Summary of “I Played ‘Fortnite’ and Figured Out the Universe”

In Fortnite Battle Royale, the world’s most popular video game, released last September and today being played by millions of people at a time, you’re dropped into the sky above a richly rendered island, 99 other players all parachuting down alongside you.
In other, similar games, this is a gruesome progression, but Fortnite renders everything with cartoony bounce; when a shot lands, the result isn’t carnage, just holographic dematerialization.
At the same time as I’ve been playing this game, I’ve been making my way through a popular science-fiction trilogy written by Liu Cixin, translated by Ken Liu, and the books have spun my evenings with Fortnite into a deeper, weirder dimension.
Once within striking distance of another player, if you don’t try your best to end their game, they will assuredly end yours.
In the beginning of each game, immediately following the parachute drop, I would often discover that another player had chosen the same landing spot as me.
In forums dedicated to Fortnite Battle Royale, some players share clips of chance alliances, and others reply glumly: “Super rare to find someone [who] won’t shoot you when you emote.” I dream of a Political Fortnite in which victory goes not to the twitchiest sniper but the most charismatic organizer, with factions forming and dissolving … I imagine the fear and thrill of seeing not one but a dozen tiny silhouettes on the far ridge-a war band sweeping fast down the hillside.
This norm isn’t absolute, of course, and it’s also a bit of a cheat, because it’s been established largely outside the game, on the message boards and streaming channels where Fortnite players gather.
The reward for players who achieve victory royale is that, in all subsequent games, they drop to the island not with a bulky parachute but a svelte parasol-a dozen murderous Mary Poppinses cutting down through the noobs.

The orginal article.