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The Girlfriend's Guide To Fortnite

“I’m coming … just wait for me to die!”

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A promotional image of various Fortnite characters.
Courtesy Epic Games
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Fortnite, released by Epic Games in 2017, is the popular online game that’s responsible for slipping grades and teen exclamations like: “I’m coming … just wait for me to die!” around the globe (45 million players and growing).

I googled Fortnite and whoa, too much information. I think we’d all just like a simple mom-level understanding of what it is. So, I am bravely risking the wrath of my teenager as I interrupt his Fortnite game to get the skinny (for an immersive experience, please read in the exasperated tone of a 15-year-old boy):

Mom: “What is the basic premise?”
Teenager: “Fortnite is a battle royal game. That means there is a group of 100 players that are fighting to be the last person standing. Each player gets a pickax to gather materials and starts the game in the ‘Battle Bus,’ which flies over the map and drops players anywhere they want in an attempt to find the best weapons while managing the risk factor of not landing within close proximity of other players. There is a storm, commonly referred to as ‘the circle,’ that gets smaller and smaller as the game goes on. If a player is outside the circle, they will start to take damage and eventually die if they can't escape in time.”

Mom: “How do you play with other people?”
Teenager: “Connection with other players is the same as any other multiplayer game. You are connected to a server with 99 other players randomly assigned there.”

Mom: “What are the most violent/scary parts a parent might worry about?”
Teenager: “The violent parts of the game are the guns. There is no blood or gore. The guns and rocket launchers are the only violent aspects. And you can only chat with people you add as friends.”

Mom: “Does it teach you ANYTHING?”
Teenager: “There is not much you can gain from playing Fortnite that will help you in the real world. Unless you are in a post-apocalyptic island with a deadly storm closing in.”

Mom: “Why do you think it’s so popular?”
Teenager: “For one, it’s a lot of fun to play and is well made. You can play with your friends if you add them on your Epic Game account. It also may be popular because famous people like Drake, Travis Scott and JuJu Smith-Schuster can be found playing Fortnite with popular gamers.”
Mom: “Those are singers, right?”

Mom: “Is Fortnite ever going to cost me money?”
Teenager: “It’s free to download and play. Where it may cost you money is the in-game store. In this store you can buy new characters and other aesthetics. Can I be done now?”