Fortnite cringe might not be so bad after all.
Whether we like it or not, Fortnite is one of the biggest things in gaming right now. It’s big enough to get its own action figures, it’s big enough to get sued by celebrities, and it’s big enough that everyone won’t stop talking about it.
Like every fad that’s come before it, Fortnite has attracted its fair share of… well, cringe-worthy content. Whether it’s videos of epic gamer moments or just really bad fan art, there’s plenty of material on the internet that will make you recoil and your face scrunch up. I won’t try to convince you that you should like any of that, but I am here to argue that there’s no reason to hate on the game itself. In fact, there are reasons that even the greatest Fortnite haters should be thankful that the game exists.
Don’t believe me? Here are 4 reasons why Fortnite and its fans aren’t as cringey as you think.
Every fanbase has its vocal minority
Let’s be honest here: it’s not Fortnite that makes any of us cringe. It’s just its alleged fanbase.
History tells us that literally anything that gets super popular attracts a lot of vocal fans. And naturally, it’s easy to judge an entire fanbase based on said vocal minority. Yes, the most hardcore fans of anything are going to do and say things make the average person scratch their head in confusion. But it’s important to remember that even a group of 20,000 fans is hardly indicative of the millions of people that play Fortnite.
This isn’t to say the overall Fortnite community doesn’t have its share of problems. But most of those issues are inevitable when anything becomes massively popular. Hating Fortnite for this reason is basically hating it because it’s successful, and we’ll get into the problems with that perspective later.
The worst fans steal the spotlight
Compounding the issue of the vocal minority of a fanbase is how the internet loves to highlight the most laughable and embarrassing content.
Honestly, we see this everywhere. Haters of a fanbase share screenshots of their worse antics, and said screenshots go viral and are seen by people who couldn’t care less about the subject matter to begin with. This creates an effect where a very small number of fans are representing even the vocal fanbase, let alone every fan of the thing in question. And that’s assuming that the screenshot in question is of an actual fan and not an elaborate troll.
Yet despite how illogical it is, many people will proudly proclaim that these extreme examples justify why they dislike an entire fanbase or the respective thing they like. Heck, we see this same trend play out in serious topics like politics. I’m not saying this behavior is making the world a worse place, but I’m not not saying it either.
It’s easy to hate anything when it gets popular
Before I sound too preachy, I’ll say that we all know what it’s like to hate something because it’s popular.
Whether you’re a fan of video games, movies, or music, you want to think that your tastes are refined and unique. When a breakout success story like Fortnite enthralls the masses, many enthusiasts’ gut reaction is to rebel against it. It’s a subconscious way of reinforcing that the things you like are better, especially when casual fans only like Fortnite and don’t dabble in all the other games you enjoy more.
It’s a surprisingly understandable reaction to have. But as many visionary poets have said, being a nonconformist is just conforming with other nonconformists. This outlook means that your tastes are, in fact, being dictated by what everyone else likes. This attitude can actually create its own cringey sub-community, and I don’t need to explain to you how ironic that is. For example, remember when hating Twilight was all the rage a decade ago? I’m no fan of Twilight, but trust me, some of the hate and “pranks” it got did not stand the test of time. I’d link examples if I could stomach actually finishing any video I’d post here.
An opinion of Fortnite shouldn’t be informed by how popular it is. And if you have no interest in playing Fortnite, it’s okay to have no opinion at all. But whatever stance you do take on it, make sure its one you’ve formed of your own accord.
Fortnite is inspiring a new generation of gamers
Here’s the truth about popular media: it can be the gateway drug that turns a casual fan into a super-nerd just like you or me.
Let’s be real here: how many of us discovered video games or anime because of Pokémon? How many of us got into comic books because of old superhero cartoons and comic book movies? We all had that first game or movie that led us down the road to nerdom, and for most of us, I’m willing to bet it was something massively popular like Fortnite. You probably got into whatever it was because a sibling or a friend liked it, and once it had its hooks in you, you were never the same again. Even if only 10% of casual Fortnite players went on to become hardcore gamers, you’d be looking at thousands of new people to share your hobby with.
If anything, Fortnite has more potential to create a new wave of gamers than anything before it. Its robust cross platform functionality not only connects gamers in unprecedented ways, it actually changed the game industry for the better. And let’s not lose track of how Fortnite is legitimately popular with an entire generation of pre-teen and teenagers. I can tell you that I had just as many kids on the playground making fun of me for liking Pokémon as I did friends who would play with me. Looking back, I would have loved having as many gamer friends as Fortnite-loving kids enjoy now. At the end of the day, why would any of us want to rob anyone of the things that gives them joy?
All of these things we’ve described won’t change the fact that some Fortnite fans will make you cringe. But heck, if you look at stuff you did 10 or 15 years ago, I bet you’d cringe just as much. It’s perfectly fine to dislike Fortnite as a game, and it’s equally valid to not want to touch its community with a ten-foot-pole. But if you’re a gamer who wants to see the industry grow, you should be happy that games like Fortnite exist. The person playing Fortnite today could one day become the person leading your raid party to a world-first kill of a legendary boss, and we’d all be none the wiser as to what game sparked their journey to that point.
And I don’t know about you, but there’s nothing to cringe at about that.