Family Life

They come out by day: the Fortnite Kids

My boy has gone off to war with Fortnite Battle Royale — and I am happy to let him go

Like a squillion zillion kids of all ages, our O is a Fortnite nut.

And I think it’s brilliant.

Even though I don’t play it myself and have less than zero interest in doing so.

But because he is so into it, and it is such a phenomenon, I wanted to have some idea of what is going on. So I Googled into it.

Daddy’s getting down with the kids!

I stand in our kitchen/dining-room now and again and watch O playing and he just seems to be having such a time of it.

He’s online with other kids, ones he knows, and ones he “meets” online. They’re working together, sharing and swopping stuff,  working out  strategies, slagging each other off … the usual.

And he’s there in my kitchen so I know where he is!

This much I knew already: it’s about killing or being killed. But it’s all very exaggerated and cartooney:

Except when players are killed they don’t explode in red mushroom clouds of guts, grizzle and flying eyeballs; they just disappear.

And rise again to play in the next game.

No word yet in the tabloids about the shocking increase in the numbers of kids being lost to cults peddling reincarnation, or believing they will live forever thanks to Fortnite.

The kids get it: it’s fantasy.

If you’ve just dropped down from Planet Supercilious a moment and want to know just how massive Fortnite is, ask any kid over eight about that silly dance Jesse Lingard did when he scored that screamer for England against Panama in the World Cup.

It’s called the shoot dance, O tells me, and, yes, it’s from Fortnite.

It seems nearly all the top players in the World Cup were playing Fortnite … not just Dele Alli and Harry Kane and all the England Boyz, Griezmann and Pogba of France … loads of them.

But they’re all at it …  freak, geek and meek … even the ones who don’t rhyme, scan or alliterate easily.

Okay, okay, I’m no fan of nasty, violent video games and the idea of my son playing them.

But watching him playing Fortnite, and listening to him working as part of a team, as they plot and shoot, and build and work their way around their island battleground, I hear the insults and bantz, but I also hear kids happily playing together, having a laugh and a thrill as they find a way to win. Or at least die trying …

I know it’s supposed to be free and Epic, the crowd that make it, do take the proverbial by charging for “skins” (those silly outfits the players wear in the game) and for those daft dance celebrations, but that part of it is up to parents to negotiate, and the older kids … well

The players can earn money (the game’s internal V-Bucks currency) to “buy” certain things, but, of course, the really cool stuff has to be paid for in good old euros, pounds and dollars.

I admit I only had the haziest notion of what the hell Fortnite was all about for ages.

So Wikipedia and Google filled in a few gaps.

That might explain the ‘wikipedia-ness’ of some of things I am saying, and O would laugh if he read this, but really it has only borne out what I had already gleaned from watching O on his PlayStation.

Fortnite Battle Royale is O’s particular kill-or-be-killed survival game of choice.

Up to 100 players are virtually-dropped onto an island — from a flying school bus —  where, they compete (it says here) individually or as part of squads of up to four, to be the last player standing within a shrinking battle arena.

They are fighting to the death in a Battle Royale and that last “man” standing wins.

Along the way, each player, or group of players, seeks out caches of weapons, armour, and stuff to heal wounds, while also collecting building materials by breaking down wood, metal and rock things you meet along the way with a pickaxe thing. These are quickly turned into walls, ramps, floors, and roofs for protection, or to slow down other players.

So there’s a bit of Minecraft mixed in with the Killing Games.

Like all the most compelling games games, Fortnite Battle Royale is actually simple to understand, but there is room for skill and strategy. So you can get good at it. Play it competitively even.

With all the cool and colourful scenery and effects and the visceral thrill of being the hunter and the hunted, the players get totally caught up in it all.

Multiplayer games last up to 30 minutes, and players can quickly re-enter a new game, making long sessions extremely easy —  “Just one last game, Dad/Mom” …

The visuals really are fantastic and with weekly updates and challenges, the game is constantly evolving so, again, it keeps the kids coming back for more.

