What’s more important….Fortnite, or an education?

The Badger’s never played Fortnite and has never really embraced gaming as a natural pastime, so the recent Fortnite World Championships – apparently one of the top 10 ‘eSport’ events of 2019 – have been an education!

Apart from playing an occasional motor racing game on X-Box with younger family members when pestered to do so, the Badger’s gaming experience centres on Space Invaders, Asteroids, Flight Simulator, and Pac-Man from decades ago. Today games are much more sophisticated, addictive money-making machines and gaming is big business. In 2018, for example, consumers apparently spent $43 billion in the USA alone. It’s also yet another reminder of how hardware and software has rapidly developed and changed personal entertainment.

Video and computer gaming have never been part of the Badger’s lifestyle, but it clearly is for many millennials and post-millennials. That’s fine…after all, every generation is different! However, as parents we should always worry if our offspring are seduced into spending many, many hours a day gaming. Responsible parents, of course, always try to inject balance and common sense, even when rebellious offspring may not be receptive. It’s important to persevere now that gaming has morphed into ‘eSport’ with life-changing amounts of prize money winnable by youngsters whose adult life experience is limited.

In the Fortnite World Championships a 16-year old from Pennsylvania won $3m and a 15-year old Brit has pocketed close to £1m. Yesterday morning the Badger listened to a radio interview with the 15-year old and his mother with a mixture of horror and pride. Horror that the youngster spends up to 10 hours a day playing the game, and pride that his mother has fought hard to make sure he concentrates on schoolwork and getting a good education. Even though her son has won a lot of money, his mother didn’t sound as if she’d be backing off from insisting her son concentrates on his education. Good on her!

The interview also triggered a question from the Badger’s wife! The one in the title of this blog item. The Badger’s answer? Education, obviously. Why, she asked, given the speed with which the world and society is changing and you’re a dinosaur? That last bit hurt! The Badger’s answer was this. Because education arms people with the widest set of interests, awareness, skills and tools to help survive the broad rigours of real life in a modern society, and Fortnite doesn’t. With education your life can go in many different directions, as the Badger has found. Without it comes vulnerability, especially in such a fast-changing world.

The Badger’s wife just smiled. She suggested that since the Badger was already educated, he should invent an eSport for ‘the dinosaur generation’! Now there’s a thought…didn’t see that coming.

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