With the new release of its fourth season, Staff Writer Sam Fortenbaugh reports on Fortnite's increasing popularity in the Menlo community. Creative Commons Image: steamXO on Flickr
By Sam Fortenbaugh
Fortnite is an animated survival game that has become extremely popular in the last year. The game is still relatively new in the gaming world, as it was published less than a year ago on July 25, 2017 by Epic Games. It is available on Microsoft Windows, macOS, PlayStation 4 and Xbox one.
Fortnite is now in its fourth season featuring many new updates. Each game starts with up to 100 players who drop off the battle bus that flies over the map. On the map, there are weapons that can be picked up and materials that can be acquired to protect you from enemy fire.
Fortnite has also become a hot commodity to play with your friends. There are three different modes: solo, duos and squads. You can play duos and squads with your friends or with random people.
Many people spread the word about Fortnite to their friends, increasing its popularity. “My brother showed me the game, and I was immediately hooked,” Junior Jake Coslet said. One of the reasons Fortnite has spread so quickly is because the game is free to download. However, the game allows for in game purchases, such as skins, dances, pickaxes and gliders.
According to players, there are a multitude of other reasons why the game has become so popular. “I love how fortnite is always coming out with new updates,” sophomore Andres Simbeck said. “One of my favorite things is squadding up with the boys. It’s like we’re all together when we’re really not. I also love the satisfaction of seeing the ‘Victory Royale’ on my TV,” Coslet said. Victory Royale is the term used in Fortnite for winning. Similarly, junior Sam Untrecht enjoys the competitive and collaborative nature of the game. “I love being able to trash talk people who I kill,” Untrecht said.
Players most often play on the weekends and weeknights. Duos, playing with just one other person, and squads, playing with up to three teammates, are the most popular game modes. These two modes allow players to talk and work with other players as opposed to playing solo. Some choose to play with family, friends or players who they don’t know. “I like to play with my mom,” junior Andy Fisher said. On the other hand, Coslet enjoys playing with friends who are talented in the game. “I love playing with players like [Simbeck] who can carry me to a victory,” Coslet said.
However, there are times when you have to play solo when friends and family aren’t available. “Sometimes when nobody is available to play squads with me, I put a headset on my cat and pretend to play with him,” Colowick said.
There is also a large range in how much time people typically play. “I play two to three hours on Friday, three to four hours on Saturday and sneak in an hour or so on a random weekday,” Coslet said. Some parents disapprove of the game while others are more accepting. “[My parents] don’t care as long as I do my [school] work,” Colowick said.
Others tend to have one parent that is stricter than the other. “My mom is chill [...], but my dad wants to throw my Xbox down a trench,” junior Bobby Shove said. Coslet has had a similar experience to Shove.“[My parents] think I am throwing away my life and that I am being very unproductive. My dad almost ripped my Xbox out of the wall the other day, I am not allowed to play for the next 3 weeks,” Coslet said.
Fortnite’s fourth season includes a limited edition character release, Thanos. Thanos is a character from the new Avengers movie. In addition to the new character, a meteor has hit the map and Dusty Depot has turned into dusty divot, which has a plethora of consumables. However, in spite of these new updates, the new releases have been questioned and deemed by many as unfair and overpowered. “I hope the Fortnite developers stay away from using consumables in the future. They are fun to use, but could ruin the game. When Call of Duty Black Ops Three introduced double jump, it ruined the game for me,” Fisher said.
The Fortnite community has a large presence on social media. Ninja, arguably the most popular fortnite player, has over four million followers on Instagram. He also streams on Twitch, a live streaming platform, and posts full games and highlights on Youtube. One of his streams on Twitch reached over six hundred thousand viewers. Ninja’s Youtube account also has over 10 million subscribers. “My favorite youtuber is Daequan,” Fisher said.
At Menlo, some students stream their own games. However, just as some students play more than others, the same is true for streaming. “Obviously I stream. Hit me up at ders_9,” Simbeck said. However, players such as Coslet stream less often. “Occasionally I stream, @Lj3c,” Coslet said.
The hype surrounding the game has lead to the creation of an unofficial Menlo Fortnite Instagram account, @menlofortknights. It has become a great accomplishment for a Menlo Fortnite player to get featured on the account. “I was the first post and I am proud of it,” Coslet said.
With all the positives aspects of Fortnite, there has not been substantial criticism. However, all games receive some criticism. “I wish there was the ability to make custom matches, so I could chose to only play against my friends,” Fisher said.
Others have different complaints. “I wish there was split screen so we could all play together in the same place instead of being separated. It’s fun to play together via Party chat, but it would be better if we were all together location-wise,” Coslet said.