Arts & Life

‘Fortnite’ has transcended nerd culture and infiltrated mainstream media

The days of the average gamer being imagined as the scrawny pale geek are nearing an end as a fresh take on an already existing medium has revitalized the love of openly being a fan of a much loved pastime.

Epic Games’ “Fortnite: Battle Royale” has quickly become a popular video game title early on in the year, but what’s most impressive is that it has transcended the gaming world by appealing to artists, athletes and many more.

It’s a simple concept that relies on a search-and-destroy situation similar to “The Hunger Games.” The match starts with one hundred players who are dropped into an open world map, and each player must find weapons to defend themselves until they are the last one standing. There are also duo and squad modes, where you can play with teammates.

Battle royale modes have been around for years, but “Fortnite” has found a way to differentiate itself with its cartoon style of play and a building system that lets you create your own buildings and ramps to personalize your style of play.

Like most games, “Fortnite” will eventually fade into obscurity, but what has been fun to watch is the different kinds of people it has brought together.

Ninja, a Twitch streamer with a following of almost five million, is one of many popular streamers who earns a living by playing video games. Known as the top “Fortnite” player in the community, he has recently gained more popularity after playing with music artists Drake and Travis Scott during a live stream on Twitch. Also joining them was JuJu Smith-Schuster, a wide receiver for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The gamer, two musicians and football player brought in a record of 635,000 concurrent viewers at its peak, which surpassed the previous Twitch record of 388,000 viewers. It was an eventful stream that created much more hype for the game.

What makes this game so enticing? A huge reason is the game is available for Playstation, Xbox, PC, Mac and even mobile devices, with a cross-play feature that lets you play with your friends on all the different devices available. Most games do not feature cross-play and many online shooter experiences could cost up to $60 which tends to push people away. Fortnite is highly accessible and completely free, which is its biggest selling point.

Some items can be purchased with money, but they are purely cosmetic and don’t impact how the game is played. Earlier this year when “Star Wars: Battlefront II” was released, fans were outraged at its pay-to-win system. While Fortnite does possess minor balancing issues, its positives outweigh its negatives.

“Fortnite” is also an easy game to pick up. While there are more experienced players out there, I find myself always having a good time even when I die early on. There isn’t a giant learning curve needed to play, which has attracted many who don’t normally play video games to try it out at least once.

NBA players have also shown an interest in the game with Josh Hart, Gordon Hayward and Karl-Anthony Towns publicly playing and talking about the game in front of their fans through Twitch. All three of these guys have even taken their “Fortnite” obsession to another level by streaming their gameplay through Twitch. Hart has been particularly open about his enthusiasm for “Fortnite,” getting custom made shoes to show his love for the game, which he wore in March during a Los Angeles Lakers game. The Lakers shooting guard has also hosted “Fortnite” parties with other NBA players.

“There was one time Larry Nance [Jr.] came over before we played the Cavaliers,” Hart told Dan Patrick. “We literally had four TVs set up in my living room, we all had our own PS4s, and we ran like a whole ‘Fortnite’ squad for, like, 10 hours that day.”  

No one knows how long “Fortnite” will continue to be so popular, but it has become a cultural phenomenon is such a short time that has captured the attention of many different individuals and reestablished the love of just sitting down and playing a video game.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Daily 49er newsletter