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  • Writer's pictureSTEVE COOKE AATA


Updated: Jun 21, 2020

The lockdown we have all been experiencing has created time in our lives that used to be filled with such as going to work, going out for a meal, catching up over a coffee, trips to the theatre, visiting family etc. For many of us in the creative community this time has enabled and inspired increased, if somewhat different, engagement with the world of creativity.

This website reflects some of the inspiring outcomes of this creative splurge. We also have been given access to live streaming of theatre, music and art and innovative TV such as the excellent Grayson Perry’s Art Club and Later…..with Jools Holland.

One thing not on my radar of engaging and stimulating activities is gaming. I have heard and read mention of something called Fortnite across media platforms; young people, it would appear, have been increasingly engaged with this video game as they cope with social isolation.

One such young person is my tweenaged granddaughter Amelia. Like many of her peers she has been denied the end of primary school education activities and rituals but has been able to keep in contact with her friends and mentally active with Fortnite.

I asked her to write a review of the game to give an insight to what it is all about.

'Lockdown entertainment for tweenagers

By Amelia Jane Moore

Fortnite is an amazing game for people over the age of 12 as it is fun and very exciting.

There is not just one game; it has lots of different modes and options to explore. The game counts your wins, so you know how many you have and then you move through the levels as you collect xp (points.)

You can collect skins, which are different characters and costumes, who have a range of accessories and emotes, which basically are groovy dances/moves etc. You get set challenges to complete and these help level you up.

It is a free to download game, but you have to pay for some of the features, such as the battle pass and some of the skins. You can play with your friends and make new friends.

You can talk to these other players if you have a headset with a mic, but you need to be careful that you only connect with people you know and trust.

Creative mode allows you to practice your builds and you can even make your own music

It's an online game so if your connection is weak it will lag and there can be people on there who swear and not be very nice. Also, you can spend a lot in a short space of time which can add up to a lot of money.

Overall it’s a great game that can keep you entertained for hours and allows you to connect with your friends even during lockdown; if you get good at the game you can enter competitions and some people even become professional players!’

So, is Fortnite a good thing?

No school means children are likely to be playing video games more. And whilst some of us [relative] oldies may be concerned about their children's interest in the likes of Fortnite, new research has found that this hobby may be actually good for them.

The study, which was one of the largest intelligence experiments of its kind, was recently featured in BBC's The Great British Intelligence Test and involved TV doctor Michael Mosley.

Discussing the findings on video games, the 63-year-old explained on BBC Radio last week that he had "always kind of regarded them as a waste of time."

He however was left "surprised" following the results of the study, which measured different aspects of intelligence - including what is known as 'working memory.'

Dr Mosley, who is credited with popularising the 5:2 diet, explained: "This is the ability to hold more than one thing in your mind at the same time."

For example, if you are being given directions, you have to remember where you're trying to go but also listen to how to get there.

"This is actually a surprisingly good marker of your overall ability to cope with life and get on with school," Dr Mosley revealed.

As part of the intelligence study, researchers tested the working memory of participants and asked questions - including how much time they spent playing online games.

Dr Mosley commented that he then found "a very strong correlation" between how well people did on the working memory test and how much time they spent gaming.

He added: "It's particularly the games where you have to kind of run around a lot, shoot things and dodge things."

Parents will know that this description certainly fits with Fortnite.

The 63-year-old said he is now unable to criticise his son for playing video games during lockdown because "maybe it's actually doing bits of his brain some good" - with Dr.Mosley adding that even he was "tempted briefly" to try gaming.

The most recent numbers we have for how many people play Fortnite comes from the recent Travis Scott concert event. That boasted 12.3 million concurrent players, and a further 8.4 million watched via Twitch or YouTube. This far outweighs any other audience/participant numbers that I am aware of during lockdown.

Like, Dr Mosley I also have been “tempted briefly”, but just a minute, I must have a listen to Bob Dylan’s new album and I have 6 episodes of Cardinal to catch up with and this week’s New Statesman has just been popped through the door!

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