By Shelly Mazzanoble of Shelly Mazzanoble / Writer
The first round of remote learning coincided with my son discovering Fortnite—the shoot-em-up video game that turns your sweet, laid back children into the personification of Kayne West’s tweets. At first we were hesitant because there’s so much shooting and looting, and unlike Pokemon Go, no incentive to actually go outside and walk. But then the world kept closing in tighter than the waistband on my jeans (remember those?) and we thought maybe he’d be so distracted by mowing down strangers with pickaxes to notice the world is literally on fire right now. It wasn’t a curriculum-based school, but there was definitely learning involved. Question words might still trip him up, but eliminate, annihilate, and bombastic are all part of my son’s everyday vocabulary.
Fortnite also provided a solid platform for social-emotional growth. Every night he would Facetime his best friends so they could knock each other unconscious for fun, demand someone “rez” them, and complain about how unfair it was when someone got to the cool, mythic loot first. You don’t appreciate the God-given serenity of noise canceling headphones until you hear three seven year-olds fight over a Vindertech jolter gun found in a supply llama. And this stupid game has quickly become a thing in my professional life too. Everyday Teams meetings are interrupted so my son can show off a new dance move or beg for the Iron Man skin he absolutely has to have which just showed up in the item shop and will only be available for the next forty-four hours.
“Mommy has to work for those V-Bucks,” I remind him. “So I can buy you Lil Whip’s Epic outfit.”
What the hell am I even saying? No, seriously, what am I saying? Fortnite has incepted my brain, my speech, the very core of my being. If I’m not slamming doors to block out the sounds of it, I’m fending off requests to learn how to play it, watching YouTube videos of teenagers with 1.4 million subscribers playing it, providing rulings on alleged hackers, and making up chores so he can earn money to buy more crap that loses its luster faster than a bolt-action sniper rifle takes out a trash can. At least it’s virtual crap.
If you’re the mom of a Berserker Renegade headhunting sniper, you can probably relate to the things I find myself saying multiple times a day.
- You need to have a better attitude about getting killed.
- Sure, tell me how you died.
- Why do you need a new skin?
- WHAT IS WRONG WITH THE SKIN I JUST BOUGHT YOU???
- I don’t take V-Bucks for bribes
- If you do it, I’ll give you V-Bucks.
- I don’t know, maybe it’s fun to kill you.
- Tell him you don’t like it when he kills you.
- Crotch-grabbing is not how we emote in this family.
- Kill him and take his heavy sniper then.
- Who looted my baby?
- “One Pump Quinn” might be a cool nickname when you’re seven, but you’re not going to like it when you’re older.
- I’m really proud of how well you’re handling your death lately.
- Is that guy dancing on your corpse?
- Just use the Tommy gun I already got you!
- If you don’t stop killing your friends you’ll have no one to play with.
- Leave those poor llamas alone!
- Honestly, no, I don’t want to watch you play Fortnite.
Ready up, Fortnite moms. Time to grab your Zapatrons, strap on your back bling, don your mullet marauder skins and make them stop calling us “Bruh.”
About the Author
Shelly Mazzanoble is the author of two books about Dungeons & Dragons (yes, really!) and co-hosts the official Dungeons & Dragons podcast, Dragon Talk. When she’s not writing books about pretending to be an elf, she’s writing about her child who thankfully hasn’t added the word “litigation” to his vocabulary yet. Her work has most recently appeared on Scary Mommy, Blunt Moms, Moms and Stories, Pregnant Chicken, and In the Powder Room. Visit her on Twitter (https://twitter.com/shellymoo), Instagram (@shellymoo), Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/shellymazzanoblewriter), and her blog at shellymazzanoble.com.