Firefights, friendships and Fortnite


photo provided by Max Towers, opinion columnist

As the storm rages inward and your team forges ahead, there are few greater feelings than performing as a single unit in order to achieve victory. Fortnite, the highly popular third-person shooter videogame, has revitalized friendly competition and fraternal cooperation in a world otherwise defined by differences and confrontation.

At first glance the objective is simple: Fight other players to remain the last individual or team alive, and achieve that coveted ‘Victory Royale.’ To bring the fight to a final culmination, a storm encroaches constantly upon the map of play to force players into a single location by each game’s end.

Another layer to the deceptively simple game is its graphics. Those to which Fortnite is unknown may walk by during a game and wonder why a group of adults are fooling around with cartoon graphics characterized by a simple, cubic design.

In truth, Fortnite players receive a lot of criticism for playing what is viewed by the unfamiliar as a “children’s game.” The artistic simplicity acts as a canvas, allowing players to paint their own unique swatches to each and every game.

The lack of technicality enhances the ability to project yourself into the game, and that creativity alone should be enough to crush the stigma that causes people to roll their eyes at college students shouting at a television.

I believe there are two critical facets to playing a successful and rewarding game of Fortnite. The first is coordination. Reaction time is an extremely valuable skill when virtually firefighting, fortifying procedural strongholds or timing escapes from the ever-encroaching storm.

It cannot be stress enough how being a good builder can be the difference between an early death or an ultimate victory. To wit, a good Fortnite player requires the coordination to change types of structures, materials, and design on the fly.

The second, and vastly more relevant aspect to the argument at hand is communication. Adults pay to attend seminars on communication, therapists spend their lives helping other people communicate and Trinity University offers communication as a major. Yet, nowhere have I found the opportunity to learn and practice communication more effectively than within a game of Fortnite.

This truth lies within the duality of the game; while it is confined within its digital boundaries, each interaction is seemingly limitless. The former allows for a controlled environment of specific communication, the latter creates endless possibilities for discussion. No playthrough ends in the same manner, each game’s progression shrouded in uncertainty, but the one thing all players can count on is the help of their friends and teammates.

I have heard arguments made against Fortnite, that highlight the ability to play solo. If someone wished to, they could play alone, at the risk of missing out on all the rewarding aspects of multiplayer gaming as described above.

I reject this completely. Many a night I have found myself in need of a distraction from piles from homework, and luckily with friends in the room. When it comes to Fortnite, the limitation of only one television or game console is nonexistent; a single player is not an excuse to play alone.

I have often witnessed players take turns handing off the controller to one another, and proceed to cheer them on for the entire game. A room of friends can suddenly turn into a frenzy of encouraging voices, all directed towards a single person. That motivation is palpable and, more importantly, earnest. Victory Royale may be the objective, but camaraderie is the reward.  

There is a difference between ignoring a workload and constructive relaxation; Fortnite has emerged to my friends and me as the latter. It doesn’t allow its players to zone out, but requires them to tune in. Diligent focus is essential, and reaction to each novel situation stimulates creativity.

For students whose days are defined by their workloads, Fortnite gives them a chance to define a world of their own. The game is undeniably goofy, the dances and outfits exemplify this fact. The frivolous nature of the game should not be taken for granted however; in fact it should commended for the success of the game.

If Fortnite’s popularity has proven anything, it is that our generation needed an outlet to counteract the seriousness of the real world. As far as the game strays from the physics, plausibilities and reasoning, one would need in real life to fight 99 other players in an enclosed arena, the wholesome rewards one receives from playing Fortnite vastly redeems its divergence from real life.

Life is only as real as the feelings derived from it, and nothing quite matches the feeling of a Victory Royale.