“Ok, we’re landing at Tilted. Follow my marker.”
“The blue one?”
“Yes, Mama. I’ll tell you when to jump…. JUMP!”
“Where should I land?”
“On top of that first building.”
“Crap. I think I opened my chute too soon. I’m going to land way away from there.”
“Ok, I have a shottie, a legendary SCAR and some mini-shields.”
“How do you find this stuff?”
“Don’t worry, Mama. I got you. I’m going to drop the minis for you and the shottie. Drink the shields. We have to get to the circle before the storm gets us.”
Most adults hate it. If you have kids, they have probably spent the better part of their summer playing it on their iPad, X-Box, PS4 or any other number of devices. The best part is it’s free. The worst part is it’s addicting and your kid has probably asked to spend the next five years’ allowance on V-bucks for battle passes and cool skins (avatars).
But contrary to what most of my friends think, I happen to like the game. And what I like more, is getting to play it with my kids.
Yes, there’s violence. The object is to kill/ survive until you are the last single, duo or squad standing. But there’s no blood, no gore, and no side vulgarities. If you die, a light kind of dissolves you leaving all of your loot behind for enemies to pick up.
What I really like is the teamwork and skill involved. Unless you’re playing singles, you have to work with others in order to win. So people will share shields with you. They’ll build for you if you suck at it (like me). And they’ll even revive you if you’re knocked down, which I find amazing. Even though my own kid chose a supply drop over reviving me once–asshole–random players have revived me again and again.
I told you, I really suck.
But I’m getting better.
I can land where I planned to and find chests with all the goodies. I can reload my weapons on the run. I know how to aim and shoot. I can build— albeit very slowly.
And I have to admit, I like getting better at something. I like the strategy involved in drawing your enemy out, in choosing the appropriate weapon. In running floor to floor in a house and knowing there is always a chest in the secret room in the basement. I like having my go-to landing spots—Retail Row, anyone?—that are now familiar. I like reviving nubes (new players) like me.
But most of all, I like the fact that my kids are way better than I am and yet they want to play with me.
My kids are 13 and 9. They’re both starting to hit that stage where I’m not cool enough to hang out with. In the future they’ll be way more interested in their friends and eventual boyfriends and girlfriends. So I cherish this time of looting and killing with them.
Even if it means I watch my daughter get excited about killing someone with a single headshot.
And I like that they are the experts. I think it’s awesome that they can teach me, and that I suck at stuff that they excel at.
And what shocks me is the patience they have with me. Sometimes I get frustrated when I can’t pick up what I want to pick up. “Mama is your inventory full? You have to drop something, remember?” Sometimes I can maneuver the way they can. “Here, let me build another stair so you can jump easier.”
When I get killed, they empathize. When I get a kill, they’re ecstatic.
That’s only happened four times…
So yeah, Derek plays way more than I’d like him to, and sometimes I have to make him get dressed and see the sun.
And I’m like 99… ok, 93% certain that playing this won’t have negative long-lasting effects on him. Probably.
And it’s not quite the scenario I pictured when they were little. You know, visiting museums, appreciating art, reading books together… which sounds pretty boring now that I typed that out. Sheesh.
But he won’t always be nine and want to play with me.
So, thanks, Fortnite.