By Andreas Placakis / November 5th, 2018
When I’m not writing for Operation Rainfall I work at a Spencer Gifts at my local mall, and they have a section that sells Fortnite merchandise. The merchandise has been very popular, especially among young kids, whose faces light up just by passing by it. We sell things such as Fortnite T-shirts, Fortnite Monopoly, boogie bombs, oversized toy pickaxes, themed piñatas, pajamas, and oversized bows. Now at the expense of sounding like an old man, can I just say how disconnected I am from all this?
Now I’m not going to sit here and tell you that I’m angry because kids are having fun playing a game that I don’t play. Back when Pokémon first hit the scene, pretty much every kid in America at that time couldn’t get enough of it, including myself. Of course, many adults just couldn’t understand what the big hype was about that either, and still don’t to an extent. I’m just saying I don’t get the appeal, and out of all the games to go crazy over, why Fortnite?
To my understanding, Fortnite is a third-person battle royale game where up to 100 players can be active at any one time, similar to other shooters. The tone of the game is lighthearted that doesn’t take itself too seriously, in addition to having a colorful palate. It’s also very cartoony, including the violence, which may be a reason why many parents allow their kids to play this game. It’s also a game that allows children to engage socially outside of their core groups of friends in a game that is otherwise not excessively violent. Hell, some parents see potential in their children becoming skilled in Fortnite as to become professional players and compete for part of the large prize pools, creating a market for tutors to help children improve their skills in the game.
So why am I not playing it? Well for starters, I am not a huge fan of first-person or third-person shooters in general. That’s not to say I hate the genres, I just have very little interest in them, with a few exceptions, like the first game in the Halo series, Call of Duty 4, Doom, and Counterstrike.
Second, I don’t have friends who would find Fortnite interesting which is essential for me as I don’t really find playing with potentially 100 strangers all that appealing (I can’t explain it, it just bothers me). Plus, the game is not really for people my age. I’m not saying people older than 12 can’t enjoy Fortnite, it’s just that I don’t belong to its target demographic, so to me it feels weird imagining myself and my friends playing it (now excuse me while I play Pokémon Ultra Sun to completion).
Finally, like a lot of free-to-play games, Fortnite has micro transactions, which I fucking hate. Now, I get it, the developers need to make money, but if that’s the only way you can get items in the game, then that’s bullshit. The only reason you would use real money to buy something in a game like Fortnite is to basically use your riches to buy the best item in the game to be a cheap bastard to people who can’t buy things because they don’t have the money. If developers want to make money, they should make it so that you pay for the game, and then use in-game currency you collect as you play, which you can then use to buy items and weapons in the game. You could do that, but also have the option to use real money if you don’t feel like grinding for in-game money if you so please.
In the end, Fortnite to me looks just like Pokémon did back in 1998. A hugely popular game with an emphasis on multiplayer that every kid seemed to be hooked on that adults thought was just a fad that will die out in a year or so. But Pokémon is still going strong to this day, so maybe Fortnite will do the same and I will eat my words. Thanks to the internet, games today have longer lifespans, as their fans keep them alive via social media and dedicated forums and servers. Like I said earlier, I’m not angry that kids are having fun playing a game that I don’t play. It’s just the way Fortnite has blown up in popularity that caught me off-guard, that it took me a while to fully comprehend the situation. In that regard, I can live on happily knowing kids are still having fun with video games.
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