Video games fandom always had a home on TikTok. Before the app reached its current level of popularity, you could find plenty of cosplayers dancing to music with Overwatch references and tracks from Undertale. Today, the app is a whole lot bigger, but fans of video games haven’t gone anywhere.
TikTok’s focus on brevity and music helped cultivate a more diverse range of content. Sure, you still see standard games content creators making highlight reels from their streams, but now there’s so much more than that. You see people showing off in-game creations, animators reimagining the world of games, and people swarming around their favorite waifus. TikTok has become the place where video games content comes to play. Here are some of the best and biggest trends we saw in 2020.
@jihyorge#duet with @brr_m am I late to this trend??…anyways #zerotwo #anime♬ Hai phút hơn – marlene
Anime Waifus from Muse Dash
This year, one TikTok trend led to the surprising surge of an anime-inspired rhythm game called Muse Dash. Although its makers released the game two years ago, its characters — all big-boobed waifus, fictional characters people love to fawn over and lust after — took over TikTok feeds once users started making videos featuring the game’s main characters.
An early version of the trend featured the protagonist from the anime Darling in the FranXX, but users quickly started synching up the audio with new characters. This included those from Muse Dash. Most the videos featured seamless loops of girls dancing or bobbing back and forth.
The trend inspired people to make videos mimicking the movement of the characters. It further led to a surge of sales of Muse Dash, as well as a Steam app called Wallpaper Engine that folks use to make live wallpapers of bouncing anime girls.
Among Us “Remakes”
Speaking of slightly older games having a comeback, have you heard of a little game called Among Us? Fans of the 2020 success story let loose on TikTok. The hashtag for the game has a whopping 38.9 billion views at the time of this writing and is a glowing example of how funny and diverse games content can be.
Cosplayers made skits, animators recreated scenes, and people started reimagining the characters as… various anime men. (Anime is big on TikTok, too.) While you can’t go wrong clicking on the hashtag and flipping through videos, the best examples expand on the drama and goofy antics that make the game so fun. These videos gave new life to the world of this once tiny indie game.
@corinaboettger@crazedotcom #genshinimpact #paimon #emergencyfoodpaimon #paimongenshinimpact #voiceactor #vo #voiceacting #voiceover #videogamevoiceactor♬ original sound – corinaboettger
Genshin Impact Voice Actors
If you only used TikTok to gauge general interest in video games, you would think Genshin Impact is one of the most important titles of the year. It might just be. But while guides and cosplay perform well on the platform, it warmed my heart to see the game’s cast of voice actors find popularity on TikTok. Many of them engage with fans using TikTok’s “reply with video” feature and use their talents to make fun sounds for the platform. The funniest video (in this writers’ opinion) is one where the voice actor for Paimon — an annoying sidekick with a high-pitched voice — learns her own boyfriend skips over Paimon’s dialogue when he plays Genshin. Brutal.
@boba_bowlStrawberry or Orange? #animalcrossingnewhorizons #acnh #nintendoswitch #foryoupage #fyp♬ Soda Drama – mieczyslawss24
Animal Crossing: New Horizons Sitcom Remakes
Rounding out the trinity of video games that did really well on TikTok this year is Animal Crossing: New Horizons. The app became the perfect vehicle for bite-sized island tours and decoration ideas. Watching all this reminded me of what it was like to be a Nintendo fan on Tumblr circa 2012, thanks to all the aesthetically cute design inspo that came from it.
However, I have to say that my favorite piece of content from this community were the sitcom and reality TV show remakes using Harv’s Island. While I personally don’t enjoy the photo arrangement features added in New Horizons, these videos made me happy the developers included it. People recreated scenes from shows like The Office and Keeping Up with the Kardashians. A video where one user recreated the “orange soda” scene from the latter show using Marshal the smug squirrel never fails to absolutely send me.
@blackyoshissbkid me was jamming & ignoring the L’s #fyp #gamer #gaymer #pokemon #cynthia #sinnoh♬ original sound – unlucky_gemini
Reliving the Stress of Battling Cynthia in Pokémon Diamond and Pearl
A catchy or intense track from a video game’s soundtrack is a most assured way to bring back vivid memories. While I don’t have childhood memories of battling Cynthia in Pokémon Diamond and Pearl (or her level 66 Garchomp), many young people on TikTok do.
As we start to see more young people grow old enough to make videos about their favorite childhood games, the kinds of titles we see represented change with them. Instead of creepy fan theories about Lavender town from Pokémon Red and Blue, we get videos about the absolute stress of battling one the hardest bosses in the series’ history. Honestly, though, I don’t know what looks more challenging: the battle or the dances people created for the theme.
@lilnasxcan we do it ? ?♬ HOLIDAY – Lil Nas X
Lil Nas X Became “The Roblox Guy”
Many people likely heard about the Travis Scott concert in Fortnite, but that wasn’t the only major musical event held in a video game this year. Lil Nas X performed for kids on the quietly enormous platform called Roblox in November. One unanticipated result from that concert is that there are now literally thousands of comments on Lil Nas X TikToks calling him the “Roblox Guy.” It got to the point where someone commented “10k Roblox Guy chain” on one of his videos and over 4.5 thousand people responded just to that message. Since then, Lil Nas X has made videos to joke about his newly acquired title and leans into it for fun. If you haven’t watched Lil Nas X’s TikTok, I wholeheartedly suggest you drop everything and do so now, because he’s a wizard of memes and internet content.
@thefamilyprojectVote! Who wins?! #fyp #foryourpage #mariochallenge #mariokartchallenge #mariocart #mariocartchallenge #mariokart #fruitrollupchallenge #fruitrollup♬ 123start – cyrusaho
Audio From the Mario Kart Series
If Mario Kart references on TikTok showed me one thing, it’s that there is no such thing as “video games TikTok.” In other words, media from video games — like songs and sounds — are incorporated into regular old jokes.
Music and sounds from the Mario Kart franchise were especially popular this year. The Super Mario 64 Slider Race theme was used in a trend of people trying to eat Fruit Roll-Ups — really fast, mind you — while riding their treadmills in a laundry basket. The videos reeked of the ALS Ice Bucket challenge from 2014 and honestly felt a little cheesy.
Personally, I enjoyed anything and everything that used the Mario Kart Wii Coconut Mall song. One group dueted videos to create a full band arrangement of the theme, complete with a steel drum. One user, @nick_plays_97, grew an entire following by solely playing “Coconut Mall.” Each day, he uploaded a video playing the song. Except that in each clip he played slightly faster. (He made it to around 186 BPM.) Others used the song and more from the Mario Kart franchise to study from home. In the end, “Coconut Mall” debuted at Number 15 on the U.S. Spotify Viral 50 chart.
Whether it’s dedicated content, or just fun sounds, video games content on TikTok is here to stay.