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This week, Fortnite momentarily came to an end, pushing the player base beyond tantrum. But, we shouldn’t marginalise it, as we’ve all experienced something similar.
As you read this, a strange spectral anomaly is occurring. Five hundred thousand children (and children of heart/mind) are silently gawping at a computerised hole.
Fortnite streamers are getting 100k viewers by staring at a blackhole for hours.
Holy shit did I invest in the wrong genre… pic.twitter.com/gnw7cmKg3M
— Disguised Toast (@DisguisedToast) October 14, 2019
This faux cosmic ballet has been rolling on for seven hours. Some made some memes, some went to school (or work), but others continued to watch the (false) skies in hope.
You see, that black hole swallowed a video game.
A special event to end the tenth season of Fortnite actually ended the game altogether, leaving nothing but a mostly dark screen with a spinning black hole, and no way for users to play. https://t.co/dwqw2IUT4q
— CNN (@CNN) October 14, 2019
As this is nothing more than a marketing ploy and the cash cow will invariably return to graze upon the verdant contents of our wallets, the tendency is to view today as hollow as twelvie-enabled nonsense. ‘Stupid game leaves, but doesn’t really – how stupid’ is a natural matrix to stumble into, but it also cheapens the complaint of those who uttered it.
As the average age of Fortnite player is under 18, the game represents a large pillar of their childhood; one that has bitterly turned to salt. It’d be akin to Counter-Strike deleting itself to my generation, or the man removing the ability to play until the street lights came on to my parents.
While it certainly meant little to us, it a lot to the bereaved. The world literally ended. Fortnite was a weird construct, as it aged the youth, granted them the gifts of credit card security codes, adult language and the bitter pang of nostalgia.
The latter is wonderfully kept in the thread underneath a YouTube clip playing a ten-hour version of the original theme song, with one user musing: “I wish there was a way to know you’re in the good old times before you’ve actually left them.”
Another, Blake Bergren, wrote a week before the bomb hit, wondering: “Who’s here right now in October 2019 crying because they are missing these old days of Fortnite with the boys back when Fortnite was fun?”
Blake’s cohort gathered to complain about the (slight) toggling of menu music. Now, there’s no menu, no nothing, all wiped off the map by a strike of a marketers pen.
— Fer (@FernaandoTV) October 14, 2019
The William Blake of this thread, a poet known as ‘Kreeperz’ loudly mused: “Remember the time when you (sic) camping in a bush? Remember the time when you were shot and killed by your own teammate? Remember the time when the game was simple? When you got your first win?”
I remember mine, and it was glorious. I was drunk. I was eating lentils. I was already dead.
What today represents is one of society’s most righteous concepts, the meaningless end. They replaced Mr Ng’s bakery with an apartment block. They changed the recipe of the two-minute noodle seasoning. They took the trams away. I put it to you, that to a certain crowd, it is no less as affecting as the Hendrix performance at Woodstock. I moment that defined something, one that was eye-witnessed by the misty-eyed. One watched by a generation, even if they weren’t there to see it.
While the 1960s counterculture jumped the shark with violence and consumerism, Fortnite did the same with in-game purchases and mech things. There’s a general sense of loss, because they believed, and believed it would be around forever.
It didn’t matter, but it did. As Hunter S. Thompson wrote of his end, “with the right kind of eyes, you can almost see the high-water mark—that place where the wave finally broke and rolled back.”
While it will probably return (Twitter says tomorrow), I fear it’ll be akin to the New Beetle. A consumerist cover of the original, one that irks those who experienced the OG; those who suddenly feel the need to tell everyone how good the old one was, and how you wouldn’t get it unless you were there to see it.
— Ryan (@BigBadSmackDad) October 14, 2019