By Sayo Jolayemi & Jacob Kersh
Epic Games’ blockbuster video game Fortnite, the unequivocal opening fad for 2018, has captivated American gamers with its free to play game mode, Battle Royale. As an amalgamation of popular video games series such as Minecraft and Left for Dead, the success of this game was inevitable. Since dropping in summer of 2017, the game has seen a sharp increase in fans as time has progressed. For those unfamiliar with the premise of Fortnite, it stems from a Hunger Games-esque style of play, pitting one-hundred individuals onto a battlefield that shrinks in size as the match continues in duration.
A big part of Fortnite’s appeal is that, unlike most other console based flagships, the game is a free to play. Money is used only to unlock special aesthetic pleasures appeal to the variants of hardcore gamers. For example, Glenelg Junior Aden Boyer “got the Battle Pass” because “it was only twenty dollars and it made sense considering how much [he] plays.” What Boyer is referring to is the twenty-dollar seasonal pass Fortnite offers that is not necessary, but essentially rewards players for playing the game by dispersing prizes and virtual currency for completing in-game achievements. This package is a good deal for players of the game who play frequently, but do not want to deposit too much money right away. Also, in accordance with the newfound hype and popularity achieved by Fortnite, professional players and teams have begun to arise. YouTube and Twitch personalities such as “TheMyth” and “Ninja” have amassed a huge following due to their stupendous battle royale play, and their fanbases continue to grow in coordination with the game itself.
Fortnite has attracted both avid and casual gamers nationwide. Gamers of all ages have come together to enjoy the “winner-takes-all” phenomenon in various ways, joining massive online party rooms to play in virtual squads, the game has forged strong online friendships that have also manifested into real life get-togethers for a vast number of players. The Fortnite community extends to Glenelg High School as well; there have been multiple occasions recently where Glenelg Freshman have gotten together with students from Glenwood Middle to enjoy both the game and each other’s company. One student from Glenwood Middle said “it’s cool to be able to hang out with my brother and his friends because even though they are [...] two years older than me, they still mostly treat me like they treat the people their age.” The student also mentioned that he now talks to some of the people that were there on a daily basis, so it seems as though the friendships people have developed because of Fortnite will likely last even if the game eventually dies out.
Although Fortnite has brought the Howard County gaming community together in many ways, there has also been some significant competition between the high schools of the region. Tensions have arisen specifically because Fortnite players from each school claim that they are the best in the county, and because Fortnite has not implemented a private server game mode where students from different schools would be able to face off in head-to-head combat, there is no way to prove who reigns supreme. However, most schools refuse to let up. Many have even resorted to using social media platforms such as Instagram and Twitter to post clips consisting of impressive gameplay from students at their specific school only, thus “proving” their gaming abilities to the rest of the county. These accounts have actually garnered fairly substantial followings over the past month, and Glenelg’s page currently sits at about 200 followers.
Nevertheless, even with some competition arising in the county, Fortnite is and always will be a consumer game that most users play to relieve stress and have fun. In fact, one of the owners of Glenelg’s profile said that “there’s nothing bad about a little friendly competition” and that “we all are just honestly looking to sit down and play some Fortnite.” So even though Glenelg is undoubtedly the best at Fortnite in the county, enjoying the game is definitely the more important. But let’s just be perfectly clear here—we really are the best!