If you consistently check Snapchat stories, you might have noticed something peculiar over the past few months: A cartoon-ish character holding an assault rifle with “#1 Victory Royale!” in large letters dominating the screen.
What you see is Fortnite: Battle Royale, the massively popular 100-person, player-versus-player video game developed by Epic Games.
Released in July 2017, the game spread all over consoles just months after release. Epic Games reported on Feb. 8 that Fortnite had peaked with 3.4 million concurrent players and a player total of 45 million across PC, Xbox and PlayStation.
The premise is simple: a bus flies players over an island. The players drop on command, and the last one standing wins. Players can scavenge for weapons, shields and building materials to better equip themselves for combat. All the while, an ominous blue thunderstorm encircles the players, shrinking the battlefield and forcing confrontations.
It’s a thrilling experience, and one that truly has to be experienced to be understood. Only one out of every 100 players wins each game, making victory an extremely satisfying experience and defeats heartbreaking.
Being the last man standing takes more than video game skills. It requires decisiveness, intelligence, courage and calm nerves. When the game is down to you and one other player, you have low health and no shield with only 20 rounds left in a common pistol, you have no idea where the enemy is and your shoulders are tensing up and your hands are twitching, the pressure is on because GOD FORBID you’re the only one of your friends without a solo victory. Only the strong will survive. Fortnite is no mere game—it is a test of character.
A virtual simulation of your personal merits, the game’s applicability in the real world is undeniable. Taking a quiz you absolutely did not study for and most certainly will bomb? Think back to when you clutched the win in Tilted Towers with only a pickaxe and a boogie bomb. You’ve conquered more important matters than a meaningless quiz. You can handle anything.
The successes in this cyberspace crucible should not be confined solely to Snapchat stories and group-text bragging rights. Fortnite wins mean something, and they should be rewarded accordingly. A system that grants academic credit for each win would encourage students to train for success in Fortnite, and consequently, success in life. A school that values Fortnite wins is a school that values creative problem-solving and individual enrichment. The skills necessary for Fortnite success are foundational to a liberal arts education, which makes Augustana the ideal institution for granting credit in exchange for a “victory royale.”
You could play Call of Duty and aimlessly waste your time. Or you could play Fortnite. And educate yourself.