By Morgan Seed
There’s this new online game named Fortnite that’s been going around lately, which brands itself as a sort of multiplayer, last-man-standing, go-on-solo, brave-the-wilderness sort of thing. I rarely pull myself out of the comfort zone of violently blasting zombies to chunks until there’s no longer a piece big enough to shoot, so in retrospect I’m going to put my eventual suffering down to peer pressure from my friends. The nagging became simply too much and so I gritted my teeth, downloaded the application and finally got around to playing the thing.
Guess what? They’re not my friends anymore.
Far from being a test of the player’s survival skills in a land where every other sentient being wants them dead, Fortnite relies much more heavily on the premise that he who finds the biggest shotgun within the first thirty seconds basically wins, even if they then spend the rest of the match making daisy chains outside.
The premise sounds good on paper – you being one of a hundred nameless jingoist types being parachuted onto an island where apparently every resident there thought a double barrelled shotgun and health potion made a good decoration for the mantelpiece – but from that point on the game just sort of shrugs its shoulders and goes “Well, that’s my job done. Play nice, kiddies!”, thus leaving me armed only with a pickaxe and a high probability of my brains getting sniper rifled into the sixth dimension.
Thus the trend continued. But after my first twenty matches (my mean survival time being roughly thirty seconds) I felt a pressing urge to turn to the developer and say “Are we not going to get a tutorial or anything? I get that there’s plenty of self-satisfied YouTube stars who do videos on this thing, jumping in front of a camera more often than they actually play the game, but it would be mighty nice if you could get your head out of your forthcoming update schedule and perhaps spare us newcomers a fair chance?”
“Fine,” you can practically sense the sullen reply, “See those trees over there? Chop those things down for wood and use that wood to build barricades, thus increasing your chances of survival. Happy now?”
That’s about as in-depth things really get for Fortnite, beyond “push analogue sticks to move” and “use gun on man”. I’m sure the online guides could regale me with tactics and exploits if I wanted to achieve a suicidal level of boredom, but from my eyes, this has long since become one of those Five Nights at Freddie’s debacles – a game to be reacted to rather than played in ’hilarious’ online skits and creepy corners of art sites. Because you obviously can’t entertain an enclosure full of gorillas without investing in a pimped-out banana truck.