Fortnite: Dissecting the Popularity of the Video Game Phenomenon

For the past eight or nine months I, along with many others, have been addicted to Fortnite Battle Royale. Fortnite is a video game made by Epic Games and has two game modes: Save the World and Battle Royale. It’s been one year since the Battle Royale mode released, and since then, Fortnite’s popularity has skyrocketed exponentially.

Battle Royale is a PvP game mode where 100 players drop onto a map, and the goal is to be the last one alive. As time ticks on, a “safe zone” periodically shrinks the map, forcing players together to keep the games within a reasonable time limit. The Battle Royale game type is not a new concept in video games, but Epic Games introduced two things into Fortnite that set it apart: building and character skins.

The Appeal of Fortnite’s Building Mechanic

Building adds a completely different element into the game, allowing players to gain elevation, reach various locations, protect themselves, or in some cases, troll your teammates.

There are four default shapes you can build: a wall, a floor, a ramp, and a roof/pyramid. To build, you first need to gather materials by hitting trees, bushes, buildings, cars, or almost any other object in the game. The materials you get are either wood, brick, or steel. Steel is the strongest material to provide protection, followed by brick, then wood, which is the weakest material.

Now, that may sound simple, but being able to build quickly and efficiently separates the good players from the great players. No other Battle Royale game has building or approaches building in quite the same, satisfying way as Fortnite, and that’s one of the reasons why Fortnite has been able to grow so exponentially compared to its competitors that hit the market months—if not years—earlier.

Fortnite Screenshot
When you need to get up high in Fortnite, just build your way there!

The Mass Amount of Character Skins and Customization

Character skins are not new to video games whatsoever, but Fortnite is the only Battle Royale that really employs them, at least for revenue purposes. By itself, the Battle Royale mode is free-to-play. However, Epic introduced a “Battle Pass” you can purchase that allows you to rank up through challenges and experience to unlock character skins and emotes.

Along with the Battle Pass, players can purchase separate skins and emotes from the “item shop,” where Epic makes the majority of their revenue. Through the six seasons of Fortnite, Epic has released thousands of skins and emotes that allow players to customize how they look in-game and interact with teammates and enemies alike.

This model of a free-to-play game with in-game purchases has become extremely popular over the years in video games, and Epic has really leveraged Fortnite’s popularity for profit, which is then partly used to improve and create more content for the game.

The Items That Distinguish Fortnite From Other Battle Royales

What makes Fortnite so great is how creative you can get with your gameplay. There are various “quirky” items you can employ in Fortnite to defeat your opponents. Some of my favorites include:

  • Impulse Grenade: This item is used to propel you or your enemies through the air. You can manipulate it to quickly advance on your opponents or launch them from a height that will “knock” them.
  • Spike Trap: This trap can be placed on pre-made or built-by-you walls and roofs. They deal damage to an opponent when they come within proximity.
  • Grappler Gun: This gun shoots a plunger that attaches to structures or objects and pulls you toward them. You can use it to gain height, surprise an opponent, or make a quick getaway.
  • Bounce Pads: These pads can be placed on pre-made or built-by-you walls, roofs, or ramps that can propel you in a direction, allowing you to land safely no matter the height from which you fall.

There are countless items in the game, such as shopping carts, golf carts, or rifts that allow you to move around the map quicker, either to get to the safe zone, gain strategic positioning on an opponent, or make a quick getaway. These items add variety and ensure every game you drop into is unique.

Fortnite Screenshot 1
Fortnite is packed with all sorts of crazy cool items, and there’s plenty to keep you on your toes.

Why I Keep Coming Back to It

We all play video games to have fun, and I haven’t had this much fun playing a video game in a long time. Playing video games with friends has always been the greatest draw for me, and Fortnite allows you to play with all your friends, whether they’re on PC, Xbox One, PS4, Nintendo Switch, or mobile phones. It’s the only game to allow cross-play between all these platforms, which is impressive!

While I may not be the best at the game—having only started playing PC shooters since I built my PC in January—I can’t stop playing Fortnite. With the arrival of season six, I can’t wait to see the new skins, emotes, and what changes Epic made to the map. The game is constantly updated and refreshed to make sure players enjoy the game as much as possible, and I don’t see any signs of slowing!

I currently stream Fortnite over on my Twitch channel:, so feel free to follow me there or swing by sometime to watch the fun! I also post updates about when I’m going live on Twitch over on my Twitter: @_ParzzzDo you have any opinions on the game? Share your story in the comments!

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