For those of you who are not familiar with the latest video game craze, Fortnite, it is a game fashioned after the fight-to-the-death competition in The Hunger Games. You parachute onto an island with 99 other players and struggle to survive until there is only one player or team left standing. The average game lasts around 2-3 minutes – often less than a minute (if you get killed quickly) and usually no longer than 10 minutes.
There are three modes in which to play – solo, duos, and squads. Along the way, you scavenge for weapons, ammunition, and medical supplies; you collect building materials to build shelters and fortresses by chopping wood, walls, vehicles, and stones. And, finally, you run, run, and run some more!
Periodically, the field of play (the eye of the “Storm”) shrinks forcing the surviving players into confrontation. If you get caught in the storm for too long, you die!
With that said, below are the Top 20 life lessons reinforced by Fortnite.
1. Survival – Life is far from a life-and-death struggle for most of us. However, we still carry an innate survival mentality that kicks in when we are faced with a serious illness or when you are walking to your car in a dark parking lot or you hear a strange noise in the middle of the night. Fortnite is, at its core, a game of survival that requires a constant, almost fanatical awareness of your surroundings to avoid confrontation and death.
2. Project Management – Time is our most valuable resource. We must make the best use of the time we have to get stuff done – at work or in our household. Time is also limited in Fortnite as the field of play shrinks every minute or two. If you are not inside the eye of the storm, you need to accomplish your required tasks in an expeditious manner before the storm overtakes you.
3. Importance of Preparation – Life throws us curveballs all the time. We lose our jobs, the car breaks down, someone gets sick, the HVAC unit needs to be replaced, and natural disasters occur. All of this requires us to be prepared – mentally, financially, and physically. In Fortnite, attacks can occur at any moment. You prepare by being vigilante of your surroundings, having enough ammunition to fend off an attack, ingesting the shield juice, keeping your health at a high level, and having enough building material in your back pack to build a defensive (or offensive) position when the inevitable attack occurs.
4. Prioritization – You cannot have everything you want in life. Usually we are limited by our financial situation. Nonetheless we prioritize those things that are most important – food, shelter, clothing, etc. In Fortnite, your backpack can only hold a total of five items including weapons, bandages, ammunition, and jugs of shield juice. When you first land, you grab anything and everything you can find. However, once your backpack is full you must quickly learn to prioritize which items to discard in order to upgrade your loot. Just as too many guns and no bandages could spell disaster after a fire-fight, too many shotguns and not enough long-range weapons could also leave you in a tight spot. Prioritize carefully.
5. Sharing – From the earliest age, we learn the importance of sharing. As a child, you share your toys. As you grow older you share your time, money, and life with others. It is a vital part of getting along in the world. In squad or duo mode in Fortnite, you can view your teammates’ shield and health levels. If either appears low, you can give them shield potion and bandages. You can also share your ammunition, weaponry, and building materials with your teammates.
Contributing editor: Jacob Brodof
6. Cooperation and Teamwork – Success in life is predicated on getting along with people and learning how to work in a team. Whether you are dealing with your family, co-workers, classmates, or teammates, you must learn to work together in order to make the household run smoothly, complete projects and assignments, and win games. Success in Fortnite’s squad and duo modes requires both of these skills. If you go off and do your own thing, both you and your team usually suffers.
7. Helping People When They Are Down – One of life’s most important lessons is to learn to give back and help people when they are down. When playing Fortnite in duo or squad mode, you get the opportunity to do just that - revive your fallen teammates. In these modes, you do not die immediately unless you absorb a headshot. Your life meter starts running down giving your teammates approximately 30 seconds to revive you. Doing so is risky because it requires you to stand next to your injured teammate for 10 seconds with no ability to defend yourself.
8. The Importance of Exercise and Endurance – When it comes to exercise and staying in shape, even the people who hate doing it understand its importance in maintaining good health. Depending on where you land on the Fortnite island and where the playing field shrinks, you will often find yourself running for much of the game. For those of you who hate to exercise, imagine having to run up and down hills for 5-10 straight minutes while jumping and dodging incoming fire. At the end of the game, you can even view your “distance covered” metric . . . just like checking your Fitbit or Activity stats on your iPhone!
9. A Sense of Urgency – The phrase, “if you snooze, you lose!” is equally applicable to life as it is in Fortnite. You literally have to hit the ground running and pick up as much loot as you can. Even when you are playing as part of a squad, you still must look out for yourself and obtain some kind of weapon. This often leads the player to temporarily violate Lessons #5 and #6.
