Video game dominates classroom time


Senior Mitchell Wilson plays Fortnite using a monitor he set up next to his bed. Wilson spends lots of time playing the game and said he has been called out of school to play. Photo by Chloe Carroll

Ben Jutzi, Executive Copy Editor

People sit on the edge of their seats, inching towards the monitor, as senior Mitchell Wilson entertains a crowd at Carthage College while visiting his older brother. The crowd? His brother’s friends, all huddled around him as he played Fortnite.

“There were like 15 guys all packed into this room,” said Wilson. “I had a 25-kill game, and when I won it, I swear I’ve never seen a group of college kids go that insane.”

Wilson spends around five hours each day playing Fortnite, a popular battle-royale style video game in which players must compete to be the last alive, and has racked up over 400 wins. Wilson said he has even been called out of school to play.

Junior Chris Karasinski said he has often noticed students playing Fortnite in school. Although he prefers playing at home on his Playstation 4, Karasinski has also played the game on his phone and has used the app to play in school once or twice.

“I have never been caught playing in class, but I’ve actually witnessed people getting caught,” said Karasinski. “It’s not a good sight because [playing] completely distracts you from class.”

        Joshua Buchanan, eSports head coach for Ashland University, said Fortnite’s viewability and high skill potential were two big factors in the decision to add Fortnite to their eSports program.

Although senior Stephanie Suh does not regularly play Fortnite, she has seen the game impact her life in a different way. When Suh received an extension to apply to Loyola’s Quinlan School of Business Honors Program, she decided to center her essay for the application around winning a game of Fortnite.

“Fortnite was becoming so ubiquitous, and I saw people playing it in class, and I was talking to my friend in my class who was playing it,” Suh said.

When she first learned she had been accepted, she kept the news from her parents.

“I didn’t even tell my dad because I was so embarrassed about it, so I told my sister, and we just sat there and laughed,” Suh said.

According to Buchanan, one thing that sets Fortnite apart from other games in his program is the large swath of people the game draws.

“Fortnite really appeals to a bunch of people,” said Buchanan. “The hardcore gamer, the casual gamer, even the person who didn’t play games before.”

Wilson said despite the large amount of hours he spends playing, he never gets tired of Fortnite.

“That’s my thing with every video game,” said Wilson. “Before Fortnite was huge, I used to pull all-nighters [playing Call of Duty]. There was one day where I played 36 hours straight, where I just didn’t move.”

Although he believes two hours of gameplay per day to be optimal, Buchanan said it can be okay to play more depending on one’s schedule.

“If you’re a student, if you have other priorities you’re juggling at the same time, I think two [hours] is the best,” said Buchanan. “It’s important to have a balanced lifestyle.”

Buchanan said the social aspect of the game makes it appealing and has helped to contribute to the game’s popularity.

“Fortnite, by design, was meant for you to play with your friends, whether that be in duos or squads, [game modes that involve teams],” said Buchanan. “Whether you want to be competitive and have camaraderie with your friends or if you just want to be goofy and have fun and play casually, it’s really conducive to both.”