Late To Fortnite, But Super Impressed

Thor Benander
Thor Benander is the Editor-in-Chief of The Antagonist and a father of four. He’s a lover of ancient history, Greek food, and sports. He loves to travel and thinks that if libraries were the center of American society, many things would improve overnight. You can hit him up at

I came to Fortnite very late.  Like a month ago.  That’s because I’m a Gen X gamer who has better things to do and better games to play.  That was my working philosophy, anyway.  Before I tried it, Fortnite to me was just a Battle-Royale style (meaning 100 players in a sandbox fighting until one wins) nightmare for imbeciles and nine-year-olds with quick twitch reflexes.  My own children had steered clear of it, mostly, until a few seasons ago when my son’s friend group got into it and it became the thing they were doing for a while.  I didn’t push back, and I was just happy to escape the endless and soul-destroying event of watching your child drop block after block in Minecraft.  That redundancy, the over and over straight-line building, (not to mention the repetitive sound), is my personal hell.

One of our family traditions is that kids get to pick to do whatever they want on their birthdays.  My son chose for all six of us in the fam (two parents, four kids) to play Fortnite, and despite my initial protests, we made characters using default skins and sallied forth in groups of four.  

For a while you just fight bots (computer players – not human, for the uninitiated) as you’re getting used to it and honing your game-specific reactions.  Then it’s on.  We finished my son’s birthday fighting for our lives and pulling off an upset victory, which they call a ‘Victory Royale.’  It was invigorating.  Every one of us played a key role in the win and unlike most of his previous birthdays where he’s prone to the terrible “birthday boy” syndrome, my son went to bed laughing and content.

The next day I hopped on with him to play a ‘duo,’ or two person team, and we won a couple more Victory Royale’s together.  My inherent gaming snobbery surfaced and I scoffed at continuing to use default skins…like a noob.  So I paid real, ‘Murican dollars to change my look.  The best value was to buy the Battle Pass for the season, and that’s what I did, for just under ten dollars.  Unfortunately, it came with daily and weekly quests, special missions and other fun distractions, including items that unlocked at various tiers up to level 200.  This is bad because I’m a completionist and enough of a surly old bastard that if I’m’a ginna pay fer a goddamned digital set of apparati, then by gawd I’m’a gonna git every onna them things thats a-comin’ to me.

This is the skin I use because her hitbox is tiny and she’s hard to see in snowy regions

The game, in short, is fucking awesome.  I never thought I’d say it but they have this shit down to a science.  In the old days I was a Quake player and really cut my teeth on Unreal Tournament.  In fact, while working at a software company in my 20’s, I challenged everyone in my department to a match in Unreal Tournament.  Me against twelve of them, first to 20 kills wins.  It ended 20-3 with an entire cube-farm of IT Workers yelling “NOOOOO” in unison. It still irritates all of them to this day.  So the format doesn’t bug me as much as knowing that as a Gen X’r, I’m absolutely not going to have the reaction time vs younger opponents.  And I’m still super quick – lightning quick for my generation, but a joke compared to a 17 year old.  

That’s where Fortnite really shines.  Knowing I can’t go toe to toe in the open against these little shits, I have to be cagier.  I learn the pros and cons of all the weapons.  Everyone drops onto the playing map from the air, and the weapons are randomly dispersed across the playing area, so you never really know what you’re going to get.  I made sure to learn them all, rate of fire, range, kick when firing, accuracy – you name it. 

But more so I realized that shooting isn’t the most important part of Fortnite.  Movement is.  You have to set yourself up for success in the shootouts by maxing out your position.  High ground, cover, escape routes if things go south, etc.  These days, if I’m not in the last 5-10 players out of a 100, something has gone very wrong.  

But Fortnite is clever because it’s not just one thing.  They bought out Rock Band, so that’s a whole additional part of the game.  They’ve also partnered with huge music stars to make avatars or skins of the celebrities and do live concerts on the platform.  The cross-promotional branding is stunning in a way that still feels wily and not a late-stage-capitalism corporate nightmare.  There’s also racing, which I never give a shit about, and Lego Fortnite, directly competing with Minecraft.  It’s kind of tremendous when you step back and absorb it.  The variety, the replayability and the ingrained level of micro-customization – which usually costs real money – is addictive.  The more I experienced, the more impressed I was with the game.

Fortnite is a monster, in terms of games.  

  • Fortnite has over 500 million registered players as of 2024.
  • It has around 221 million monthly active players.
  • Fortnite has generated a revenue of over $26 billion to date.
  • Over $6 billion worth of revenue came in 2022 alone.
  • Fortnite has 80.7k concurrent viewers and 10.1k concurrent streams on Twitch.
  • The United States has the most number of Fortnite players, accounting for 21.64% of the total player count.
  • Fortnite players spend around 6 to 10 hours weekly on the platform on average.
  • 62.7% of the Fortnite players are from the age group of 18 to 24.
  • Around 90% of Fortnite players are male.
  • 78% of Fortnite Players prefer to play the game on a console.
  • Fortnite remains one of the top 5 games on Twitch in terms of viewership rates as of March 2024.
  • Fortnite has one of the biggest servers on Discord in the gaming community, with over 1 million members.

