The almost Groundhog Day style sequence of lockdown life has been tough on people, really tough, and we’ve all needed a sense of escapism during it. Thankfully, my gaming habit was there when I needed it the most. Having dipped in and out of favour with Xbox’s, PlayStation’s and a Switch my bum-shaped mark has been re-established on the sofa in my man cave. I’m back, and it’s because of Fortnite.
I played a lot of Fortnite in 2021. I mean a lot. 436 hours to be precise. That’s 26,160 minutes, 18 days or over two and a half weeks to put it another way. Whichever way you look at it, that’s a lot of time spent playing one game in 12 calendar months. That equates to around an hour and twenty minutes a day, which isn’t bad for someone who has worked throughout the entirety of this Covid-endured lockdown.
When Fortnite first landed back in 2017 I along with many scoffed, declaring it as nothing more than a child’s game. Furthermore, I was never taken by this whole battle royale and last-man-standing format. I’m a single player gamer at heart and the idea of playing with randomers (or worse, “Noobs”) isn’t for me.
So how, then, did this once-dismissed kids game find itself encapsulating me, almost to the levels of being called an addiction? Simple; the people I played it with. Granted, it took me some time to warm to the idea of playing Fortnite with my nephew but once the door was slightly ajar, the floodgates soon opened.
Before long we had quite literally assembled a family sized squad, often exceeding the four player squad count. Our nephews were playing together, me and Ana (my wife) would play duos after work together, and our family & friends would join forces too. It’s this bond which we have forged that has driven my 436 hour long addiction.
You see, Fortnite has been a catalyst. The glue if you will, which has kept us connected and our mental well-being intact. Of course if it wasn’t a solid game it’s unlikely we’d have stuck it out this long. But its accessibility and light-hearted nature has allowed us all to come together and socialise, bond and relax during some challenging times.
Has this changed since the world partially opened back up? Nope. Whilst phone calls, video chats and Zoom quizzes all became stale and even more awkward, jumping online with pals just feels right. It feels natural. Almost like you’re together in the same room.
I’m sure I’m not alone in finding solace and comfort in a video game in recent times, but I don’t think you’ll find many games that can offer an experience like Fortnite has to me. It’s free to play, available across all consoles and relatively easy to grasp (except for building in double quick time). Its accessibility and availability have been huge.
Not only has Fortnite brought me closer to my family and friends, it rekindled my passion for gaming. Without that, I’m not sure how my mental health would’ve held up during 2021. So here’s to Fortnite, and many more happy hours spent together. Oh, and hopefully a no-building mode…