Length of play session: 4 hours
Fun level (-10 to 10): 6
Just to make things clear, I didn’t spend 4 hours straight playing this game, but instead played in very short bursts over the week. It was always a game I played as a break from homework or exam studying. This means that my mood before playing was always similar; a bit stressed out, but mostly just bored.
Now, an introduction: Fortnight is a free-to-play entry in the very popular battle-royale genre. 100 players parachute down to a large map, scavenge for weapons and resources, and get forced into battles as the playable area of the map shrinks. At first glance, and probably every glance after that, one could very easily mistake this game for a cartoony clone of Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds. The scant experience I’ve had with that game makes it hard for me to truly compare them, but they are incredibly similar. Fortnight is faster-paced (but still slow, as all games in this genre are), and has crafting elements that are incredibly interesting (though I am unsure how well they are implemented).
I would say one of the most interesting things to note about the game is how much better I got at it in a very short amount of time. In my first round, I was the 4th of 100 people to die (96th place), and I got 0 kills. I was a bit peeved at how that death went down, being shot to death by a player who had looted a machine-gun while I still only had a pick-axe. It didn’t seem very fair, and I generally dislike when games don’t seem fair. I was a bit heated and immediately jumped back in to a second round. I came 94th, and died to a player with a shotgun while I had only scavenged a handgun. I wasn’t more heated after this loss, because I find it hard to get heated dying in a game that I hardly know how to play whatsoever, but the feeling of helplessness I experienced didn’t improve my mood.
I jumped into a third round immediately. The previous two had only taken a minute or two each. This third round couldn’t have taken less than five minutes. I landed on the roof of a larger house in an as-of-yet abandoned housing complex. I used my pickaxe to wail away at the roof; destroying it an allowing me to fall into the house. I landed on a shotgun and picked it up right as another player wandered into the same building. He had no real chance to escape while I fired three deadly rounds into his back. I felt adrenaline.
Another player ran past the building I was in. I noticed he had a pistol and chased silently behind him. He turned a corner and gunshots rang out. He was in a shootout with another player. I shot him dead as he looked down the barrel of another player’s gun. I moved swiftly behind a tree as the other player turned his sights on me. He had no cover to cross the ground between us. I popped out from behind the tree and shot him twice in the head. His body exploded in a pile of loot; most of which I had not seen before. I felt great at this moment.
I took out three guys in a quick firefight, and my hands were slightly shaking. I walked away from my battle-zone after finding a better gun from the third guy’s corpse. Within a minute I had found another player out in the open. I took aim with my new rifle, took a shot, and hit the new offender. He turned my way, started crafting walls that would take me several bullets to shoot through, crafted a staircase, made a tower, and picked me off before I had any idea what to do about that development.
I came in 60th place, with three kills, but I was entirely outmatched by that player. I was impressed by his strategy, so rather than joining a new match, I watched him come in second place; constantly building structures to get a leg-up on opponents in every fight.
I am unsure if there was any stress-relief in that play-session. I was fairly happy with my performance in that last round, but I could still feel some adrenaline. If I were in a situation that did not involve massive amounts of homework and studying, this session likely would have changed my mood. As it was, I had to studiously return to my homework. Every session after that had a similar ending. My performances improved. My next sessions over the week saw me place 40th, 24th, 95th, 26th, 11th, and 2nd in the last one. I was having fun, and improving a lot after stealing the mid-fight-building strategy, but studiously returning to my homework left little room for me to feel any real mood changes.
Perhaps short gameplay sessions can only do so much to affect one’s mood.
Fortnight. Epic Games. 2017. Video game.
PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. Bluehole Studio. 2017. Video game.