Added elements, such as those V-Bucks, allow players to complete challenges for rewards.

Then there’s the huge social media following via YouTube and the rest.

That’s the bit that really amazes me: kids actually enjoy watching another kid playing these games. Millions of them, apparently!

Watching some dude with funny-coloured hair with headphones on going to war from his box bedroom in a Croydon high-rise. And him jabbering all the while like a Magaluf DJ!

To help them on their murder mission, players are also on the look-out for assault rifles (preferably the Legendary scar), pump shotguns, bolt-action sniper rifles bandages, medkits, and shield potions.

They see, and want those “skins” that look cool, they reckon, but have no bearing on the actual game.

Or they pick up on the dance moves players — or rather their avatars — perform mid-battle or after a kill. Like our man Jesse was doing in the wonderfully named Nizhny Novgorod Stadium.

Look around you, on the street or in supermarkets, you’ll see kids doing these daft dances. They’re on TV too, at big events, adults doing the same thing. Silly but fun.

And here’s the funny thing, again, for me: listening to O playing, I rarely hear acrimony. It really does seem to bring out only good in him … laughing, talking with his online mates, and working together on these missions.

And it has really bridged a social gap for him this summer. I have mentioned before how O has just finished his first year in secondary school, and how he has so far failed to a find a “bessie”, or close friend.

He does go out a bit, but not that much, So Fortnite and the World Cup have been brilliant for him.

Fortnite Battle Royale is like going to war with other young people, who you come to rely on and get to know. This and the heightened experience of doing virtual battle forges bonds and, yes, “friendships”. 

And O does know all too well the difference between it and the real thing.

As Peter Gabriel sang one time, it’s “Games without Frontiers, war without tears”.

The players have to think on their feet, and if they are in teams, work together on strategies, and I smile at the shrieks and squeals out of O when a game is at its most exciting.

And I hear the insults and the slagging when  things aren’t going so well.

The other day we got the fantastic  news that O was chosen to train with the National Academy in his age group in soccer, but instead of being really excited, he was annoyed at the time that another player had taken some amazing gun off him when they were supposed to be trading, and immediately left the game!

Like Gabriel sang, “If looks could kill, they probably will ….”

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56 comments on “They come out by day: the Fortnite Kids

  1. It’s like the modern take on cowboys and Indians games kids used to play in the 60’s

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  2. RaisieBay

    I love Fortnite, I think the concept is brilliant…but my kids have just not got into it. My 10 yr old daughter managed to get to being 11th at one point which is father better than her Dad ever did. I hear of parents complaining that it’s addictive, but I think games are okay so long as kept in moderation. And you can make real friends online. The times they are a changing it’s no use fighting it. Oh and I loved that song, it featured Kate Bush of whom I was a big big fan back then 🙂
    #mixitup

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Raysie .. I’m pre Gaming myself and so no desire to play … but it does look interesting, as did Minecraft before it. Yeah, great song. Thanks for your comment

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  3. My boys are gripped. We haven’t given in to paying for silly dances yet. But he did get some v bucks from us for doing well at school. We also walk in at anytime and have regular communication about appropriate behaviour online.
    All the kids in my class are playing too and it seems to be the game of choice at the moment. Big lad tried to get me to play earlier but I bowed out gracefully! #mixitup

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Catie .. it really has taken a grip hasn’t it! I really do think its benefits far outweigh the downsides. We make sure O has regular breaks!! Thanks for commenting

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  4. I love this because it gives a different take on all the negatives about this game. I never know what is right or wrong as a parent and just muddle through. I never wanted my children to play video games at all much like eating sweets a lot or watching videos or having plastic toys ever. But we compromise and we will get it right sometimes and sometimes make mistakes just like our parents did and all parents do. My boys play the game but mix it up with others ones and as you say there are benefits to video gaming even educational ones I am finding now I have opened my mind more. And weirdly despite my utter conviction gaming would turn my boys into gun toting lads in due course, it has not happened so far and they are smart, sensitive and caring. Go figure and thanks for give me stuff to impress them with about Fortnite too Superb post as I am coming to expect from you #MMBC

