Kanye West Is Making a Video Game. But Why Should He Stop at One?

From 'Jesus Walking Simulator' to 'The Blame Game,' Kanye has the artistic catalog for a bunch of horrible/awesome-sounding games.

Dimitrios Kambounis, Getty Images

As if Kanye West couldn’t Kanye any harder in his stream for his new album, he also showed off his upcoming indie game Only One: The Game. He also apparently discovered that making video games is hard work.

The game is about Kanye’s mother, Donda, ascending into heaven. There’s a trailer for it showing her as an angel, alongside several others, all headed for heaven. It looks kinda like the award-winning Journey in movement, only more explicitly Christian. Or the art style looks like the cult hit El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron only, uh, less explicitly Christian.

So, first of all, good on Kanye for trying to make a small-scale, personal game about something that’s clearly important to him. The “personal games” concept has blown up in recent years with “walking simulators” like Gone Home and Firewatch, Twine games, text-focused Twine games, and games about the crushing power of bureaucracy and capitalism. Kanye could be an ambassador for an oft-dismissed segment of the video game world.

But this is also awesomely ridiculous, right?

Like, what kind of game is this? Is this a riff on Robot Unicorn Attack, as our own Brock Wilbur noted? And what other kinds of games should Kanye be making? We investigate!

Overnight Celebrity (in the style of Kim Kardashian: Hollywood)

If he’s looking for video game success, Kanye could do worse than looking over at his wife’s career. Her Kim Kardashian: Hollywood was unsurprisingly popular, but also surprisingly critically acclaimed. “Overnight Celebrity” is one my favorite Kanye beats, and has a similar idea. So why not combine the two, and have Kanye guide player character Twista through the complicated issues of modern celebrity?

'Kim Kardashian: Hollywood' was a surprise hit. Pay attention, Kanye!

The Blame Game (a two-player variation on Werewolf/Mafia)

Our Emily Gaudette suggests “The Blame Game” — “Let’s play the blame game, I love you, darling, I love you, let’s play the blame game, for sure.” But how to make that into a game? Well, why not a variation on famous party game Werewolf/Mafia, where a group of players try to determine who’s secretly murdering everyone else in the room?

The twist: this is a game about a monogamous relationship falling apart, so there are only two players, and no right answer. Let your phones randomly decide who’s in what role, set a timer, and then hope you can salvage a self-destructive pairing before time runs out! Fun!

Love Lockdown (in the style of The Witness)

Video games have a long history of hacking/lock-picking mini-games, where you open doors or unlock chests by playing a little game that has nothing to do with the actual process of hacking. For example, here’s BioShock.

Traditional video game-style puzzles serve as a metaphor for the process of unlocking, see. But what if you were trying to lock something down? What if the entire game was using video game puzzles as a metaphor for a rocky relationship? What if it were based on Kanye’s best song? What if we got Jonathan Blow, developer of the puzzle extravaganza The Witness and no stranger to using art as a metaphor for relationship issues to make it?

The think pieces would never end, that’s what would happen. And it could also be a great game, if that’s at all important, I guess.

Kanye’s New Workout Plan (an Apple Watch gamified app)

Another Brock Wilbur suggestion here — it’s almost shocking that, given the motion control/self-improvement fad of the late-2000s, we never saw a Kinect/Wii Balance Board game based on Kanye’s most catchy/annoying novelty hit. Perhaps Mr. West was thinking only of his artistic integrity, and for that we certainly salute him, but just for once, Kanye, could you think of your brand and cross-promotional capabilities?

This happy, active family is long gone from video games these days, and good riddance.

There’s still time, Kanye! Take advantage of your social capital and turn it into some monetary capital, for once in your life! Make a gamified “New Workout Plan” app for the Apple Watch, filled with achievements, and help people keep track of their heart rate and calorie burn as users give head, stop, breathe, get up, check their weave. And make sure it works even when they’ve rode a plane!

Jesus Walking Simulator

OK, this one is too obvious. (We’d still play it, though.)

Diamonds From Sierra Leone (in the style of Candy Crush)

Kanye’s deliriously inappropriate combination of the political and the personal can yield some amazing successes, like the combination of “Strange Fruit” with descriptions of his sex life, and some misses, like the original “Diamonds” before the infinitely better remix. So let’s lean on into this, with a nominally political game about blood diamonds that cashes on the Candy Crush rush!

Match regular diamonds, conflict diamonds, and all the different awards Kanye’s sick about, all in the name of, I dunno, promoting awareness. The mixture of crass capital, confusing politics, and potentially great popular culture sounds God-awful, but it’s Kanye’s entire career, and that’s turned out … well, it’s turned out anything but “OK,” and that’s the great thing about Kanye West.

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