It’s always out there lingering. The silent creeping dread at the edge of the map of what is known. Despite your best efforts, there is absolutely nothing you can do to push it back. It’s the fear, loneliness, and the thing that comes for us all. It’s the storm. So pop a chug and run, drive, or glide to the circle. You’re a Fortnite character running from your doom as Batman reloads before Ariana Grande can toss a grenade at you. As ridiculous as it sounds, I have found so much joy in the absolute wild platypus of IPs that Fortnite has become. Even more so, I have found so much value in it as a place to hang out with my friends in a time where that seemed like something impossible. After so many people said how stupid the game was, it has become worth so much to me.
For me, it’s become a constant connection to others. It’s a way to regularly connect when connecting in person was not possible. I cannot even begin to explain everything going on that is making the world scarier every day for every person. For a long time (and still), we cannot see those we love to share a hug, a beer, or the most dear to me…sandwiches.
So things had to change. We had to figure out some new way to connect; a way for us to not feel that loneliness creep in. For my circle, it’s been Fortnite. Tell Pre-Pandemic Dan that he would be playing Fortnite more than any game on the market, his first question would be “Wait, you got Mike to play Fortnite?”. I did, I got a lot of people to play Fortnite. A freeware game where you and 150 people all leap from a school bus to duke it out. It’s so simple but it’s been a saving grace when we cannot just simply go to dinner or to the movies.
It gives my friends a chance to play a simple, fun, and colorful game as we mindlessly talk for hours. Talking from huge topics of life to arguing with each other on who the best Spider-Man is and why it’s Toby Maguire. It’s a space where we know if we’ve had a bad day, we can say “anyone playing tonight?” and most of the time someone will be free to battle the storm.
It’s allowed us to connect in a time where it’s become rare. I can give you evidence that it’s something that bridges the lack of physical connection. Over the course of the past year, my buddy Ethan has come into my life and has quickly gone from the letterboxd Welsh to someone who I cannot fathom not being a part of every major life moment for me moving forward. It’s brought someone from across the ocean into my home and family nearly every weekend for over a year. Fortnite has made our friendship go from Twitter mutual to a brother as close to me as Jake and Mike who have been with me nearly my entire life. It’s allowed me to bring my friend and former roommate Chach into another part of my life so he can be connected with everything. It’s allowed for all of my friends to blur into one mass where everyone can be friends.
Every form of media has worth. Everything is worth something to someone. Fortnite has gone from a silly game my little brothers play to something that is a huge part of my life. Never let anyone try to persuade you that something that brings you joy doesn’t have worth. You never know how you’ll connect through the storm.