Fortnite Frenzy club offers casual yet competitive playing environment


Kenyon Edmond

Mike Hoke plays a game of Fortnite in his apartment on Saturday.

By Emma Palatnik, Staff writer

Michael Hoke joked about starting a Fortnite club at the beginning of the semester.

His cousin, Elijah Marder, said Hoke has been into the game for a while. Hoke, senior in LAS, went around the E-Sports club, which he said is pretty big on campus and found, however, they didn’t have that big of an emphasis on Fortnite.

So, as the club’s president, he decided to start Fortnite Frenzy. In their weekly Monday meetings at 7 p.m. in Wohlers 130, club members play Fortnite, discuss the game, watch others play and have tournaments and competitions.

“Fortnite is obviously one of the most, probably one of the most successful games of all time,” Hoke said. “I thought that it’s a big enough market to where it should have its own club, so I just kind of started it.”

Fortnite is an online video game released in 2017 by Epic Games. It’s free to play and is available on Android, iOS, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Microsoft Windows and Macintosh.

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Club members show up to meetings early to set up their equipment — Xboxes, TVs, PlayStations and computers. After setting up, people start playing together.

The environment, Hoke said, is casual. He said people are welcome to do whatever they want and there isn’t a ton of structure.

They play together for about an hour. Around 8:30 p.m., they begin a competition. This week, they started streaming the competition on, a live-streaming video platform.

Hoke said Twitch is a growing market and it could be fun and cool for people to watch their streams.

“People that can’t exactly make it to meetings or aren’t really sure what it would entail, just to kind of log on, check it out,” Hoke said. “You don’t have to log on, you just click the link and check out what’s happening. It’s fun there sometimes when we’re playing those tournaments and whatnot. It’s a fun platform to play around with.”

Another new thing this week is a point system. A certain amount of points are awarded for game wins and the number of eliminations a player gets.

“That keeps it light and fun and competitive and something that’ll get people more excited throughout the club,” said Marder, sophomore in AHS and club treasurer.

The prize for winning the point system is a stuffed llama. Whoever has the most points gets to take the llama home for a week.

In Battle Royale mode, up to 100 players compete to be the last person standing. Users can play alone, in solo mode, in duos or in squads made up of three or four players.

To begin, players drop in from a bus that travels across the game’s map. After landing, players have to collect weapons, resources and other items to survive. They simultaneously have to eliminate other players to be the last one standing.

What makes the game popular is its addictiveness, said Max Claypool, sophomore in DGS and club member.

He said players can play a game, get eliminated and immediately start another game. Claypool said players are always itching to play one more game.

The game has tapped into the younger market, Hoke said, because it’s relatively family-friendly.

“There’s no blood or anything like that,” Hoke said. “They never call anything a kill; they call it an elimination. There’s no bodies; a drone comes and picks up the player once they are eliminated.”

Growing up, Hoke said the popular games were Call of Duty and Halo. He always had trouble convincing his parents to buy those kinds of games.

Fortnite, he said, is going to be popular with younger kids for a while because of its availability.  

“They can’t buy Call of Duty — their parents won’t let them; they don’t have the money,” Hoke said.

Marder agreed and said its popularity stems from the game’s addictive nature. He thinks the game has become more popular with younger kids than college students.

What makes the game so popular, Marder said, is the creators know what they’re doing. He said they know the psychology behind what gives people a rewarding feeling.

All elements of the game, he said, are smooth.

“Every time you pick up a gun, it’s rewarding; every time you get a kill, every flash on the screen is meant to spike your dopamine levels that you want to keep playing,” Marder said. “I think that really contributes to that. It’s a really fun game.”

Claypool said the game is designed for everything to be satisfying.

“Everything you do gives you little hits of dopamine with the sounds and the picture and the gameplay,” Claypool said. “When you kill someone you get a big hit of dopamine…I think rewarding is really the right word. Every little action is so rewarding, from picking up a gun to killing someone, to how everything looks and feels.”

Another element that keeps people playing the game, Hoke said, is the novelty.

The game always has new material in the works. There are new game modes, outfits and other elements.

“I like to think of Fortnite, they go by the model, that it’s kind of like fashion, and that fashion never dies; it’s always dynamic and it’s always changing,” Hoke said.

Marder said he hopes more people are aware of the club. He said it’s a judgment-free zone with people of all skill levels. Marder himself said he’s not very good at playing Fortnite, but he’s trying to get better.

“It’s just a bunch of people, bunch of nerds with their computers, monitors, Xboxes, PlayStations,” Hoke said.

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