We asked a 16-year-old friend to write this guide to Fortnite. We wanted to show the game from a teen’s perspective. There’s a lot of fear-mongering out there about this game, which we hope this guide to Fortnite helps put into perspective. You can find a useful guide to setting boundaries on your kids’ Fortnite (and other gaming) time here.
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I started playing Fortnite because my mates played. I don’t think it is any more addictive than any other games that I play. I’m sixteen and I play because my mates are playing it. I hope this guide to Fortnite helps you decide if Fortnite is right for your son or daughter.
What exactly is Fortnite?
Fortnite is a shooting game and the aim of the game is to be the last one standing. It’s like a mix between Minecraft and a shooter game, where you drop into a map with 99 other people and you have to kill other players and be the last one surviving. The game feels very cartoon-like. While it is about shooting, there is no blood or gore. There are no in-game character lines, so there is no swearing built into the game either. PUBG (PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds) is very similar but the graphics are more realistic than Fortnite.
You can play Fortnite on PC, Playstation, xBox and smart phones with an internet connection.
How much does Fortnite cost?
Fortnite is a free to play game, so you don’t need to buy anything to play it. You can buy in-game packs in varying prices starting at $15. While this seems expensive, the packs are in-game currency to buy things that are actually only cosmetic and have no impact on the game. Packs are really are not necessary to buy at all.
One of the big advantages of Fortnite is therefore that it is free, so I can play when I want to and save my money for other games. However, Playstation started restricting online gaming to paid subscription of Playstation Plus, which means that if you don’t have that current then you can’t play the online against my mates. I can only play Fortnite in story mode. The main reason I play though is to hang out with my mates, so story mode isn’t really my thing.
The social side of Fortnite
You can play Fortnite solo and then you are versing other people around the world, but you can’t talk to them. If you want to play with mates that you know, they have to send you an invite to join their squad or you can send them an invite to join your squad. When you join a squad that is when you can talk to other people in the squad.
I love playing in the same Fortnite squad as my mates because we all have our mics on and the banter that goes between us is what makes the game fun. I do find Fortnite by yourself gets boring pretty quickly as you are doing the same thing over and over.
How to play
There isn’t a story mode in Fortnite like there is in the other games like Call of Duty or Grand Theft Auto, so each time you die you go back into the queue to start again. So, if you die during the battle you are dead, but you can then go back to the lobby and just rejoin a new battle. Each battle lasts about 15 minutes or so. It does get really frustrating when I have just started playing and Mum asks me to do something, but I also know that if I don’t get up and do what is asked then I don’t get to play at all. The thing is, if something can wait 15 minutes, that would probably be a better way to approach your gamer…
Staying safe when playing Fortnite
This guide to Fortnite isn’t really about tips for staying safe online, but I think staying safe online is pretty much common sense. It also comes down to Mum and Dad supervising me and knowing what I am doing. Our Playstation is in a room in the house that is really just a walkway, so I can’t ever do anything that other people can’t see. Mum and Dad can hear me from anywhere in the house, so when I get excited and start yelling during the game they are forever telling me to be quiet.
So much of staying safe is also about having rules for play like we do in our house. Some of the rules we have in our house are at night you have to charge devices in Mum and Dad’s room. Even during the day you are not allowed to have devices in your room. I have time limits on how long I can play, plus schoolwork and jobs always come first. If I don’t do that then I get banned.
You can also make sure that the mic is switched off in the game, which means that there is no chance to talk to other people. I have read the stories where people are worried about grooming, etc from playing against people that you don’t know and giving out information about yourself. If the mic is off, you can’t give out the information.
We regularly have talks at school about protecting our privacy, so I would never tell a stranger my name, where I lived or anything at all like that. If kids are giving out this information then in my opinion they are too young to be playing. They need to learn the same rules for online as in the street. I wouldn’t tell some random stranger who I was in the street or at the shops, so there is no way I will do it online.
It is actually very easy to stay safe online while playing Fortnite as you don’t have to play with other people in a game mode called solo. This is exactly the same game but you play by yourself.
Recommended age for Fortnite
I really thought about this question while writing this guide to Fortnite. I wouldn’t let anyone younger than 12 play because it isn’t really aimed at anyone younger than that. So, I think high school age kids should be the only ones on Fortnite.
For younger kids (like 12-14, if they can’t be trusted to not give out personal information), I’d suggest you don’t let them have a mic. That way they can’t talk to others using the in-game chat system.
I haven’t really ever had to block or report people. I am only aware of how to do it when you get killed in the game a report box comes up and you can report people for cheating. I guess it would be the same for needing to block people.
We have a family rule that I am not allowed to play the really violent Call of Duty or Grand Theft Auto games when my younger sisters are up or we have younger friends over. Fortnite isn’t a problem for things like that.
Did you find this guide to Fortnite helpful? I hope so.
Images are screenshots of the game Fortnite.