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Fortnite: A New Video Game Craze Hits East

The storm eye is closing.

Senior Sam McKnight is racing through Dusty Depot to get to the eye of the storm that’s closing around Loot Lake. He has a gold SCAR assault rifle, a blue Burst, a blue AR, four grenades and a medkit.

There are three people left and one of them is building a massive stone fort on the center island. McKnight hides in a bush until it’s only him and one other player. The other player jumps from his fort as the storm closes on top of it and McKnight picks him off as he’s jumping through the lake for the win.

#1 Victory Royale

***

Fortnite: Battle Royale–the most popular game on Xbox One, according to Microsoft. From Tilted Towers to Lonely Lodge, 100 players dive into locations on an island to fight in a free-for-all battle, searching through gold chests, houses and stables to find shields and guns. Throughout the game, players make their way into the eye of the storm that is constantly closing in over the island. The storm forces players to move across the map, bringing them together to battle and slim the number of fighters down to one winner. If a player is hit by the storm, their health is decreased until they escape.

Since its release on Sept. 26, the game has gained a massive following. Within the first 24 hours after the launch, Battle Royale reached one million players. They hit 10 million after two weeks, and on Jan. 19, Epic Games announced they had reached 45 million players total and a record of two million concurrent players.

Walking through the halls at East, you’ll hear “I got a sick snipe last night in Fortnite,” or “I had a purple SCAR, two green pumps, a gold RPG and two medkits when I won Sunday.” Fortnite has replaced other popular games, filling the spots of Call of Duty and FIFA.

For players like McKnight , it’s become a daily ritual. Run to the parking lot, drive home, grab some Doritos and start playing. Senior Matt Hogan has been playing since Fortnite’s release in September, while the craze hadn’t hit East until late December. The aspect of the game that keeps him playing is not the winning, but the losing.

“When you lose it’s like ‘I gotta play another game. I gotta get a dub,’” Hogan said. “And once you get that first win of the day, you can’t stop trying to win again and again.”

There are three different game modes: solo, duo and squad, which is a group of four players who work together to be the last alive. In a poll sent out to the student body, 47 percent of students who play Fortnite said their most played game mode was squads.

For McKnight, having played since winter break, Fortnite has brought back the middle school Xbox 360 gaming days.

“We used to get on Live all the time in middle school,” McKnight said. “We played all day and night, only taking bathroom and food breaks.”

Today, many high school students are back to their old gaming antics. Xbox Live and PlayStation Plus allows players to join parties and talk over a microphone, giving them the social aspect of playing the game together while in separate places.

But the talk of Chug Jugs and Launch Pads doesn’t stop at just students. Teacher and soccer coach Jamie Kelly got into the game after hearing the buzz from his students.

“One of the best things about being a high school teacher is hearing about all the new games that everyone is playing,” Kelly said. “So I downloaded Fortnite and I just love it, I can’t stop playing.”

The game didn’t launch to the number one played game on Xbox because of the 100 versus 100 free-for-all aspect or the sniper rifles only Sniper Shootout game mode. Unlike most games, Fortnite is completely free to download and play. You can download it from the Xbox or Playstation Store. Not only is it free, but there are no advantages for players who have played the game longer than others.

“It’s not a pay-to-win game,” Kelly said. “Every player starts out with the same thing, so no matter how long you’ve been playing, everyone is on the same playing field.”

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Harrison Gooley

Harrison Gooley is a senior at Shawnee Mission East and is starting his third year on staff as a copy editor for the Harbinger. He plays football and lacrosse and is also involved in DECA. He enjoys hunting, fishing, and spending time with his grandpa. Harrison is excited to be in his last year of high school and make memories. Read Full »

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