surinenglish

Don't blame Fortnite

The first time I felt a real clash with the next generation was just over a year ago when, in a meeting with adolescents, the distance between us opened up like an abyss when I happened to ask what Fortnite was. This survival videogame, I learned, was the latest craze among the younger generation, which is no longer mine, and has been made popular by YouTubers - nouveau riche kids who are real celebrities in a certain social environment but totally unknown to the rest of the world. And while anyone over 50 might find this incredible, there are millions of people who find it interesting to sit in front of a screen, not to play, but to watch the games that other people have played.

I have never tried Fortnite, despite the attraction of it being free. That's because years ago I decided to banish videogames from my life, mainly to avoid the foreseeable possibility of becoming addicted.

In my adolescence I lived through the videogame boom, but I nearly always played them in the company of my friends and neighbours. We had Atari, Master System, Super Nintendo and a thing that kids of today would think came from Mars - games you loaded from a cassette that you had to rewind to be able to play. At a certain age I decided to give it all up and promised myself that I would never download any entertainment again. That was perhaps one of the only times in my life that saying "this is the last time" has really led to me giving it up.

At university we had to read a whole lot of nonsense that said that videogames were responsible for school massacres and suicides and were in general an epidemic against world peace, not to mention the epilepsy caused by the colours on the screen.

Fortunately it was also at university that we learned that people are not psychopaths because they play a videogame and neither are they going to start to kill people to emulate the game. Those who did probably had that madness already inside their heads, waiting for something to detonate it.

Now a letter is circulating around schools in the Malaga area, warning that Fortnite is to blame for poor academic performance. I imagine there was no room to go into detail about the shortcomings of the education system or to invite parents to impose more restrictions on their children rather than expect their teachers to bring them up. They just have to plug them into a screen to forget about them with little interest in controls or filters. All this is not going to cause a real Battle Royale in the playground, but we will have less chance of them enjoying other things, knowing how to write well or opening a book from time to time.