There is no denying the craze for the video game Fortnite, which has recently exploded, especially amongst children. So what exactly is it? Read on to find out…
Fortnite is a game where players work together to survive in an open-world environment, involving combat against other characters controlled by the game or other people. The single-player or co-operative mode played with friends involves fighting off zombie-like creatures with the most popular mode being the stand-alone free-to-play multiplayer platform Fortnite Battle Royale. This is where up to 100 players enter an online game, competing individually or as part of teams of up to four, to be the last player standing within a constantly decreasing battle arena.
There are many reasons why Fortnite and Fortnite Battle Royale have become 2018’s biggest gaming craze including the fact that it is free to play and available on PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, PC, Mac, iOS and some Android devices. The gameplay is simple but immersive with multiplayer games lasting around half an hour and players can then quickly re-enter a new game, making long sessions of play very easy. Fortnite is attractively designed and has weekly updates and challenges and is constantly evolving. The game has its own currency, V-Bucks, which allows players to complete challenges for rewards. There is also a huge social media presence following via video and streaming apps such as You Tube and Twitch. Fortnite is rated 12+ due to its frequent scenes of mild violence.
Fortnite Battle Royale’s mode is a multiplayer game where players from around the world battle against each other in last-man-standing-type games involving up to 100 players. It has an unmoderated chat functionality as players are open to communications, either by voice or on-screen, from anyone they are playing with. It can put younger players at risk of exposure to inappropriate language, extremism or in extreme cases even grooming. However, Fortnite does have three levels of privacy settings: Public, where anyone can enter your online party, Friends, where only friends can join a party, and Private, which means that no one can enter the party without being invited by the gameplayer. You can also disable voice chat but it is always worthwhile talking through the dangers of Fortnite and other online games with your child.
Even though Fortnite is ‘free’ to play, they do offer in-game purchases, including a season battle pass which costs £7.99 and lasts a full Battle Royale season, which is around three months and with it you can receive bonus rewards such as skins. You can purchase in-game add-ons with V-Bucks, Fortnite’s very own currency which you have to buy with cash or earn them through buying the season battle pass. All items which can be bought with V-Bucks are aesthetic and do not impact on gameplay whatsoever.
As with a lot of things in life, playing Fortnite can be quite disadvantageous, especially amongst children and there have been reports calling the game addictive and claiming that the game induces competition-related rage. However, it is also noteworthy that the game can promote positive qualities and skills such as teamwork, dexterity and fast reactions. Baring in mind that multiplayer games only last up to 30 minutes, it can be easy to set suitable game playing time with your child without having to pull the plug out of the wall.
One surprising trend which Fortnite has brought with it is Strip Fortnite, which involves two players playing the game and for every kill the player gets, the companion must remove one item of clothing. Hmm.