A Puzzling Phenomenon: What is this “Fortnite” Fascination?


Even if you haven’t played it, you’ve definitely heard of the game Fortnite. The game was released July 25, 2017, but recently gained immense popularity around the world. Over 150 million people have become obsessed with the video game that has been described as a combination of Minecraft and a third person shooter game. The battle-royale mode is what really brought the game into its immense popularity. It allows for 100 people to play in a fight to the death where the last one standing is the winner. It was quickly released as a standalone game in September, making it a global phenomenon.

The scope of players that this game has reached ranges from the average kid all the way to celebrities such as Drake and Travis Scott. People are using this as a platform for making money as well. One streamer who goes by the name Ninja has begun making $500,000 a month via the streaming service Twitch due to his high popularity. He has gained 100,000 subscribers, and is the most popular user on the site. On Twitch, along with other sites like it, Fortnite made up 12.8 percent of all user traffic to those sites. Both playing and viewing the game have become immensely popular as people all over the world strive to take the win.

Lincoln High School has not avoided the phenomenon that is Fortnite. Students and teachers alike play the game, and those who play it feel quite strongly about it. Senior Zach Heineman began playing because of his brother James. He plays it because “there’s a great sense of chance that goes along with it.” Heineman goes on to state, “Sure skill will help you win, but there’s also a great deal of chance. It’s almost like gambling, but less luck involved than like poker or slots.” Freshman Alex Gill agrees with Heineman, commenting that “its competitive nature and skill required to play the game invoke various emotions throughout engaging in game play that occur in any battle royale game.”

However, the immense popularity of the game stems from more than just its addictive nature. The game brings players together from across multiple platforms which most video games cannot do. Senior Evan Thompson comments that “people who play on Xbox or Playstation are able to play with people who have computers, something that almost never happens in video games which allows more people to play together. The social aspect of the game is huge.”

Teachers have their own opinions on the game as well. As they are very busy, the timing of the game is very important. Math teacher Mr. Paul Ruhle, began playing Fortnite thanks to his advisory students. He enjoys the game because “though the game is challenging in its objective to actually be the last person standing, it is incredibly easy to load and play a game in a short amount of time.” He goes on to state that “since I play so infrequently, 15 minutes will probably allow me to play twice (aka…I am terrible at it).”

Chorus teacher Mr. Brandon Lahoud, started playing in order to end the seemingly endless messages from a friend badgering him to play Fortnite. He enjoys the game because it’s a “pretty simple concept with interesting graphics and a horrible algorithms for hit accuracy, but something about it keeps you coming back.” He comments on its popularity by stating that “it’s pretty simple to play, and it’s mastery level is high. Building is the trickiest concept as I’ve seen players build crazy forts/defenses in an absurdly short time while I’ve barely been able to handle making a tower to attack from. To put it simply – it’s free, on iPhones/iPads, Xbox, Windows, Mac PS4, so why not?”

However, there are still many people who have not joined the Fortnite bandwagon. Sophomore Emma Gill (no relation to Alex) has no interest in the game, saying that she’s “just not interested in Fortnite or many other video games. It’s just not really my cup of tea. Like how some people like books and movies, and some don’t. I just don’t really have fun playing video games like Fortnite.”

Others agree with Emma, finding the game just simply unappealing. Senior Michael Brassard, a person who generally enjoys video games, states, “I was going to play it because it looked very good quality, but I don’t like the competitive nature. It’s very aggressive and fast pace. I like more strategy and challenging myself versus others.”

While the currently the game has become an addiction world-wide, the real question is, will it last? Ruhle put it best when he states, “I do believe with the over-saturation of it now (on mobile as well), the craze will subside quickly.”