Fortnite Fad Grips Middle School, Gamers Worldwide


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Fortnite is the latest game to capture the imagination of students across the globe.

Silly bands, cargo pants, and fidget spinners. They all have one thing in common, they’re fads. The next worldwide fad that’s intriguing young kids right now: Fortnite. According to, almost 150 million people worldwide play or have downloaded the free game. Available on consoles and computers, Fortnite has two modes: “Battle Royale” and “Save the World.”  It is basically like the Hunger Games in video game form. Either playing solo, duo, or online with a squad of up to four people, the main goal is to be the last person alive. It has been a sensation with both middle school boys and girls here at TBS.  “Everyone’s been playing, it’s insane,” said eighth grader Vincie Marotta. “It’s all people talk about. ”

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The “Battle Royale” game mode pits every user against one another in a game of survival.

The more popular mode, Battle Royale, is a simple and easy concept – be the last player left alive and you win. It starts off with 100 players (other online users) on a flying bus called the “battle bus.” Then, you have to skydive off the bus onto an island. Once you land, you must scavenge for weapons and potions for safety. In order to hunt other players and be the last person in the game, you have to stay alive. Building forts out of wood from trees and collecting ammo are necessary means of survival. The catch of the game is the storm: some players will hide until their avatar is the only one left, but the storm fixes this issue. Every two to three minutes, a random circle appears over the island, forcing the players to move inside. If you unfortunately remain in the storm, you start to lose health and eventually die.

This third-person shooter created by Epic Games (publisher of more than 50 other games, including Gears of War and Unreal Tournament) is still tweaking Fortnite and adding new things monthly, such as new weapons and game modes. To gain popularity, Epic made a free version of the game, and a lot of Benjamin students were sucked into this craze.

“I woke up at like 10:00 a.m. and played until 5:00 p.m [on the weekend],” said eighth grader Logan Sorensen. “It was raining, so I just played all day. I didn’t even get up to go the bathroom,” he said.

Some people may find this addictive and obsessive behavior ludicrous, but playing video games for extended amounts of time can pay off. Using a streaming network called Twitch, some players stream themselves playing the game. If enough people watch, gamers can gain sponsors who advertise their products on the stream. Watching the streams are free, but a basic subscription which includes perks is $4.99 monthly, with half of that money going to Twitch and the other half to the streamer. As a result, serious gamers can make some serious money. Tyler “Ninja” Blevins, a 26-year-old who lives in the suburbs of Chicago, streams every day and makes more than $500,000 a month according to

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Tyler “Ninja” Blevins has turned his video game skills into millions of dollars.

Blevins, who has been streaming on Twitch since 2009, has over four million subscribers on Twitch and five million on YouTube. He has gained popularity by breaking streaming records and playing with celebrities like rappers Drake and Travis Scott.

Middle schoolers aren’t looking to become millionaires from the game, though (not yet, anyway). They just like it because it’s fun and addictive. But at what price? Some students play the game so much that their grades have started to slip.

“I studied before the game came out,” said eighth grader Ben Taylor, “but when I started playing in January, I slowly started to study less. The game is addicting.”

It’s also become apparent to some teachers that students are playing Fortnite while at school during the day.

“I know students are playing in class, but I cannot catch them,” said eighth-grade history teacher Mrs. Anne Franzen.

Other students realize that with finals approaching and the end of the year in sight, they need to stay motivated to finish the school year well.

“I’d say I manage my time wisely by doing my homework right when I get home from school, then I play Fortnite,” said eighth grader Ignas Berciunas.

There’s also the parental factor.

“I have to finish all my homework and hope my mom’s in a good mood,” said seventh grader Jonathan Skatoff. “Otherwise, I can only play on weekends.”