I have written and deleted the first sentence of this article around twenty times….. This is because I am dumbfounded, absolutely lost for words. How does something like this happen without consultation?
In what can only be described as a pathetic attempt to educate the next generation on the wonders that Martin Luther King accomplished in his lifetime.
Fortnite had a dream, a painful fever dream, where Rick Sanchez, Thanos and Goku could one day sit together by the Lincoln Memorial and listen to one of the most eminent figures of the 20th century deliver his iconic speech.
If you’ve made it this far, you probably have a lot of questions. Please,allow me to explain, Times Magazine and Epic Games had the brilliant idea that the best way to celebrate the anniversary of Dr King’s exemplary speech was by broadcasting it to millions of players in Fortnite.
This at first could be seen as a harmless attempt for older generations to broaden their horizons and connect to younger people through their own platforms. However, the whole event had an inappropriate feel to it, some believing the whole exhibition to be a poor attempt at satire.
The event started with players in a black space with a large cover of Times Magazine presented in front of them. The Times Cover acted as a portal where players could run onto the Lincoln memorial, where Dr King's speech was presented on a large screen. Please click on the link below for a walkthrough of the event.
The issue with this event is not with what they did, in terms of a virtual exhibition highlighting Dr King’s life I believe that they did an excellent job. A lot of time and money had clearly gone into designing the event and all the displays and scenery were aesthetically pleasing.
The issue lies with the platform they decided to do it on.
Gaming has a trolling culture, it goes together like butter on toast. No game quite highlights this culture to the extent that Fortnite does, especially through their emotes.
Although the main parts of the gameplay were stopped, players could still wear their skins of popular characters and emotes which just made the whole display distasteful.
There is a reason that many events have dress codes and attire, it sets the mood and tone of the event as well as an element of seriousness. I imagine that many participants of Fortnite’s event could not quite take in the magnitude of what Dr King was saying nor the effect that it had, while players flossed and breakdanced in Travis Scott attire. To add insult to injury Epic Games was actually sued for copying dances by Black creators for their emotes in the game without any credit or compensation.
I would say the event was a complete disaster with many wondering why anyone would attempt to do it in the first place. Hopefully Time Magazine and Epic Studios have learnt that there's a time and a place for such occasions but who knows what they'll do next.