A crash course of "Fortnite" for Moms.

If you are anything like me, you probably don't like videogames, or maybe you experienced some of the following: Mario Bros, Tetris, or back on the Arcades golden times, Pac-Man and Wonderboy. I am not saying women don't like videogames, I am just saying... I -myself- was never too much into them. 

Well, Video games are a billion-dollar business now and have been for many years. Does that mean that it has more value to me?...no, they still bore me to death, but something has changed now...I have two kids, and guess what, they love videogames. Hence here we are, me writing and you reading about a game called "Fortnite"

This will try to be a crash course from the point of view of a mom in their 40's. It will not be completely thorough, because first I don't want it to be and second, I still don't care much about videogames. But it will be a description on what your kids are getting into. The good and the bad.

Before, I mean in my time. You would have to buy a console, it could have been a Nintendo, or Sega, then you would have to buy the game. Super Mario Bros kind of games would normally start in point A, the objective was to render yourself to point B trying to avoid death. You had a few lives and you could even play with another person on the same TV. 

Well videogames have come a long way since then. 

To start, this game is what you would call a Sandbox game...interesting concept, but what does it mean? Exactly what you are thinking, imagine a Sandbox, as in the parks, where your toddler is allowed to play only in the compounds where sand is, and is not allowed to come out of it, well that is it...Fortnite throw the player  into a an Island (sandbox). 100 players at a time. So there is no going from point A to point B to rescue the princess...now they give you a whole island to explore and survive until you are the last one standing.

How do you survive? Well as soon as you land -because you are thrown out of an air school bus- you need to start finding weapons. The objective is to find other players before they find you and kill them. This might sound a little bit too much...but it is not that bad. First, there is absolutely no blood, cries for mercy, or signs of pain and injury. Second, the graphics are on the cartoon-looking side, with bright colors, the players can do funny stuff and movements. If you loose, they will send you back to the Lobby of the game where you can decide to play again or do other stuff.

But what make this game a success is that first...it is free. Yes, you can play for free, you can play months and years and never have to pay a dime. Second, you can play it online with friends. And third, this game is what is known to be a cross-platform game. This means that your kid might have a Nintendo Switch, and his cousin a Playstation 5, and his other friend in a different country can play it directly from a PC. There are no brand limitation, which makes it universal. There were 350 million players last year.

So let's recapitulate so far:

1) Free Game

2) SandBox

3) CrossPlatform

4) Online

So, you might be asking yourself...if it is a free game...how can they make money of it... well...don't worry about them they are just fine...they make in the billions. But how come? 

They have a virtual currency called V-Bucks. Approximately 100 V-Bucks is 1 U$D. There is an online store in the game itself where you can buy different things, like costumes (they call them Skins), color for the weapons, funny movements (they call them Emotes), etc...However it is not a pay to win style of game, this means that you still have to be good at the game to win, all this things that you can buy are just cosmetics. Can my kids accidentally buy things...not really, unless your kids have access to your credit card or PayPal account they cannot. How can I buy the Fortnite money to buy all those things? Well, you would have to input your credit card information there...not going to get into too much details, you can google it. Otherwise you can buy in a video game store Fortnite's Gift Cards, yes, they work like any other store or restaurant that have them.

What are the good things about this game?

1- My kids play with their friends online, sometimes they speak other languages. In my particular case, they speak French and Spanish, and more often than not I hear my kid communicating in English with his new friends. 

2- Even though you can play solo, your kid will probably team up with his friends, up to 4 at the same time. And you should listen to their conversations, about tactics, where to go, how to advance, work as a team, save one of their team members who got pinned, etc. There is learning there I can assure you that.

3- Family communication. My kids will play Fortnite with their cousins in a different country. Allow me to share a personal thing, when we had to move out of Costa Rica because of Covid-19, my husband stayed behind to take care of our hostel, we were separated for 6 months, which broke the heart of my kids, specially my 6 years old son. My husband decided to learn Fortnite so he could play an hour with my son everyday, 5000 kms (3000miles approx) the son in Canada the father in Costa Rica. Fortnite helped them stayed connected. 

What are the bad things about this game?

1- Screen time. This is not inherently to this game but to all electronics, phones, tablets, etc.

2- Older kids or even adults. Like everything online...your kid is expose to anyone in the www (world wide web). You should take precautions like you would do with any other device expose to the web. 

3- Balance, again is not inherent with this game...just videogames in general, there should be a balance between screen and playing outside.

Well, I hope you liked my crash course of Fortnite for Moms (or even dads if they happen to be checking this page). I am writing this because I would've loved for somebody to explained this to me when my kids got into Fortnite.

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