Freshman gamer displays extraordinary skill playing “Fortnite”

Auston Gonzalez, Editor in chief

Shots are fired from the northeast. His hands become sweaty as the footsteps grow louder and louder. He slaps up several walls before a rocket is fired directly toward him. After a long-fought battle, he takes down the opposing player to obtain his 20th elimination of the match.

Freshman Charley Pavlick’s daily routine is similar to that of most teenagers. After he attends school and basketball practice, he heads to his house to complete his homework. Then, he fires up his gaming computer and begins to load “Fortnite,” the most popular video game to date.

Pavlick has shown prodigious skill, similar to that of well-known players on social media and gaming platforms.

“My friend about a year ago wanted to play with me, so I got on and then right when I got on I knew that it was a good game so I decided to be a gamer,” Pavlick said. “I just started playing from there on.”

A third-person-combat battle royale, Epic Games’ “Fortnite” has taken off in popularity during the past year. As of November, the game boasted more than 200 million players and Epic Games had generated more than $1 billion in revenue.

“The difference with ‘Fortnite’ is that you actually build in it,” Pavlick said, “which is different from all the other games.”

Originally an Xbox player, Pavlick transitioned to using a gaming PC.

“Console is too difficult for me because of the joysticks. It’s too hard for me to move around. With PC it’s easy with the mouse and keyboard. It just runs better. On weekends I play from two to five hours each day. On weekdays, I usually have basketball, but if I don’t, then I play around two hours.”

Twitch, a live-streaming video platform used largely for gaming, has attracted millions of viewers. Each of the 250 most-viewed streamers on Twitch primarily play “Fortnite.” Streamers have made up to $350,000 a month as they increase in popularity.

Myriad tournaments have been held by both Epic Games and outside companies, with winners earning thousands and even millions of dollars in some instances. Pavlick said he doesn’t wish to stream in the future, but tournament play may be in his plans.

“I don’t really like to stream anymore,” Pavlick said. “I used to a little, but I would play in tournaments just because they’re more fun than playing a normal game. It’s actually competitive. I probably wouldn’t want to make money, but if I had the chance to or were asked to, then I might try. Now because I play ‘Fortnite’ at home, I can interact with my friends and be a gamer at the same time.”

Junior Joshua Freeman frequently competes against Pavlick.

“I like playing with Charley because he’s really good at the game and he’s funny,” Freeman said. “I play basketball with him sometimes because he is on the JV team. Being able to interact with him at school and in the game is a fun experience. It’s pretty epic.”

Senior Alex Nixon said Pavlick’s ability surprised him.

“I played a game with him where he had 15 eliminations and won the game,” Nixon said. “Three of us on his team died, and there was a situation where it was him against four people. He killed all of them individually. To win the game, it was him against three others. He was really low on health and killed them all with no help. It was really impressive.”

Although playing “Fortnite” remains a hobby for Pavlick, there is potential for him to further his interest.

“I think he can definitely play in tournaments,” Nixon said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if Charley goes viral from a clip on ‘Fortnite.’ I think if he has the opportunity to compete for money, he definitely should.”