There’s been some strange noises emitting from the upstairs region of the Fisher household. If a visitor were to come by and hear it, they might think we were experimenting with some sort of child torture methods. In fact, now that I think about it, the neighbors have been giving me strange looks lately. Maybe they’ve heard the screams of agonizing terror seeping through our upstairs windows.
If you’re a parent, you probably already know the cause of the sounds to which I’m referring: The video game “Fortnite.” Screams of “WHAT?!” and “OH MY GAWWWD!” are a common fixture in family households since, well, a year ago. “Fortnite Save The World” was released on July 25, 2017, with “Fortnite Battle Royale” following in September. That was the last time I saw either of my two boys.
Well, that’s not entirely true. They emerge about once every couple of weeks to ask to buy V-Bucks. V-Bucks are the fake Fortnite currency that is used to buy different outfits or “skins,” tools, gliders or dances. Yes, dances. You see, when you kill another player in the game, you can celebrate with a dance, kind of like a touchdown celebration in the NFL. Ridiculous, right? Especially so when the fake currency of V-Bucks cost real currency. When I try to explain how asinine it is to spend real money on fake money to buy a fake dance in a fake reality in a fake world, I’m met with a blank stare and a follow-up question: “Sooooo, can I buy some V-Bucks, then?”
The old man in me despises this game. The fact that every time I play I’m killed immediately may or may not have something to do with it. I am also known to regularly make my required ‘Dad’ comments: “This ain’t no video game! Now, Super Mario Bros. is a real video game!” and “When I was a kid, we didn’t have to buy dances and skins, we just had to know the right combination of buttons to press!” (I could press forward, forward, back, back, Y to electrocute my opponents and reduce them to a pile of ashes as Raiden on Mortal Kombat. No V-Bucks needed!)
It’s hard to hate the game too much, though. I loved video games as a kid, and I’d probably love this one, too, if I could figure out how to play it. Now, my kids can play with friends not just in our neighborhood, but all over town and across the country. That is pretty awesome! If I could have spread my Super Mario Kart dominance past just my neighborhood, who knows where my talents would have taken me! And since the game is played between friends on a network, if I ever feel like they need to take a break, I just unplug our modem. “Ohhhh, I’m sorry, son. There must be an outage.” #ParentingWin
If your kid hasn’t discovered it yet, congratulations. But, be warned: It’s coming! It’s not all bad, though. After all, they’re kids. They’re supposed to do kid stuff. And as long as I hear the “OH, COME ON!!!” and “WHAT THE FLIIIIP?!” bellowing down the stairs, I know right where my kids are. The older they get, the more I appreciate that.