There was an idea…
To bring together a group of remarkable people…
And then kill them all to prove your total gaming Leetness.
Actually, the original idea was to get together with others and build a zombie trap, but no one remembers that now that Fortnite’s battle royale format has become the athlete’s foot of the gaming world – a persistent, highly contagious itch that spreads through contact and is particularly prevalent in high school locker rooms.
Fortnite has accomplished the impossible – it has replaced Minecraft as the #1 way that children bore the pants off adults and parents alike via long descriptions of gameplay. Pro tip for anyone who loves to describe their Fortnite wins to their friends. Please, for the love of God, shut up.
On the boredom scale, listening to stories about other people’s video game triumphs is roughly on par with listening to them describe last night’s dream. The only reason anyone ever listens is that they’re waiting for their turn to bore you with their own game story –which you’re now ethically obligated to listen to and pretend to be interested. (For real.)
You can do it! Stop the cycle of tedium. It only takes one person to make a difference!
Anyways, not content with conquering the battle royale format and spawning the inevitable imitators that will likely drag down creativity and be jammed into triple-A games for years to come, Fortnite is trying to achieve total domination of the pop culture landscape, the likes of which have not been seen since the Great Will Smith Convergence of 2008.
What have they done? Only join forces with the evilest presence in the galaxy. No, I’m not talking about oatmeal raisin cookies masquerading as chocolate chip cookies. But something nearly as sinister … Thanos.
For one week, Fortnite maps will include a hidden infinity gauntlet. And the lucky person who finds it will gain Thanos-like powers. Presumably, this means that they’ll be able to balance the map and possibly eradicate half of their opponents with a snap of their fingers … actually, it just makes you jump really high and punch hard. Though I wouldn’t rule out the possibility that it will make you prone to monologuing and give you a fetish for leather and chrome jerkins, like some kind of futuristic space musketeer.
Maybe we should bow our heads in a moment of silence for PUB-G and Radical Heights, now struggling with the sad knowledge that they have become the Mr. Pibb and Dr. Thunder to Fortnite’s Dr. Pepper. I mean, why go through the challenge of winning a standard battle royale game when you can devote your time to locating a game-breaking commercial tie-in?
Speaking of, am I the only one who misses the days when a slick commercial tie-in meant getting a collectible glass from McDonald’s? And why was it that the drive-in lady would never give you the glass without filling it with soda first, even if you begged her and told her you’d be willing to pay for the soda if she would just refrain from putting it in the collectible glass? So then, you had to dump it out in the parking lot and drive around with a dirty collectible glass slowly forming a thick layer of cola sludge – the world’s most indestructible substance, a combination of mithril, adamantium, and the LaBrea tar pits.
Anyways, if introducing game breaking tie-ins for the sake of publicity is the way of the future, I want to jump on the bandwagon right now – so that I can become one of those grumpy old men who annoy people at family reunions by saying things like, “You know, I was the first person to think of adding lightsabers to Call of Duty, but those damned lawyers made sure I never saw a dime. Now go get grandpa another glass of bourbon. And don’t drown it.”
Why do I keep saying that this is game breaking? Because if it really gives you the abilities of Thanos, than the gauntlet would make you the most powerful person in the game, able to eliminate the competition easily (which – let’s be honest – tends to undermine the point of the game). That’s gotta be annoying for the people who play for the challenge of the traditional format, and suddenly find that skill is not nearly as important as luck. In which case, what’s the point?
Anyways, it’s only for a short time, so this is less about the mechanic and more about the publicity and exposure. So if we’re going to start dragging pop culture into games for pure exposure by hiding super-powerful objects in the game, let me make some suggestions.
So in Overwatch, how about infecting a few random players each match with a xenomorph? There you are, ready to take the point, then … BAM! … Chestbuster. If they could figure out how to make this happen to the guy who constantly complains that someone else won’t switch to a healer so he can stay on Genji, I think the whole player base would get on board.
And how about making a few of the cars in Grand Theft Auto’s online mode into Transformers? You could jump in a truck, take off, and all of a sudden, you’re piloting Optimus Prime. What’s more, this is Michael Bay’s Optimus Prime, so everyone playing with you is suddenly overwhelmed and confused and can’t figure out what the hell is happening. And all the while, there are these constant high-base “bongs” going on.
And while we’re at it, let’s throw a bone to PUB-G, which is doubtless smarting over this announcement. They are literally … or is it figuratively? … no, it’s probably literally committing ritual seppuku. I know they might be tempted to add batarangs or kryptonite or something from the DC universe, but that’s exactly what the RC Cola of battle royale games would do. Don’t slap the video game equivalent of a CGI upper lip onto your game, PUB-G. Go with something no one’s expecting. In every game, hidden somewhere on the map, a lucky player will be able to find … the precious … the One Ring. And with it, he can cover all the land with darkness and evil. Unless he’s really short, in which case, I guess he just disappears and ends up looking like some kind of frog monkey.
Ultimate power really is a bitch, isn’t it?
In case it isn’t clear, I admire – and damn it, respect – Fortnite for making the gaming world bend the knee. And I’m interested to see how this works out for them. But make no mistake. This isn’t about gaming. This is about beating the hell out of your competition. Whether that’s good for gamers remains to be seen.
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