Guest Post: Blake Schlaff on Fortnite Friendships

Guest Post: My 10-year-old son Blake is an avid Fortnite player who often plays with his friends. I thought it would be good for him (with my help) to tell everyone about the world of social gaming. 

Fortnite is not just a game about fighting. Yes, there is a lot of shooting, collecting guns, and exploring the world. The most exciting part isn’t about fighting it’s about spending time with friends online. Even though my parents only let me play Fortnite with people that I know, playing Fortnite with them is different, and in some ways better, than playing with them in the real world. Playing Fortnite is a lot like being in a virtual world together with my friends, like the Oasis in Ready Player One.

  • Hanging Out with My Friends: On Fortnite, I can play with some of my good friends at school. On weekends we can just play for hours together. I was even able to play with one of my friends when we were home from school with the flu. Because we were online we couldn’t infect each other! It makes me sad when some of my friends like a different game, because then they can’t play in our group. But it’s OK because most of my friends like Fortnite. I even let my dad play with us because I want him to see how cool it is.
  • Building New Friendships: There’s this one kid at school. He’s not a bad guy. We just have different groups of friends. When I’m having a really bad day he might say, “I hope you’re fine.” He’s not one of my good friends who would say, “Are you OK? What’s wrong?” So one day, we are playing online and all of these people are shooting at us. He says, “I have two guns, do you want the better one?” And then he gave me all of his ammo because I didn’t have any ammo. I thought that was really nice because otherwise, I’d be dead. I gave him some back because otherwise he’d be eliminated. After that, I realized he’s a really nice person. We just never had time to play together and get to know each other. Fortnite helped us become better friends in real life.
  • Giving Gifts: In Fortnite, you can give people gifts. In a lot of ways they are better than real-world gifts. You can send people a note like, “I hope you had a good time.” I don’t really write notes when I give real birthday presents. At least not ones that I mean something. The gifts show who you are. One of my friends gave me a “Meme” skin. “Meme” skins are funny skins that my favorite YouTubers use. It wasn’t the most expensive skin but I loved it. It’s so cool to get a gift in Fortnite because my friends know what I like much better than for real-world gifts. When I get gifts in the real world I feel like my friends moms’ buy the gifts. Also, I don’t have to find space for all these birthday gifts!  Gifts also work when they’re not birthday gifts. I realized that one of my good friends has like 130 friends on Fortnite and nobody had given him a gift. So I got him something. He was really happy. He said, “Thank you so much. Nobody has ever done that for me.”
  • Throwing a Party: I invited a few of my friends to show off their coolest costumes (called skins) and actions (called emotes). Emotes can be anything from a slow clap to dances like The Floss.  I had everyone show off their best moves and gave prizes to the people who had the best stuff. I was able to throw a “Fashion Show” the other week. I learned about it from my friend who saw it online. The way to win a Fashion Show is to have really cool stuff that you’ve collected over the years and also to know what I like. The winner of that fashion show was my friend who could breakdance, an emote he collected a couple of years ago. As a prize, I bought him a new skin. It was really cool to be able to host my own party of my 10-year-old friends and give out prizes without leaving my house. My dad couldn’t do that when he was my age.
There’s a lot of things that make Fortnite like the Oasis in Ready Player One. I can hang out with my friends, give gifts, and even throw a party. There’s still some fighting like the time I shot my brother in the head when he lost in the Fashion Show. I’m still looking to the Oasis though where I can run around the world with my legs, crouch, and feel things like in the real world.