Lil Nas X released his very own version of the game Twerk Hero last week, helpfully developed by Roni Games to be a web version, rather than the mobile format of the original game.
It’s a release that has since spawned a variety of articles, features, and, of course, memes; some of which have come from Lil Nas X himself. To say that it’s been a fun few weeks for Lil Nas X fans would be the understatement of the year – not only is the single now number 1 worldwide, but it has opened up a connection between queer music and queer games.
It may seem like a reach at first, but it’d be false to argue that even at first glance there isn’t anything queer about this variant of Twerk Hero, where the premise is quite literally dragging Lil Nas X’s asscheeks up, down, and around to hit away the ‘temptations’ that plague his twerking avatar for four whole levels. That isn’t even touching on the fact that Lil Nas X is a gay man and has never hidden that ever since he first entered the spotlight.
The levels focus on different stages of the official MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name) music video, with the last stage switching Lil Nas X and our perspective so that we can, effectively, help the music star grind to the best of his ability on Satan’s lap. Effectively, you’re participating in a little bit of gay foreplay, and God, do I love that this game doesn’t even give one single crap about it. You want to grind up against Satan as Lil Nas X while the song hums into your ear? Good for you.
Frankly, I love this game. It pulls no punches at all in how gay it is and while a part of me feels strange about this – it’s certainly a marketing play, literally everything is and has been since the start – there’s a much stronger part that can’t help but fully embrace Lil Nas X’s Twerk Hero game. It’s something that shows that queerness doesn’t need to be shown through only dialogue and a concise, personal narrative of characters. Sometimes it really can be just grabbing a dude’s asscheeks and slapping away some tempting musical notes.
More importantly, if it wasn’t already clear by how popular The Last of Us Part 2 and Tell Me Why are among gamers, it lets developers know this one, simple fact: queerness is not detrimental to your vision. It’s the exact opposite. Embrace it, make it sexy, make it horny, make it sexless, just make it because we’re here, we’re queer, and now we really want to grind on Satan’s lap.
Gayme of the Week is a weekly column by Aimee Hart about indie LGBT+ games that she’s played and what she loves about them. If you’ve got any recommendations, be sure to contact her on Twitter (@AimemeRights) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org).