Every so often, a videogame steps off the small screen to become a bona fide global phenomenon. And, in the case of Fortnite, an excuse to dress up like a giant hamburger.
Combining intense, high-stakes action with wildly flexible creation and customization, the game that made “battle royale” a household name is a slice of digitized genius.
Joining a match is as simple as flinging yourself out of the Battle Bus, a school bus strapped to a hot-air ballon. After a few seconds of free fall, glide safely to Fortnite’s island paradise—though calling anything in Fortnite “safe” is foolhardy.
That’s because 99 other players are landing too. And once they do, it’s a ridiculous, action-packed race to grab gear and become the last one standing.
Although you can lie low for a bit, an unpleasant storm ravaging the island forces players into closer and closer proximity every few minutes. Meeting an enemy—and your potential demise—is just a matter of time.
The path to victory is entirely up to you. Search for weapons and items. Hide in a bathroom. Charge headfirst into the fray. You start with nothing, but with ingenuity, quick reflexes, and a bit of luck, even new players can stumble into a coveted Victory Royale.
And you don’t just battle on this island; you build. Wielding a pickaxe, deconstruct elements of Fortnite’s world—trees, cars, houses, and more—and use the scavenged materials to build structures. Need to reach a rooftop? Build a staircase. Surrounded by enemies? Wall yourself in. Fortnite’s most successful players are master builders.
If Fortnite’s building is its strength, its deep customization is its superpower. Winning a match is cool, but scoring amazing costumes and hilarious dances is even better. Play enough matches and you might see a panda, a luchador, and a creepy clown throwing down in an impromptu dance-off.
Initially, it’s pretty intimidating. Where should you go? What weapons perform best in which circumstances? And how in the world do people build stuff so quickly?
They practise—that’s how. And you can too, by playing battle-royale matches or hopping into the much more relaxed Creative mode. Use a wealth of playful structures and components to craft without fear of reprisal, then invite friends to hang out on your own private Fortnite island.
Each Fortnite match is a self-contained drama, packed with surprising twists and turns. For all of the game’s popularity, its biggest contribution is its unwavering focus on fun. So don’t be intimidated. Slip on your silliest outfit, hop on the Battle Bus, and jump in.