When Darlene Graham of West Babylon posted on her Facebook page “I have lost my boys to Fortnite!!!” she was met with a chorus of “Same!” “OMG I’m not the only one!” and “Me, Too!” from fellow moms.
Fortnite: Battle Royale is — what else? — a video game that has caught on among tweens and teens across Long Island. On this week’s school snow day, Graham, a family music performer, says one of her sons, Christopher, 13, was playing it on a Play Station while the other, Nolan, 10, was battling simultaneously on an Xbox, which spurred her to post her Facebook blues.
“At first I didn’t know what it was. My friends were telling me to play it. It’s kind of addicting,” Nolan Graham says.
Jennifer McGraw of Northport, who owns a marketing company, says her eighth-grade son, Cade, 14, and his friends are playing Fortnite “every spare moment they have available. Friday or Saturday night they are all home connecting on the Xbox.”
“You get to laugh and talk with your friends while having fun playing Xbox,” Cade explains.
Alexa Mugavero, 10, of North Massapequa, says she plays every day. One of her favorite parts of the game: “Winning,” she says.
Competitors engage in games that can last up to 20 minutes each, playing in groups of 100 random players. They can play as individuals or choose to play as a two- or four-person squad with friends who they can talk to through their headsets.
Like many other video games, Fortnite involves a fight to the death, this time in a colorful, cartoonish setting. “It’s tame as far as that goes,” says Oscar Cruz of West Babylon, a security analyst for a hospital who has played the game and whose son, Julian, 9, also plays. “It’s not a bloody game; it’s not a gory game.” Characters are running through terrain, hiding, and trying to be the last player or team standing.
The game is popular in part because Epic Games launched the free version in September 2017 and because it can be played on PCs in addition to gaming platforms. Cruz’s wife, a teacher, says she thinks the game is hot right now because the kids go through phases. “They went through Minecraft,” she says. “This is just the next thing.”