By- Jack Keller
“Alright guys, where are we dropping?”
For some of you reading this article, you immediately know what that means. For others, you’re already picturing the iconic Fortnite map, and strategically planning out where you and your squad will drop.
Fortnite is a sandbox-styled survival video game developed by Epic Games. The objective of the one hundred players in each game is to skydive into the cartoony island map, find loot and resources, avoid the constantly-shrinking storm which surrounds the map (intended to bring remaining players closer together as others are eliminated), and eliminate other players until you or your team are the last ones standing on the map. It’s game modes are solo, duo, or squad (teams of four), making it easy for players to connect and to play with friends. It is free to download, available on gaming consoles, PC, and in the app store.
Fortnite is currently the most popular game in the world; for any gaming platform. According to Epic Games, Fortnite has over 45 million plays--most of which joined within the past few months. The game’s easily-accessible, free-to-play, cartoon-ish model is inviting to gamers of all ages; and that inviting environment which the Fortnite Community offers can easily be witnessed here, at McMahon.
“Every game is different,” said Noe Valdovinos (‘18) “You can’t expect what’s going to happen, you have to act quickly and think strategically in order to be successful.” Noe is one of the better players in the school, possessing eight solo wins and a personal record of 12 kills in a game. He also noted that his favorite weapon is the bolt-action sniper rifle, making him a more reserved and patient player.
Other players, such as John Gatt (‘19), cite the social aspect of the game as their favorite . “I mostly play squads with my friends,” said John, “we all get on houseparty (a multi-person video chat app) and play for a couple hours at a time. It’s a lot of fun.” John’s favorite place to drop on the map is in the center of loot lake, a central location that is frequently in the storm eye.
Perhaps the most communal aspect of Fortnite is the wide variety of people that play, it’s not just teenage boys. People of all walks of life are enjoying the game, including many girls, who don’t fit the “gamer” stereotype.
“I love Fortnite,” said Emma Hargrove (‘18) “I play about four times a week with my boyfriend. I have a couple wins, too.”
Girls like Emma are proof of Fortnite wild popularity and integration into our pop culture. Fortnite stats are now things to brag about with friends, and the victory royale screen seems to be a regular on Snapchat Stories. Lunch tables are now consumed by debates over which gun is best, and talk of rumors about what the next in-game update will be. It is near impossible to go a day without hearing about Fortnite.
Last week, Tyler “Ninja” Blevins, a Fortnite-streaming superstar, played with rappers Drake and Travis Scott and streamed his games on his Twitch and YouTube pages, where he has a combined nearly 9.5 million subscribers. Ninja’s live stream with the two rappers was trending on Twitter as it was happening, and the video of the stream on YouTube has nearly 4 million views in less than one week of being posted.
When asked about the streaming aspect of the game, Miles Chesler (‘18) responded “I could watch Fortnite videos for hours, especially Ninja. I watched for a couple hours the other night and literally could not stop watching.” People are not only watching YouTube clips of gamers playing Fortnite to pass time, in many cases, they’re watching to get better. They can gain new tips and tricks from one YouTube video, which is very beneficial for both the game and the YouTube streamers.
Don’t expect the Fortnite craze to die down anytime soon. In fact, expect just the opposite. The game is at peak popularity right now with this weeks release of the mobile version of the game, making the game wildly more accessible. Beyond the release of the mobile app, Epic Games is constantly working on updating the map, weapon selection, and gameplay. The games creative developers are finding new ways to make an already unique game even better. Fortnite fever is in full swing here at McMahon, and just about everywhere else.