Pioneer students play Fort(day and)nite

     No matter who you are at Pioneer High School, staff, student, or teacher, you have heard about the video game, Fortnite, by Epic Games. Fortnite has absolutely gone viral. In the last few months, Fortnite has filled Snapchat stories, taken up homework time, and brought students together in the struggle for a Victory Royal.

     Lauren Kapnick, a Pioneer sophomore, doesn’t play the game and yet still experiences it.  “All the time I check Snapchat and see ‘Battle Royale’ or ‘Fortnite’ on stories,” she says. Even though Fortnite is a familiar sight to Kapnick she admits she doesn’t have a real understanding of the game. “I see it a good amount, but I’m not really sure how [Fortnite] works.”

     For those who are considered Fortnite “newbs,” Fortnite is an animated third person shooting game. Its most popular mode is free and known as “Battle Royale.” In Battle Royale, which can be played in solo or “squad” mode, begins in a flying Battle Bus, which crosses a giant island in a random path. Players and their teammates jump from the bus and use their gliders to land on a chosen location on the map. Having landed, players and their squads must find resources, including guns, medical care, and building material. Players must use these gathered resources to build structures, kill opponents, and avoid a growing storm. One can be killed by another player or the storm, which over time shrinks the arena. The overall goal of Battle Royale is to be the last man or woman standing.  

     Some Pioneer students who do not take part in the video gaming world may not understand why Fortnite is so popular. “I really have no clue why so many people like it,” Kapnick admits. However, they only need to ask their Fortnite-obsessed peers. Koa Williams, a Pioneer sophomore, explains that Fortnite is unique in the gaming world.  “It’s different from other games,” he says. “It’s slightly animated and has cool guns and building abilities.”

     To Fortnite gamers like Williams there’s more to the game than just its features. “It’s addictive,” he explains. “I love working with friends in squads to try and get the victory, it’s challenging.”

     To many of these gamers it is because of this challenge that they play so vigorously. “When I finally get the dub [win] I just stand up, throw the remote, and start screaming at the TV, it’s exciting you know,” says Williams. Pioneer sophomore Stuart Demas also can’t hold back his excitement when “Victory Royale” appears on his screen. “When I have a big game with lots of kills I can’t help it, I’m like ‘let’s go, man,’” he says.   

     Playing the game with friends is a common theme among Pioneer Fortnite players. “I started playing Fortnite because all my friends on PS4 played it, and now it’s so satisfying to get that [win] with them,” says Community High junior Alex Cunningham.

     For Demas, playing Fortnite with friends is more than just a game. “[Fortnite] allows me to bond with my friends in a unique way,” he explains. “It forces us all to be synced and communicate; it really builds teamwork.”

     Koa Williams also enjoys Fortnite’s squad feature. “It really feels like I’m actually hanging out with my friends.”

     For these Fortnite enthusiasts, the game is a full-blown hobby. Pioneer sophomore Michael Eder recently tore his meniscus. Conveniently for Eder, this has freed up more time to play Fortnite. “Right after my surgery I played [Fortnite] pretty much all day, even when I was on my prescribed narcotics from my surgery,” says Eder. Eder’s injury has allowed him to truly invest himself into Fortnite. “When people ask me how much I’ve been playing it, I just tell them I can see it when I close my eyes to go to sleep,” he says. Williams is also a dedicated Fortnite player. “When I’m not playing Fortnite, I’m watching videos on it in school,” he says.

     Fortnite has spread throughout Pioneer; people talk about it at lunch, after school,  or even on social media. To some students Fortnite allows them to bond with friends, for others, it provides an exciting challenge, and to a few, it’s a source for dreams.

     “It’s hard to win,” says sophomore Colin Flanders, “so when you do, you just have to show others that Victory Royale.”