I don’t play video games much these days. I enjoy them, but I just don’t have a lot of time to sit down and dive deep into a game. My boys, ages 11 and 8, however… they love their games. For weekdays, we limit them to 1-1.5 hrs (depending on whether they gripe about their homework that must be done first). During that time, though, they spend much of their time with one game in particular. If you’re a parent of a kid age 8+, you know the game I’m talking about: Fortnite.
My boys love it. At first, I wasn’t taken with the simulated violence. But I’ve since come around to realizing they see and hear a lot worse if they even watch the news these days. (So please don’t start preaching to me if you don’t agree.) I’ll admit that I occasionally sit down with them and try to watch and learn, but I tend to get dizzy or even nauseous when watching someone else play a fast-paced video game. Instead, they’ll narrate to me in the car or at dinner time some great tactic or bit of gameplay that they are proud of… and I listen intently while not having ANY IDEA what they’re really talking about.
Enter The Quarto Group’s new book, 100% Unofficial Fortnite Essential Guide. It’s just short enough for a parent to be able to sit down and read in less than 30 minutes and get a solid understanding of the game, its rules, and why it’s so engaging with kids.
Why did I say parent and not kid? Because I put the book in my 8-year-old’s hands and he read it… or mostly read it. When he finished, his only comment was that he already knew all this stuff. And that’s true… if you’ve got a kid who has been playing Fortnite for more than a few hours, what’s inside here is probably going to be easily picked up in-game. Some stuff, such as the various areas of the map… those come in time, but they’re not required to play and survive in the game.
My youngest also pointed out that the book is slightly behind the current season; the game never sleeps, and updates are mostly done using the concept of Season 1, Season 2, etc. Currently the game is on Season 7 (if I’ve been hearing my kids correctly) but the book appears to only cover up to Season 5. When pushed for more info, my oldest explained that weapons are sometimes “vaulted”—put away and not available—while others are buffed or nerfed. (I know these terms! Buffed means to give a weapon some extra power or ability, while nerfed means to reduce the power of a weapon.)
He also explained that the map typically changes in layout and look, and special abilities are added occasionally. And this all makes sense—a game developer that wishes to make more money cannot let its hot game stagnate, so this means constant changes and improvements. And being a writer myself, I understand that a game is a moving target and there is no way to write a book on a video game and have it be 100% relevant when the book is actually printed and sold in stores.
But here’s what the book DOES offer: the 64-page full-color hardback is filled with actual screen captures from the game and enough information on combat, building, and collecting resources that anyone wanting to know what all the hype is about will understand. From a basic explanation of the types of controllers to navigating the lobby and user screens to popping your chute and landing in a resource-rich area of the map, the book will get you up to speed fast. For a kid who has never played… an excellent summary of the game. For a parent wanting to understand all the Fortnite-speak coming from their kiddos? Invaluable.
The book is out now for only $10, and it’s a great price and the right length… all the basics, none of the nitty-gritty stuff that really only a player will need. It even comes with an excellent one-page article at the back that helps remind parents of our duty when it comes to protecting our kids when they play online.
Note: I’d like to thank Quarto for providing a review copy of 100% Unofficial Fortnite Essential Guide. My kids may already know this stuff, but now… so do I.