virtue of being a game, the “game” part needs some sort of quantifiable benchmark to define success. This flies in the face of the freeform nature of the culture.

Let’s look at a few ways in which developers have tried to provide structure for the purposes of making a fun game, while trying to maintain the freestyle nature of the activity its emulating.

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Most Disappointing Games of 2018

While I am no stranger to reviewing bad games for my own site or others, I generally pass on the opportunity to do so. As such, I don’t play a lot of bad games per se. However, even though I go to great lengths to avoid duds, some games just fall short of my expectations. While these games aren’t considered bad in the grander sense, these games did let me down more than any others in 2018.

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Floor Kids Impressions

Floor Kids is a rhythm game about the art of breakdancing. Available on the Nintendo eShop, players will break it down to original music by DJ Kid Koala. Hip-hop video games are few and far between, but is this one worth trying based on its concept alone?

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