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If you’re a thirty-something man-child like me, you’ve likely seen the Instagram videos of bros playing a non-descript game, winning a match, and going absolutely, lottery-winner insane: screaming, breaking furniture, cracking/spraying beers. “SENT IT!” and “Fuck YEAH!” and “Holy SHIIIIIIT!” all over the place, and one winner basking in pure, unadulterated glory.
Likewise, you may have seen a handful of pathetic defeats and friendships visibly crumbling on-screen as hopes are dashed like a dingy against a cliffside. For the non-gamer, it may seem ridiculous, but I can attest that there is a game that regularly has my adrenaline pumping to the point of nausea:
That game is Fortnite.
Quick summary: it’s a free-to-play, third-person, cartoon-style shooter with a few different modes. Zombie mode pits you (and optional friends) against hordes of zombies – survive as long as you can. Simple. Next, Battle Royale is broken into Duos (you and a friend), squads (up to 4 playing together), but nothing will get your butthole flexed like Solo Battle Royale. A playful hot-air balloon school bus lets you jump onto a massive island full of guns, and a storm (which will kill you) forces you closer until you can’t avoid other players – kill or be killed, until only one is left. Alpha dogs only need apply.
It requires sneaking, hiding, praying, running, panicking, sweating, deep breathing, more hiding, and (probably most important) listening. I’ve spent hours hiding in random bushes, listening and waiting for careless players to run by so I can discretely take them out and steal their goods. Every horror movie ever made couldn’t hold a candle to exploring the Flushing Factory or Retail Row and hearing just-barely-audible footsteps nearby. It’s just Underwear Filling Fear.
I’m probably around 50 matches or so into my career, with highs and lows. I average around the top 10 *breathes on fingernails, shines them on shirt*, and I’m can fully admit that I’m a camping piece of shit. Last night, however, rocked my world:
A pretty typical match where I found some meh weapons and maybe killed one or two people, and I found myself (basically, by chance) in the final 6-7 in a relatively open area, hidden (like usual) in a bush as the storm closed in to roughly a city block. Silently waiting and watching as better players eliminated each other (and subsequently gave away their positions), by some miracle I ended up in the final 2, against someone who had built a MASSIVE tower (sidenote: you can build stuff with materials you find, too. I’m way too slow for that – hence, the bush hiding). The storm closed in, and I ended up directly under him and his tower. After a couple minutes, the storm closed to around TEN FEET in diameter, with my enemy DIRECTLY above me, trapped. I started unloading everything I had, knowing that if I could get him to fall from his tower, he’d likely die from the fall without being coordinated enough to shoot me on the way. He frantically built – faster, higher, jumping as I shot out the floor under him. Finally, the storm CLOSED COMPLETELY, and we were stuck with both of our hit points dropping… dropping… and then…
“#1 Victory Royale”…
And I lost my mind.
I ran upstairs to tell my (completely uninterested) wife, and picked up our 85-pound Bernese “puppy” (Bailey – an objectively good name as per Will). Dancing around the living room like a complete maniac, scaring Bailey, I recounted my glorious victory as every hormone and neurotransmitter was released simultaneously. I texted my brother (big-time gamer) and excitedly typed out the entire pissed-off-girlfriend-length text and received a thumbs-up emoji in response. It was stupendous.
Fully realizing that I basically won due to sheer luck, and in no way a result of skill, cunning, or intelligence, my emotions came back to earth, and now I’m back to the grind of getting a more-dominant win.
Chasing the Dragon.
Hiding like a Total Wimp.
Feeling Alive. Good luck out there..
Image via YouTube