How Fortnite captured teens’ hearts and minds • The New Yorker
9 days ago by charlesarthur
Nick Paumgarten on the huge hit, which (if you didn't know) is like a cross between the Hunger Games and Minecraft; 100 of you start, only one can survive:culture gaming fortnite
<p>It was hard to do homework on a night like this; Gizzard Lizard returned to the game. He played on a PC he’d built at school. It didn’t have a graphics card. He’d never been a big gamer—his parents were fairly strict about screens and had never consented to an Xbox or even a Wii—though he’d played Minecraft for a while. This level of obsession was something new. He saw on his find-your-friends bar that a bunch of schoolmates were playing, so he FaceTimed one who goes by ism64. They teamed up and hit Lucky Landing. Gizzard Lizard wore an earbud under a set of earphones, so that he could talk with ism64 while listening for the sound of approaching enemies. From a distance, it appeared that he was talking to himself: “Let’s just build. Watch out, you’re gonna be trapped under my ramp. I’m hitting this John Wick. Oh my God, he just pumped me. Come revive me. Build around me and come revive me. Wait, can I have that chug jug? Thank you.”
I’d been struck, watching Gizzard Lizard’s games for a few days, by how the spirit of collaboration, amid the urgency of mission and threat, seemed to bring out something approaching gentleness. He and his friends did favors for one another, watched one another’s backs, offered encouragement. This was something that I hadn’t seen much of, say, down at the rink. One could argue that the old arcade, with the ever-present threat of bullying and harassment and the challenge of claiming dibs, exposed a kid to the world—it’s character-building!—but there was something to be said for such a refuge, even if it did involve assault rifles and grenades.
And then the John Wick was upon him. “Oh God! Oh God!” Foiled again.
A John Wick was an accomplished player who had earned a skin that bears a resemblance to the character played by Keanu Reeves in the “John Wick” movies. (Officially, the skin is called the Reaper, presumably to avoid licensing fees, but players call it John Wick.) It was available to anyone who had attained all hundred tiers of the game in Season 3—a combination of achievement and experience which would have required playing for between seventy-five and a hundred and fifty hours.</p>
9 days ago by charlesarthur
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