Is Your Child Begging to Play Fortnite?


What is it? Mr. Aaron’s guide to things kids love and we parents might struggle to understand.

Guest blogger Aaron Shea is a parent of a tween, a kid at heart, was born during how things were and has adapted to how things are.

FORTNITE – What is it?

You’ve probably heard of it. If your kids aren’t playing it themselves, they probably want too, as it is likely they know someone who is. Here is a guide for those parents who may be late to the craze, and either can’t decide if it’s right for their child or want to know more about the game that has already seeped its way into the house.

Fortnite is the latest video game obsession to gain recognition at the level of Angry Birds. Since its release almost a year and a half ago, it has become a staple among many of the smartphone generation. Now available on all platforms, it is easily the most genius moneymaking game on the market, and it’s free. (That is, free to download and play online Battle Royale without membership.) More on “free” shortly. Let’s begin with the basic question.

What is Fortnite? What do you do? Is it okay for younger kids?
Fortnite is a massive online multiplayer shooter game. I know, “online shooter” can seem like a scary thing and an automatic N-O from a lot of parents, but this one is friendly enough. Remember that ratings are suggestions, it’s up to you to decide what you want your kids playing (and for how long each day or week). Fortnite has been given a teen rating for the obvious gunplay involved. However, it is gunplay in its mildest form. There is no blood and gore, crude jokes, or realistic graphics. I, as a dad to a tween, give it a family-friendly stamp of approval, but other parents might not. The always looming uncertainty of voice chat is about the only thing anyone should find “iffy” about this game. It requires the same amount of caution you would require of your child on any of the online gaming forums. A great resource to find out more about specific games to help you make decisions about whether or not you will allow your child to play them is Common Sense Media. Here is the link for Fortnite:

Battle Royale (the free mode) is the mode most kids want to play, and it consists of teams of 1-4 people who can chat and work together to attempt and survive the longest out of up to 100 people playing together. Each round lasts up to about 15 minutes, and is 100% fair in every way, in fact, it is a bit reminiscent of the Hunger Games. Every round begins on an island where everyone can goof off until the bus (plane) takes off, and then it begins. Once the doors open, players have around 30 seconds to choose a destination towards which to skydive. Each player begins unarmed, and upon landing must quickly move to find weapons.

Once equipped, the game is about survival coming from two threats, your opponents, and the storm. The storm is what keeps the game moving by forcing players to certain areas of the map to stay alive. By shrinking the map like this, it ensures players WILL find one another. When this happens, it comes down to strategy, both defensive and offensive. Players use whatever resources they gather along the way to build forts and walls to protect themselves, all while attempting to eliminate one another.

Let me speak from experience when I say that winning a round is a longshot. I, like many players, have never been the last man standing, and take satisfaction whenever I make the top 10. A good parental view is that losing this game is a given and learning to lose is always a great real-life lesson. If your child has any anger issues brought on by competitive games, then this may not be the game for them.

What isn’t free to play? What would kids need to purchase?
The developers were genius to make this game free while being so fun and enthralling. By doing so, they create a huge fan base, which means multitudes of players, and everyone wants to stand out. Players do so by unlocking costumes as they level up. However, many players want costumes that not everyone can unlock in the free version. And this is where the money comes in.

Players can spend money on “V-Bucks” which is used to unlock unique costumes that aren’t available to everyone. I’ll admit, there are some cool ones, but in my opinion, it’s this kind of virtual spending that is impacting the understanding of the value of money for this young generation. I have not and will not ever spend REAL money on virtual avatars as many people do in this game, and I am a diehard gamer.

There is, however, a one-time payment available to unlock “Save the World” mode, which is considered the actual story-based game in Fortnite. I am a huge fan of this mode, and I prefer it over multiplayer. If your child plays, I suggest purchasing this mode. Not only is it an actual game, but you can earn “V-Bucks” while playing it, which you can then spend on costumes in multiplayer version. There is no real money wasted, and they must earn it!

Fortnite is a game based on an RPG cartoon zombie survival plot. Players complete missions, search for supplies and treasure and progress through the story. In my opinion, it’s worth the money as far as video games go.

That is all there is to it! I hope these questions and answers were helpful. Look out for future guest blogs from Mr. Aaron.