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Kate … I am certainly no authority on video games but this particular game has had nothing but good positives that I can see for O. Like with your boys he hasn’t been transformed into some real-life gun toting gangsta! Thanks for your lovely comments

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  5. Have I heard about it? Hell yes!
    Have I played it? Hell no!
    Have my kids heard of it? Probably (actually yes I think one of them mentioned it).
    Have my kids played it? Nope.
    They don’t really play video games at all – never have. They spend so much time dancing and listening to music, or singing or rehearsing they don’t have time.
    Not knocking anyone into gaming, just not my bag really.
    #TriumphantTales

    Liked by 1 person

  6. My little one is too young for this but of course, I have heard all about it. But I had no clue what it was about so thanks for filling me in! Thanks for sharing with #TriumphantTales

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hi Enda. It’s good to see a video game that encourages collaboration and the enjoyment kids can get from that. I’ve never tried Fortnite – the few games I play are mostly puzzles and are solitary pursuits. Tbh I haven’t ever really got further than Angry Birds but it’s good that O is having such fun. And congrats to him on his footy achievement too – proud dad time!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Clive … like I said, I haven’t even the slightest interest in playing any of these games, I can only see the positives in it. Any arguments over too much, too little etc, I think are more general issues, and you will find they don’t begin and end with Fortnite, or any other computer game/activity

      Liked by 1 person

      • You’re right, the ‘too much’ argument can apply to so many things kids do as they grow up. As long as they find a balance in how they spend their time I think it’s up to us to trust them.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes trust them … with the odd spot check just to make sure!!!

        Liked by 1 person

  8. I’m hoping my girls skip the video game stage. I don’t get it myself. Well, I get the game playing and I like that there is strategy and planning involved and other skills, but like you say it’s the other stuff I don’t get. The social following, the watching others. It’s a whole new world out there! Compared to when the gaming world started. Thank you for joining #BigPinkLink

    Liked by 1 person

  9. my boys are addicted to this #mixitup

    Liked by 1 person

  10. My boys all play video games, but I don’t think I have heard them mention this particular one #blogginggodtime@_karendennis

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  11. The Tubblet had to explain to us why Jesse Lingard did that dance … Having done the same as you – bit of Googling followed by Wiki – it sounds like a much better game than some others out there. (Also loved that Gabriel song. Really enjoyed seeing him in concert many years ago)

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is … much more to it than it first appears … yeah great song and I have seen him three times over the years. Thanks for your comment

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  12. Thanks for shedding more light on it. You are super positive about it. I am sure it has its good aspects and played in moderation is a cool thing to do, but I have to say I know a number of kids who think it’s more important than school work, spend quite a lot of time and even money on it, and suspect don’t get enough sleep because of it. That concerns me. #BloggerClubUk

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I have heard about it but haven’t looked into the game. You make it sound on par to Street Fighter back in the day. Cartoony and clearly not real life. #thatfridaylinky

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s funny me talking about video games – any video game! – as I don’t play them. I am only referring to Fortnite and me observing O playing, and then looking into it a bit more. Really, I think it is a good game, if I ever wanted to play! If that makes sense. Thanks for commenting

      Liked by 1 person

  14. My kids are a bit too young yet, but if they wanted to play, I’d be ok with it – as long as I was in the same room and could keep an eye on them #thatfridaylinky

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sounds the right thing to do – our boy is only allowed to play downstairs – his PlayStation is attached to our downstairs TVs. Thanks for commenting

