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The Fortnite ally and the end of gaming toxicity


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First, a story. On New Year’s Eve, I dropped into a Fortnite match to check out one of the hourly fireworks displays that were taking place above Artemis Island. There’s one problem with things like this, though… where to drop? Where do you go that might be safe from vultures waiting to target people who are just here for the show? As I plummeted towards the massive shoulders of the looming Foundation statue at The Sanctuary, I realised I could land there – and hopefully alone.

For a brief moment, I was. But, inevitably, another Looper joined me on the stone statue’s head, and I figured that was it. With no loot up here, it would either be a pickaxe battle to the death, or I could fly off, either way probably missing the imminent fireworks show.

As I clung, nervously, to my pickaxe, Absenz (from the paid-for Voidlander skin pack) headed towards me… and opened his arms for an embrace. This Bear Hug Emote allows the other player – whether they have the Emote in their locker or not – to interact, and both avatars hug it out. So I did, and we did, we watched the fireworks together, danced, and I was filled with joy. It was a beautiful (and somewhat surprising) change to the toxic environment that seems to dominate gaming these days. We then dropped to the ground, and, while I wouldn’t have tried to kill him, my new friend took himself out on the nearby campfire, never to be seen again.

Making friends in Fortnite

This isn’t a new phenomenon in Fortnite, with many long-term players associating this sort of behaviour with the good-old days. However, it has become rarer as the game and its players have evolved, with so-called “toxic” Emotes – such as Laugh It Up and Take The L – favored far more in lobbies. But it seems things could be coming full circle, as content creators like Spacys bring back the friendly nature of Fortnite past.

YouTube Shorts and TikTok show what it could be like

As more and more people turn to the likes of TikTok and YouTube Shorts for short-form entertainment, gaming content creators are finding new and unique ways to adapt gaming content to this new medium. Spacys is one such creator, and has gained a massive following with their wholesome clips of just this – people hugging, befriending and even saving other Loopers in Fortnite.

One of Spacys most recent videos, I Saved Zendaya, has blown up, with over ten million views on YouTube and over 12 million on TikTok. You can watch the short video below, but, in summary, Spacys sticks up for a Looper in the new MJ skin as they are interacting with a “toxic” player fitted as Carnage. Later in the clip, Spacys comes across the Zendaya player atop a towering skybase, and instead of attempting to kill one another, they remain on the skybase together in harmony, until it is only the two of them left. I’ll let you watch the video to find out what happens then, because it really has to be seen.

I’m not crying, I’ve got something in my eye.

OK, so that might not be an everyday occurrence, but it certainly is a wholesome moment to watch. And things like this are happening in Fortnite every day. I myself have been involved in more examples than just the New Year’s Eve event. For example, there was the Looper that I saw floating down the river on a timber pine just after the new mechanic was introduced. He looked so peaceful standing there that I didn’t have the heart to shoot at him, so I waved from the river bank, as he jumped off and came to dance with me. We followed each other around for a little while before going our separate ways. While it may be no Peter Parker and MJ moment of sacrifice like in Spacys video, it certainly put a smile on my face while breaking up the monotony of killing my way through the Battle Pass.

Draw the line at teaming

OK, so there is a downside to this. When does it become teaming? Now I don’t know if people have different opinions on this or if there’s an official line, but I figure as long as you’re not directly teaming up against an opponent, then you’re fine. For example, in the above video, the MJ player snipes the opponent with no help from Spacys, so it’s fair game. So there is definitely room to enjoy a friendly moment with an opponent without it being to the detriment of others. Which, at the end of the day, is exactly what we’re trying to avoid here.

Making someone’s day

Fortnite toxicity and synced emotes

While a lot of the moments Spacys puts out are manufactured for entertainment, they have assured me that most are actually real situations. Those that aren’t? Well, Spacys says they get constant messages from people saying that their wholesome Shorts make their day – and we could all do with a bit of cheering up from time to time.

One such response to Spacys saving Zendaya comes from @solsthoughts on TikTok (watch their reaction video here). Sol is, quite rightly, overwhelmed by the actions in the clip, commenting on the lack of sights like this in the toxic gaming environment. Sol says, “I wish there were more videos like that on the internet… There’s wholesome stuff on the internet, there’s just not enough of it. And we need more of that.”

And if that ain’t the truth, I don’t know what is.


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