As parents of 10- and 12-year-old boys, we entered a strange transition room. Our kids don’t cling to my wife and me as they did when they were little boys. And that’s awesome! It is important that they learn to be independent and navigate the world independently, even if they only see a tiny part of it. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t miss her enthusiastic appreciation for dad.
After Fortnite’s Black Hole event, I felt the need to revisit the Battle Royale ring. I was playing around a bit, but for some reason it didn’t really click on me. My children, especially my youngest, did not share this opinion. He has been a die-hard player for a long time, systematically going through his checklists of challenges and completing the Battle Pass every season. Sometimes I watch him play, although it is clear that my floating presence is not always appreciated. That’s why I was so surprised that not only did he grunt me more than I said I would play again, but he ran to his PS4 and sent me an invitation to a party. And we went away.
In the past few months we have played duos several times a week. I have improved my basics, not least thanks to my child who has become a mentor. It was a really fun and interesting change from our usual dynamic, which is surely one of the reasons why he enjoyed it too. He has mastered something I still have no idea about. I don’t think there is any other aspect of our relationship where this is true. We come closest to this in the past when he led us through his classroom at parent-teacher conferences. However, once you see where the desk is, there’s not much left to say.
My favorite part of this experience was getting a different picture of who he is and what kind of person he could become. He likes to set the tone whether it’s a drop, what challenges we’re going to take (and in what order), and whether we’re going to attack an enemy who is still a tiny point on the horizon. If someone fires a sniper on my head, they can immediately build a multi-level base with sniper holes. Meanwhile, I slowly sway around trying to find out exactly where the enemy is. He may not be interested in sharing the details of his school day, but he has no problem breaking down my exact mistakes – as best he can. (I learn that unfortunately he and I have limited patience.)
It has also inspired many entertaining conversations. After the recent Star Wars event, which introduced lightsabers into the arsenal, we argued over how unbalanced the weapons are. A weapon that blocks incoming fire, destroys buildings in a split second and lets you perform acrobatic maneuvers? Get out! They are also underwhelmed and broken when we use them, which has sparked some discussions about sportiness. Fortnite’s monetization has also sparked some discussion of predatory microtransactions ($ 20 for a skin? Get out of here.) And why, no, you can’t get V-Bucks right now, although this emote is indeed super cute ,
Fortnite gets a lot of flak from a lot of true gamers, and I understand. The cartoonistic representation is not for everyone. She created the careers of many polarizing streamers and inspired this song. I don’t always enjoy playing Fortnite. I still can’t take care of the building. But as long as my son sends me invitations, I will continue to press “Accept”.