      Liked by 1 person

  15. This sounds like so much fun, I think that it’s great dad getting down with the kids! #satsesh@_karendennis

    Liked by 1 person

  16. nice follow me

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  17. Daydreamer mum

    Hands up…I was previously a “my children will never play killing games” kind of a mum!! (The boys are 17 and 16 and still listen-how did I wing that?) BUT like you I did look at fortnite and actually it’s really kinda inoffensive and not what I expected. So yeah it’s on the ok’d list here …and I’m very familiar with the “but I just started a game ” line !!! #globalblogging

    Liked by 1 person

  18. This sounds like a massively great time! I’ve always been a fan of Nintendo and Mario but I also love the idea of playing a game with other people and plotting. Plotting is the best. #GlobalBlogging

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Hmmm. Never heard of it. But then again we don’t hang out with that age group yet. It’s all Peppa Pig and The Wiggles for us. Sounds like fun for a slightly older crowd. #bigpinklink

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is that Peachy. I think the Wiggles have lasted a long time while this game, will have its day. The impact has been huge. Griezmann’s goal celebration in the World Cup final was from Fortnite. Not Frostbite as my autocorrect suggested!!

      Liked by 1 person

  20. mackenzieglanville

    My sons friends got into this last year when he was seven, he didn’t like it and got a bit scared. He loves gaming as does his oldest sister, and although my middle daughter is more often seen with her face in a book, she joins in with them for minecraft there they can all make worlds together, but this game hasn’t been a success n our house. Thank you for linking up #ablogginggoodtime

    Liked by 1 person

  21. I have to admit I know not one thing about Fortnight, save for what you taught me today. And, I am offering up, If you would like, I play scrabble often, on words with friends. My Gaming at work! I’d love to play, Enda! #bigpinklink xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Back from #mixitup with some more blogger love and appreciation!

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  23. My daughter is only two, but the idea of these online games scare me a little. How can we protect them from meeting shady characters in this fictional realm? And why are the games free? What are the companies after from our children in the long run? E-safety is a big issue for me, but I am still not sure how to go about it and to what extent. As a parent of a teenager and a nearly teenager you seem very comfortable with it all. The fact your son is so open with you about it is a good sign. I am still intimidated about how to build this open attitude around the internet in one so young,

    Liked by 2 people

    • Well, the free thing is a swizz: the game is free but you pay for other things. When the time comes you will deal with it alright: it all depends on the kid and being on top of things generally, ie what they are playing and doing, online. For us, we have never let our kids have computers, ir devices in their bedrooms, and their phones are given up before bedtime.

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  24. Lucy At Home

    This was interesting – obviously I’ve heard to fortnite (and my 7yo does the dance moves) but I knew very little about the game itself. I’m glad that people just disappear when they die – in my mind, that makes the game more focussed on tactics and strategies than the act of killing (call me old-fashioned, but that is something I worry about) #blogcrush

    Liked by 2 people

    • I agree with that Lucy … I dontr think it devalues life, as some argue, but rather, as you point out, leads the players to focus on strategy etc. Thanks for reading and commenting

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  25. mummyinatutu85

    This sounds like an awesome game. I’m a secret gamer and have played WOW and The Sims amongst others for years #ablogginggoodtime

    Liked by 1 person

  26. #thesatsesh interesting review, can I ask why you chose not to play with your son, or learn more though him? Luckily little dude is still leapfrog age so we’ve got a way to go before this becomes our virtual reality (so to speak)

    Liked by 1 person

    • He has never asked me to … but I have no interest in any Xbox, PlayStation type stuff. An interest I just never developed.

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  27. Why haven’t I heard of Fortnite before?! I like the idea of characters disappearing when they’ve been killed off rather than… well… the gruesome alternative that some games offer. So this would be much better for youngers players I think. I’m not really sure where I stand on gaming yet… but I used to love playing Street Fighter and I think I turned out ok lol. Thanks for joining us for the #dreamteam Enda *Sneaks off to look at the Fortnite webpage 😁

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