So as an avid gamer, I usually stay decently informed on the latest games. However, I need to remind myself that not everyone is in the know. One of my dearest friends had recently messaged me asking if I knew anything about this game Fortnite. I was surprised because this game is everywhere. I mean everywhere… Have you seen your kids randomly dancing suddenly? Does it seem like they’re all doing the same moves when you see kids dancing? If you look around while shopping, you’ll see merchandise, kids dancing all over, you’ll hear them bragging about “kills per game” and asking each other how many wins they have, and an assortment of various gaming questions. Being that this game is the hottest thing right now since sliced bread, let me break it down for you folks that are not sure what this game is all about that your kids are begging you to let them play.
Fortnite first released in 2017. Unlike other typical shooters, where you have a team of players versus another team of players, Fortnite utilizes two game modes.
The first mode is Save the world. This is more campaign based, meaning you play through with given objectives and you fight against generated enemies like zombies. You do have the option to invite friends and let them help you in your quests. As of right now, that’s an add-on that costs money.
The second and more popular mode, is what’s known as a Battle Royale. This is a newer concept that a few other games utilize. The principle is similar to the old royal rumbles that you could watch on wrestling on TV when wrestling was at its peak where many would enter and only one would emerge the victor. In the game version, 100 players all online auto join a lobby. After it fills with the number of players needed, it transports the players to a flying bus that allows you to overlook an island. The island is the contained fighting grounds. There are named locations, and players can skydive out of their bus and land at any location. The island has a woods type vibe, very similar to Minecraft. The main objective is to gather supplies like wood, brick, and metal by destroying trees and shelled out structures, and to explore abandoned building and forage for weapons and ammo. One you’re sufficiently armed, it’s time to survive!
The player has many options of playstyle. They can choose to creep along strategically and cautiously, or you can aggressively pursue other players. The main goal is to be the last man standing, therefore winning the game.
I feel that the popularity comes from there being an easy control set and interface making it easy to move, build, and fight. It’s not overly complicated and has mass appeal to the younger generation and adults. They also have different modes within the game concept; for example, you can enter the island arena solo, or you can be paired with a friend on your friends list or you can opt to be paired with a random person. The other option is to enter the arena as a squad, which means it pits your four-man team against other teams of four.
There are a variety of pros and cons though, so let’s get into that and sum things up!
Battle Royale is free on all platforms, including Android and iPhone devices so you can play mobile
It’s an easy game to learn with a simple control layout and simple in concept
It encourages tactical and strategic thinking
It doesn’t push you to make additional purchases
Low on the violence scale, meaning that there is no blood splattering out or animated gore of any kind. This makes it more like you’re “tagging” the enemy with bullets that either knock them down or eliminate them. When eliminated, the game teleports out the character, leaving no “dead” bodies.
Finally, this isn’t so much a pro as a fun perk, but there is a paid add-on that I am fond of. The game offers what’s known as a Battle Pass. On PlayStation this costs $10 dollars. What does it do? It gives you a variety of weekly objectives for all skill levels from easy tasks like “open 7 chests” to “dance under a street light in a certain location”. As you complete these challenges, you earn points to unlock cosmetics for your character. Cue the dancing you see your child doing. You earn outfits for your character, accessories, dances, and various other small cosmetic items. Within the pass is also the in-game currency, known as V-Bucks. With the purchase of the Battle Pass, you can actually earn enough V-Bucks to purchase the new battle pass for the next season! I personally don’t mind purchasing this since it supports the developers and after all, the base mode of this game was free!
There are only two major cons I find for this game.
First, is that it’s easy to get really entrenched and spend entirely too much time playing this game. I know kids who just can’t wait to get home and go right for their console or PC. It’s so important to remember to set boundaries and time slots for your child’s gaming. It’s not like back in the day when you got bored of the same tired level and instead looked forward to going outside with your friends for socializing. The majority of these games are online, which means not only is there an urge to keep playing to try and win, but if left unattended they spend their time dealing with online strangers all day. Would you let your child wander around any old dark alley unattended? Well welcome to the internet. Kids especially seem to think they’re safe behind an anonymous character and the safety of their room. This isn’t entirely true, and besides the obvious of your child being recorded and ending up in some horribly embarrassing YouTube montage where they get laughed at, other more sinister and tenacious people can coax out personal info that can have negative results.
Which brings me to my last but most important con. There are a lot of adults that play this game and children that play this game. I’m frequently shocked and surprised at the words that come out of these young kids (I’m talking 10-13 year olds) and it is painfully obvious that they’re completely unsupervised and I’d bet their parents have no idea what’s going on. There’s also a shocking number of adults that will mock and harass younger kids and leave them upset and not having fun anymore.
What can you do? Always make sure your child has account settings in place to help protect them. On PlayStation you can go into their profile within the PlayStation menu and you can turn off messaging and friend requests to help cut down on harassment. You can change who’s allowed to message, as in, only friends can message your child. Other consoles also tend to have similar options in place to help avoid unwanted attention and harassment. Even as an adult female gamer, I get a lot of nonsense sent to me, so these tools have been invaluable. Always make sure you review who your child is adding. Talk to your child about internet safety, like not giving away personal information. If you’re on a different console or PC, make sure you familiarize yourself with their parental tools and settings to keep you kid safer. Lastly, I allow my kids to play, but since they’re only 11 and 13, I didn’t want them to be able to talk or listen to other players. Within the Fortnite menu, you have the option to disable the chat and mute all chat. This lets my kids still participate in any game mode without worry of random strangers. Of course, the downside being it makes working as a team more difficult when you can’t communicate. Personally, I recommend only allowing your child to add friends they actually know in real life, like additional extended family, cousins, and friends from school. This will allow them to have teammates without worry.
Fortnite draws more than 125 million players annually. It’s a powerhouse of a game and has a fun tactical element that encourages teamplay. With the right tools you can make sure your kid can enjoy this game no matter what age they are. Stay safe and game on!