You don’t get to be one of the biggest games on the planet without knowing how to have fun.  Keeping the target market in mind, it’s interesting to see the way Fortnite has re-imagined the Greek Gods.  Every season, which lasts a few months, they feature a few gimmicks.  This season it was mythology, which is 100% my jam.  It’s just that the gods are rendered to appeal to the underinformed whippersnappers that make up 90% of the clowns that I slaughter like so many sheep encircling a maddened Ajax.  As someone with a classical education, some of the choices are tough to get my head around.  Let’s take a look to get a sense of how they marry concepts from antiquity with a modern Fortnite demo.

Here’s Zeus.  Pretty straightforward.  You can customize him a bit but generally he’s the bearded, lightning-hucking philanderer of legend.  

His brother, Poseidon, is historically described with similar features to the sky god.   Bearded, jacked, and wielding a trident as god of the seas.  Here’s how Fortnite imagined him.

Now, in fairness, Fortnite drops one “fun” skin every season, so it made sense for them to pick one of these two – or Poseidon and Zeus’ brother: Hades, said to be similarly jacked and bearded, if a little more wan and dour.  Here’s what Fortnite imagined.

Lots of people had issues with his rebreather but I think it looks rad.  He’s the first skin of the season I’d actually play with because the “hit box” meaning the active area other players can shoot you in and score a “hit” is thin enough.  For wider avatars it means more room to hit them.  You can see that Poseidon skin from space and it begs to be sniped.  

Aphrodite, the goddess of love, got dragged en masse because she looks like a tennis player.

Medusa, the gorgon with snake hair that turns anyone who sees it to stone, reminds me of Mother Gothel from Tangled. Not a god.  Just a monster in the myths, but presents as “soccer-mom-hot” on Fortnite.

Artemis, goddess of the hunt and the most fiercely independent Olympian has been homogenized into this super-attractive Betty Boop lookin’ 50’s housewife.  Artemis would slay everyone on the planet if she saw this depiction of her. And no bow. Artemis without a bow is like Thor without a hammer.

Ares, a complete asshole in every way who also happens to be the god of war, satisfies most people’s pre-conceived notion of a Spartan or a bronze-age Greek warrior.

Cerberus, the three headed dog that guards the underworld, not to be confused with Fluffy, the three-headed dog in Harry Potter that guards the Philosopher’s Stone, has only one head here and is more lupine.  Cerberus isn’t a deity.  He’s just a guard.

Charon, the ferryman of the Underworld, who carries dead souls across the River Styx, actually has a look that seems appropriate to his career.

King Midas, not a god but a notable greedy bastard, turns gold as he kills people so if you get a player wearing this skin and bearing down on you and he’s solid gold, you know you’re in for a battle.

The worst, though, is Apollo, god of light. God of the Sun and archery, music & dance, truth & prophecy, healing & diseases, and poetry.  What’s up with that Jersey Shore blowout that’s also on fire?  Yeah, that yellow highlight in the front is active fire. Apollo is a god of knowledge and artistry.  This avatar seems like he’s on his way to gym, tan & laundry.

Fortnite is a game I had avoided for a long time, but I’m glad I had the chance to check it out and get a deeper sense of it. Yes, there are still frustrating losses where dicks using aimbots foil your best laid-plans. Sometimes you just get beat, but because the killers are anonymous in-game and you only see their names once you’re dead, there’s no way to stalk or grief certain players. You may never see them again for as long as you play. Before you really have a chance to rage quit you’re already ready’d up and loading into the next battle. It’s tailor made for people like me with ADHD and/or the TikTok generations.

The Fortnite Festival event seems like something every musical act is lining up to be part of. The Weeknd, Lady Gaga and Eminem (as Slim Shady) have already been featured with acts like Snoop Dogg and Taylor Swift reported to be in prep. Recent online leaks have all but confirmed that Billie Eilish will be up next. It’s an entirely new premise that seems to be working well with younger audiences.

In just a few weeks, Fortnite will again offer one of their storied cross promotions with Star Wars to celebrate May the 4th. It’s yet more spot-on cross-promotion from a team at Epic Games (Fortnite’s parent company) that has their finger squarely on the pulse of 500 million registered players. That’s astounding. Whether you’re a gamer or not, it’s difficult to wrap your head around numbers like that. As someone who was very late to the party, I have to say: all games have features you can complain about, but even so, Fortnite is undeniably a blast.

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