10. Fight or Flight – There are times in life when you are in physical danger and you must make a split-second decision whether to fight or run to escape the danger. That is the normal state of affairs in Fortnite. You must be ever-vigilant to avoid an ambush. There are times when you need to hide; times when you need to move and scavenge and there are times you need to attack and/or defend yourself.
11. Planning – To be successful in life, you have to plan - save money, set goals, family planning, etc. Fortnite also emphasizes the importance of planning for the future. In order to prepare for the inevitable life or death altercation that will take place in the next five minutes, you must take valuable time, often at a risk of being killed, to collect building materials, weapons, ammo and medical supplies. You must also plan the route you will take to successfully get inside the ever-shrinking eye of the storm.
12. Decisiveness –The life you currently lead is simply the result of all the decisions you have made up to this point. In Fortnite, indecision equates to an early death and an early exit from the game. Just as in life, the game boils down to a series of decisions you make. You must make decisions about where to land, when to move, when and where to hide, when to flee, when to fight, when to build, when to revive a teammate, what door to enter, what hill to climb, what angle of attack to take, where to set up an ambush, etc.
13. Working with Your Hands – Not everyone is blessed with the ability to build and fix things; they just hire other people to do those tasks for them. Obviously hiring an expert in a game of Fortnite is not an option. Therefore, you must learn quickly how to build. While options are limited to floors, walls, ramps, and roofs, you can also “edit” your structures to include doors and windows. You should see the creativity expressed in some of the structures that are built during the course of a game!
14. Life’s Necessities – As mentioned above in #4 – Prioritization, we only have a few real bare necessities in life – food, shelter, water, oxygen. With those four things, you could live (not well) but you could live. However, we all would agree that the list of necessities is much more extensive. We need things like transportation, clothing, money, phones, computers, access to medical facilities, etc. In Fortnite, the bare necessity is a weapon and enough ammo to fight your way through the island. However, the real list of necessities is a weapon for each situation – for close range fighting you need a pistol or a shotgun; mid and long-range firefights require assault rifles, AR-15s, sniper rifles, and rocket launchers. It goes without saying that you need sufficient ammunition for each of these weapons; you need bandages and shield juice, and you need building materials sufficient to survive the inevitable firefight.
15. The Importance of Practice and Perseverance – If you want to succeed in life - sports, work, school, playing an musical instrument, driving, selling, coding, etc – you must practice and you must learn to persevere when things don’t go your way. Fortnite shadows this important life lesson. When you start playing the game, you parachute, and within seconds, you have your first confrontation and, invariably you panic, hit the wrong button and you game is over almost before it started. Forget about building a shelter to protect you from a barrage of bullets and grenades. As time goes on, however, you get more comfortable with your ability to defend yourself and, at some point, you start looking for a fight.
16. How to Kill an Afternoon – Some people binge-watch Netflix, others rock in a hammock, while others take naps, scroll through social media, or read a book. Or you can sit down and play Fortnite - get pissed off because you got killed six times in a row within one minute of landing and, the next thing you know, you missed the sunset, you missed dinner, and everyone in the house is asleep!
17. Strong Work Ethic – You can’t mail-it-in in life and you can’t mail-it-in in Fortnite. Success in life requires a strong work ethic, without it, you limit your opportunities. In Fortnite, you cannot just parachute in and stand around and expect to live very long. You have to plan, work, move, forage, run, and ultimately fight!
18. The Importance of Taking Care of Your Health – Neglecting your health in life results in all kinds of nasty things – obesity, diabetes, and heart disease to name a few. We monitor our health by how we feel, we go to the doctor and have tests run and, we review our bloodwork. In Fortnite, you monitor your health by keeping your eye on your shield and your health levels. The former offers you some protection when you get shot by allowing you to absorb two or three hits before your health begins to be reduced. The latter can be reduced by falling or being shot. Guess what happens when you ignore your health in Fortnite? The same thing that happens to you in real life!
19. Awareness of External Forces – In life, we must be aware of externalities such as politics and elections, the financial markets, the job market, health issues, economic issues, etc. In Fortnite, the one constant external force that cannot be ignored is “The Storm” that continually shrinks the field of play. If you lose track of its movements and get caught in it, you may very well find yourself running for your life.
20. Communication – Your ability to communicate effectively goes a long way into determining your level of success in life. Fortnite’s squad and duo modes are full of lessons about the importance of communication. When playing Fortnite with friends, communication is easy as you have the ability to speak to each other using Xbox/Playstation compatible headsets. However when playing with complete strangers there is no way to verbally communicate. Players have come up with creative methods of communicating with teammates – sometimes they will shoot at you, jumping up and down and running at them with their axe are clear indications that they need something. Fortnite also offers the ability for players to breakout in dance if the mood is right.
Contributing editor: Jacob Brodof