Here I was, just a normal, everyday gaming editor for a growing website, enjoying the likes of SMITE and The Witcher 3, and then it happened. It was a moment that changed my life for the entirety of an afternoon and was almost instantly forgotten about: my editor forced me to play Fortnite. This is my story.
You may already be asking yourself how Jimmy managed to force me to play Fortnite, and the answer is simple: I was told in no uncertain terms to “play duos with him, or suffer the penalty of 1000 SEO articles based on every battle royale game you could think of”. With an eternity of awful content in my potential future, I took the hit. You would too in my position.
You see, Jimmy is an addict, and Fortnite is his drug of choice, thus he’ll do anything to satiate his urges, whether that be threatening me with bad content or forcing fellow Vulture and resident tall boy Darryl to play with him, pushing the poor lad to the brink of his sanity. Darryl hasn’t been the same since.
Fearing the worst, due to both Jimmy’s erratic nature and my own predisposition towards Fortnite (it’s shite tier patter for children), I was prepared for an afternoon of suffering and berating through the headphones, but the results were less chaotic. In fact, I’ll even go so far as to admit I had fun.
God, that was tough to confess.
In fairness though, fun with Fortnite didn’t come with a lot of the shooting mechanics, even if I did manage to win a £5 bet for killing someone with a Desert Eagle. Jimmy was dumbfounded, spouting the belief that the Deagle is the worst gun in the game. Boy, I proved him wrong. Money well earned, as far as I’m concerned.
This may be the luddite in me talking, but I felt like my enjoyment of Fortnite was hampered by the game’s over-reliance on building during a firefight. Call me old-fashioned, but I’d much rather return fire against an opponent instead of constructing some overly complicated series of ramps in an attempt to bamboozle people. And myself. Mostly myself.
Regardless of Jimmy’s insistence that I switch to the Builder Pro control scheme, we came upon an agreed compromise where he builds while I shoot; a partnership which led to a number of top 5 finishes in just a few hours. No victories though, but I imagine Jimmy will be trying to conscript me for another session, possibly with a traumatised Darryl and another unlucky soul unfortunate enough to acquiesce to Jimmy’s demands.
In truth, the majority of my enjoyment came from dicking about. Who cares about surviving 99 other players when you can pull off sick Mario Kart style drifts around a golf course, or seeing how viable the shopping trolley drive-by method is? I know what I’d rather be doing. No joke, if Fortnite dropped the Battle Royale mode and just turned into a kart racing game, I’d be all in.
One of the highlights of our session came from a random player hitting golf balls from the top of a hill towards myself and Jimmy. Initial perplexion turned into amusement when we looked into the horizon and see someone practising their swing in the distance. Of course, it didn’t stop us from popping a few shots off at him with a hunting rifle.
In playing the game for a few hours, I’ve come to understand more how addictive Fortnite can be. The time between games is practically unnoticeable, as you go from recently deceased to “where we dropping boys?” in the blink of an eye. It’s not hard to become addicted when you can get your fix at just the press of a button.
The time between games, the inclusion of golf carts and rifts which allow you to glide across half the map and the relatively smaller size of the play area compared to PUBG means that you’re never too far from some kind of action. That’s unless you’re purposefully hiding in a house waiting for two squads to wipe each other out. The point is, there’s more agency given to the player about how far in the thick of it they’d like to be.
Despite that, my editor’s attempts to get me to join his addiction will go wanting. Even though we enjoyed plenty of success and had some hilarious (mis)adventures, I find the core gameplay to be completely unappealing. You know there’s something problematic with a game when you’re getting more fun out of a random addition to the game than actually playing it properly. Though I’ll be hesitant to dismiss the game off-handedly in future, I’m comfortable with knowing that Fortnite simply isn’t for me.
I think, if there’s anything to take away from my brush with gaming’s latest phenomenon, it’s the hope that Jimmy gets the help he needs one day. At this rate, we expect his wedding to come complete with a Fortnite cake, a Switch on every table with Fortnite already running and his wedding dance to come in the form of Fortnite emotes. We’ll keep you posted on the intervention.