Undoubtedly, at the mere mention of Fortnite in the headline above, readers have rolled their eyes and rushed to the next page. Every couple of years, a game like Fortnite sweeps up the enthusiasm of young gamers while the rest of the world recoils, so determined to hate any kind of fun they do not immediately understand, that they decide to openly mock children. Does an innocent game like Fortnite deserve this level of hatred? No, it does not.
Fortnite Battle Royale (more commonly referred to simply as Fortnite) is a cartoonish game in which one hundred players are dropped onto an island to battle each other, with the last player alive deemed the winner. The game borrows many elements directly from another popular battle royale game, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG), but Fortnite opts for a colourful, friendly vibe. In PUBG, players use realistic weapons modelled after real guns and grenades, with blood splattering the screen when they become injured. In Fortnite, players can launch “Boogie Bombs” and perform flips in golf carts. It comes as no surprise that these elements allowed Fortnite to quickly became the go-to game for many children.
Fortnite is a deceptively hard game. While PUBG can be conquered by anyone with basic third-person shooter skills, Fortnite requires extensive knowledge about its vast array of weapons, traps, and building materials in order to have even a chance of winning. Players need to be at least two steps ahead of themselves at all times if they want to avoid a quick elimination. The learning curve is immensely high in Fortnite, but that makes it all the more satisfying when players finally begin to notice progress. Difficult games teach children to persevere, and the added element of building can keep young minds active.
Children can do a lot worse than Fortnite. Today, the video games industry faces mounting pressure as concerned parents continue to wonder about links to aggression. The online community of gamers is wrought with an exclusionary ethos on the basis of sexism, racism, and homophobia. With this context, the Fortnite craze is a welcome change to the usual, disappointing array of headlines plaguing this community.
The Fortnite craze is a welcome change to the usual, disappointing array of headlines plaguing this community.
The disdain toward children and their love of Fortnite illuminates a larger societal problem that is magnified by the internet. Children love things in an unfiltered, wholehearted way, which prompts them to copy Fortnite dances in public and watch hours of content from Let’s Players on YouTube. Meanwhile, young adult culture has deemed that caring for things, especially mainstream things, is no longer cool. When children decide to collectively be obsessed with a new thing, like fidget spinners or Minecraft, it is immediately disregarded by the adult world. Never mind the fact that every adult was a child once, and undoubtedly had interests that were viewed as annoying or silly. Somehow, children, today are expected to be more self-aware than anyone that came before them and are not allowed to make any embarrassing mistakes, or else the internet will make an example out of them.
When children decide to collectively be obsessed with a new thing, like fidget spinners or Minecraft, it is immediately disregarded by the adult world.
Children are lucky to be allowed their carefree innocence; it will be gone sooner than they could ever realise. The least that adults can do is to hold their criticism and let children enjoy things unabashedly – even if that entails numerous small figures flossing in public!