by: Joshua Hartwigsen
(Copied And Edited)
If you're a parent, or under the age of thirty, you probably know the name “Fortnite.” For the rest of us, Fortnite is a free-to-play, online video game in which a hundred players are dropped onto a cartoonish, post-apocalyptic island and fight one another to the death in an ever-shrinking area (the playable area of the island continuously shrinks during the game, forcing the remaining players into a smaller and smaller area in which they must either kill or be killed).
The game, which was only released last year, may very well hold the title of the world’s most popular game. It has been downloaded an estimated sixty-million times, and there have been occasions where more than three million people were playing the game at the same time. To help give you a sense of the game’s popularity, consider that footage of people playing the game have received over three billion— three billion— views on You Tube. The game’s current star goes by the name “Ninja” and streams his games on You Tube to his more than ten million subscribers, earning him a reported half million dollars a month. Fortnite is huge!
The game’s popularity has caused it to increasingly appear in the news. In fact, just this morning (I am writing this article early Friday morning), I saw a news story about a glitch in the game involving shopping carts— yes, the game has become so popular that a glitch made the news.
Fortnite’s popularity has led me to think about the things we focus on. I can certainly understand the game’s appeal, but its wild popularity, when combined with the money and time people devote to it, leaves me a little cold.
I believe I could find more people willing to sit and talk at length about Fortnite than I could find people who want to talk about the Bible. I suspect that I could probably find more people who know more about the game than they know about the Bible. My suspicions should not be seen as an indictment against games or recreational pursuits in general, although this game sounds like one Christian parents should probably keep away from their children.
Fortnite is, after all, only a game that exists in a long history of distractions and will eventually be replaced by something else. Instead, Fortnite’s popularity oﬀers me a reminder that our world has greater and more passionate interests in things other than God and His Bible. Jesus believed that reality deﬁned his world, and it continues to deﬁne our world (Ma-hew 7:13-14). Fortnite’s popularity, and its reminder about our world’s interests, offers us a challenge— How can we attract people to Jesus in a world filled with so many distracting influences? How can we live out the values and beliefs that defined Jesus, and ought to define us, in ways that will be both attractive to our distracted world and at the same time faithful to Jesus’ example?
That question begs a deeper question— Is Jesus more attractive to us personally than our world’s distractions? Do our lives reveal a greater desire for Jesus than for things like Fortnite, or sports, or money, or inﬂuence, or…?
Gary L. Hutchens