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What is Fortnite?

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A new video game is on the block, and it isn’t one you’ve seen before. Fortnite has single-handedly beat out all competition to become the most popular current video game (and mobile app). Why, you may ask? It is free… and really fun. The game is a free download on Xbox and Playstation consoles, offering inside purchases for certain modifications and “skins,” different outfits for your character. The goal of this survival game is to beat out the other 99 competitors by using a variety of weapons and constructing your own fort out of limited resources. To make it that much harder, there is a deadly storm that encloses the map into smaller and smaller circles to keep competition in close proximity. There are a lot of ways to explain it, but the closest comparison is the Hunger Games to those of you who do not play.

In addition to the guaranteed pick axe, which permits the player to gain resources, there are five slots for different weapons and health/shield potions. The user can switch weapons depending on his or her preferred type, or the landscape surrounding the player. For example, when in close proximity to another player in a house, one may want to use higher damage, short-ranged weapons. If there are numerous player in one area, it is reasonable for a player to hold grenades which cover a wider target. However, the player’s preference dictates how he will continue to survive, and there is no true formula for winning the game and earning the highly coveted “Victory Royale.”

Fortnite has earned itself a prominent spot in the social media realm due to its obsessive nature. Video game streamers, including your very own Pack-A-Puncher, seemingly dropped their previous games simultaneously to pursue Fortnite. Pack-A-Puncher, for example, dropped all of his records and progress in Call of Duty Zombies to hop on the Fortnite bandwagon, a game which he has come to love (and succeed in).

Quick footnote: “Fortnite” is not to be confused with “Fortnight,” an old English word meaning two weeks, or “fourteen nights.””

Ninja, a huge name in the video game world, grew 250% from September of 2017 of this year, reaching 8 million subscribers on YouTube. A primary reason for his fame is his ability to play with celebrities, including hip-hop artists Drake and Travis Scott and Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Juju Smith-Schuster. Besides the earnings from sponsorships of these videos, he receives over $500,000 per month from a variety of sources. In a recent game with Drake, Drake offered him $5,000 right off the bat if he could win the game. Naturally, Ninja claimed the Victory Royale only moments later.

To prove that I’m not over-exaggerating, it’s worth taking a few interviews from an eclectic group of Fortnite players. Earl Navarro, previously a vehement adversary against video games in general, downloaded the free application on his computer and has since abandoned his tennis career to practice the game in its entirety. In asking Navarro why he plays this game so frequently, he responded that “I play Fortnite for the thrill of trying to outrun the storm, as it feels like a metaphor for my life.” His favorite weapon loadout includes the Grey Suppressed Machine Gun, the Grey Tactical Shotgun, 3 Grenades, and a Legendary Bush. Considerably, Navarro is a beginner at this game, as this amateurish loadout would define him as a “noob,” which the Oxford Dictionaries define as a “person who is inexperienced in a particular sphere or activity, especially computing or the use of the Internet.” Andrew Demetre, an even more obsessed player than Navarro, played over 1500 matches until getting his first win. Let’s do some math on this… the average game of Fortnite takes 20 minutes, and if Demetre played 1500 matches, that equates to just over 20 days worth of Fortnite gameplay.

Quick footnote: “Fortnite” is not to be confused with “Fortnight,” an old English word meaning two weeks, or “fourteen nights.”

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