Canadians are passionate about their Google searches! Consequently, it may not surprise you to learn that after Kristen Valnicek, a young Fortnite Gamer donated $164,000 in winnings to the Kelowna SPCA, well, needless to say, we all asked the “GOOG” to explain Fortnite and online gaming.
For those of us accustomed to watching the Stanley Cup playoffs, Master’s Golf, Grey Cups, Superbowl and Wimbledon, it may seem surreal that Kirstin’s winnings came from a third place finish at the Fortnite Pro Am Charity Tournament in Los Angeles. Yes, you read that correctly, an online gamer’s Fortnite Tournament played before a packed arena of diehard fans.
What is Fortnite, you ask? Part of the battle royal genre, Fortnite is an online battle where 100 players leap down onto a tiny island and fight each other until there is one sole survivor. Originally released in 2017, this free survival game is played and watched by millions of gaming enthusiasts worldwide. Bright graphics, the ability to team up with a group of friends, and the weekly introduction of new features and play modes keeps fans coming back. Adding to the likeability of the game, the manufacturer has ensured the program works across platforms, meaning you can play on your iPad, an Android phone or an Xbox.
Should you be concerned with your child’s fascination, bordering addiction to Fortnite? Absolutely! Too much screen time is simply too much screen time. However, in the era of graphic online violence and cyberbullying, there are definitely benefits associated with playing Fortnite. The game requires interactivity and engagement. Success depends on a player’s ability to collaborate, problem solve and work as a member of a team, and if players resembling Kirsten are emerging as role models, perhaps all is not lost. In the spirit of Christmas, we propose, Kirsten articulated it best, “Obviously I had to give back to the place I grew up.” – Obviously! Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.