- Fortnite is a third-person shooter video game where you battle it out with 99 other players from around the world – and the last one standing wins.
- Over 45 million people play the game, as of May 1.
- I decided to give the hottest game of the year a try – here’s what it was like to play Fortnite for the first time.
In March, during a speech to a group of elementary school students, I asked a boy in the audience to name a hobby he was passionate about pursuing.
“Playing Fortnite,” he said.
His answer caught me by surprise, as I’d never heard of Fortnite before in my life. Little did I know, he was referring to the hottest multi-platform game of 2018, and I was extremely late to the party.
I played my share of video games as a kid. Growing up in the 90s, my favorite consoles were the Nintendo DS, GameCube, and the Wii (which my mother bought after standing outside of our local Best Buy store for six hours).
I was always a fan of light hearted, feel-good games, such as Nintendogs, Animal Crossing, and MySims, all of which are mild compared to the action-packed style of Fortnite.
During my first playthrough of what Mat Piscatella, an entertainment software analyst at NPD Research, called “the biggest game of the year,” I quickly learned that Fortnite boils down to one word: survival. The object of the game is to scrounge for materials in open terrain while fighting to be the last player alive.
I downloaded the free-to-play iOS version of the game, Fortnite Battle Royale, and competed in a 100-player battle for the Victory Royale prize.
I opened the Fortnite Battle Royale app and was taken to the home screen (known as the “lobby”), which displayed a fierce-looking avatar who looked armed and ready for combat. By toggling through each of the lobby’s tabs, I was able to get a better look at my avatar’s outfit and weaponry options, which were limited with my free mobile version (the app has to make money somehow).
I finished outfitting my character, and it was time for me to dive into the game. Fortnite gives you the option to compete in a “squad,” duo, solo, or 50 vs. 50 game. I joined a squad, ready to put my teamwork skills to the test.
Once my “playthrough” began, my squad and I were dropped in a grassy field. We had only a few seconds to gather as many raw materials as possible to later build our forts. I was easily able to grasp the touch screen controls, which involved basic swipes and zooms to move my avatar around and gather materials.
Immediately following the first material hunt, I was transported onto a flying bus that was suspended by a giant hot air balloon. Seconds later, my squad and I were skydiving out of the bus and onto the main battle field to fight for our lives.
I frantically maneuvered my avatar around the field and used my axe (one of the few tools I got with my free download) to break trees, houses, and cars for raw materials. Sadly, I got way too excited about the axe and forgot all about my squad members and our goal to survive. Before I knew it, my avatar was eliminated by another player’s assault rifle and my shot at victory was over.
Disappointed by my failed attempt at the squad battle, I tried my hand at the solo battle. This time around, I was able to play without feeling pressured to make a contribution to my squad. However, just like my first playthrough, I was shot down again within a matter of minutes due to my lack of skill and experience.
Don’t let the cartoonish graphics fool you – Fortnite Battle Royaleis a challenging game that requires stealth, strategy, teamwork, and patience in order to succeed.
I also thought it was cool that game updates often include nods to social trends. One of the most popular updates was the addition ofThanos, the villain from the Marvel blockbuster “Avengers: Infinity War,” who made a guest appearance on the Fortnite battlefield for a week in May.
For those unfamiliar with gaming, I definitely suggest claiming your spot on the flying bus and diving into the world of survival.