If you have teenage boys (or, apparently, are the wife or mom of an NBA player), you’ve heard of Fortnite, the multi-player, shooter video game that went temporarily offline this week, sending the youth of America into a tailspin.
At one point last month, more than 3.4 million fans were playing simultaneously.
Now, I know my boys would be appalled by this comparison, but from a conflicted parental perspective, it reminds me of Pokemon Go.
Remember that fad? Kids carrying cellphones and iPads and even laptops roaming the streets, trails, and playgrounds with their friends, catching imaginary Pokemons? Rumors of grown-ups falling off of cliffs because they were so absorbed in their search?
“Well, at least they’re getting exercise.”
“I’m just glad they’re outside.”
Now, comes Fortnite. A shooting game. An enticement to disappear into the dark, cold basement on a beautiful, sunny day. And what are we, as parents, saying?
“The thing is, it lets him spend more time with his friends.”
“They’re all inside the game talking to each other for hours. And I can hear everything they say.”
“…and they’re learning to think strategically.”
“I want to say it’s bad, but…” said one Dad, “It’s really fun.”
Parents, I’m afraid those masterminds at Epic Games have figured out how to beat us at… well… our own game.