Are you a gamer? I know and love many gamers, but I am not one. I don’t play, watch videos about play, or appreciate verbal replay. And I admit to a special weariness toward Fortnite, which is why it’s so ironic that God recently used a reference to the game to minister directly and emphatically to my heart. If you missed that story, you can read it here: God Used Fortnite. In that post, I promised to provide more background to explain why I felt loved by His gesture, so here I am to be forthright about Fortnite. My main gripes are simple.
It is a long game with no pause button.
Everybody in my house, except me, plays Fortnite. Oftentimes, they all collaborate, on different devices, as a team together. (Ok, in full disclosure, I have a daughter who doesn’t play, but she didn’t live in my house at the height of my family’s Fortnite craze.) This game can take a long time and there is no pause button. So, what happens when dinner is ready? I have the choice to eat a lonely hot meal or to wait for my loved ones to join me for a cool and crusty one when they can finally break away.
It is a game where sounds are clues.
Because Fortnite requires an awareness of one’s surroundings, a player needs to be able to hear what is happening. Noises like phones, timers, and my voice can be distracting, so my gamers wear noise-cancelling headsets. These allow them to hear every little cyber sound, but no real-world racket. I have perfected the skill of touching someone to get their attention; but even then, I can only expect half an ear uncovered. (Admittedly, there are some perks to this one. If done right, a wispy brush across the back of their necks, when they had no idea I was approaching, can make them convulse in some very entertaining ways!)
It is a game of high emotion.
The headsets worn by the gamers in my family have microphones attached so they can dialog as they play together. When emotions run high, and they need to be heard above the cacophony in their ears, I am treated to a hoopin’ and hollerin’ like nobody’s business, and sometimes from all corners of our home at once! I have actually contemplated getting my own noise cancelling headphones or building myself a separate wing of the house. I jest. Or do I?
It is an addicting game.
We went on vacation soon after my family started playing Fortnite. We rented a nice house near the beach and we had more activities to enjoy than we had time to embrace them. But not a day went by when I didn’t hear someone lament that they weren’t home playing Fortnite. Seriously? Hmmm… they might just get their wish next time!
I joke a bit. A tiny bit. I haven’t exaggerated much. But truthfully, the gaming in my household is not as extensive as it was six months ago and certainly not as intense as a year ago. I like the direction this trend is going because it is a lonesome thing to be the only non-gamer in a Fortnite Family. It is hard not to be bitter about the time and money being spent to play. It is a bummer to be the odd woman out and to feel like the sole resonator of reason.
That is why, when God used a Fortnite reference as a means by which to minister something special to my heart, it felt like salve on a wound. I felt seen in my loneliness and challenged in my frustration and, in a way, made whole on the sore subject of Fortnite.
I’ve been asked why, if my family all plays, don’t I learn to like it too? My answer is always that if I also played, nobody would cook or clean or keep everybody alive. I don’t know if that is entirely true, but it has certainly felt that way at times. Also, I don’t relish the idea of wasting hours on end. I recognize that we all have our vices, and it’s easy to call out the ones that aren’t ours. That could explain why it is natural for me to be jaded and sarcastic and forthright about Fortnite.
Can you relate to my Fortnite experience at all? Is there a hobby you have which tends to be enjoyed at the expense of time with your loved ones? What makes you feel left out in a crowd? Has God been ministering to your heart about any of these things?