There's been a lot of hand-wringing in the television industry as executives attempt to predict what impact the COVID-19 shutdowns will have on viewing habits. There is some anecdotal evidence that audiences are seeking programs that are less confrontational and more comforting to the the soul. But I think it's still not clear whether these are long-terms viewing changes or just a reflection of everyone's collective weariness with the pandemic, the economy and an upcoming election.
It's also not clear what impact the pandemic is having on the gaming industry, other than giving teens a lot more free time to practice their Fortnite skills. But the surprise success of the new game Fall Guys suggests that even gamers are looking for games that are a bit more gentle in spirit while still providing the required level of excitement and skill.
Fall Guys is a Battle Royale-type game, in the same genre as Fortnite, Apex Legends and Call Of Duty: Warzone. The goal in all of these games is to be the last person standing from a group of hundreds or thousands of other players. This winnowing down of players is accomplished in a number of different ways but the primary one usually involves shooting or otherwise killing the other players. Fall Guys has a very chill vibe, with the player elimination being accomplished by a series of mini-games. Rather than killing other players, these games include running, pushing and otherwise being one of the top players in the round, which qualifies you for the next mini-game. And eventually, for the win.
Another wrinkle in Fall Guys is that some of the mini-games require you to partner up with other players in order to advance to the next level. Players are randomly assigned to groups, which live or die on the results of how well they accomplish the task of the mini-game. That differs from most other Battle Royale games, which allow you to play in teams, but generally encourage you to play with people you know.
There are a lot more laughs in Fall Guys than the typical Battle Royale game and it all just seems more innocent and fun. And maybe for that reason, the game has quickly developed a rabid fanbase since its release in early August. Which is surprising given that for now the game is only available for PC and Playstation. But there are already hundreds of Fall Guys play-through videos on YouTube, which is a good way to gauge a game's success in capturing the zeitgeist of the fickle teen gaming market.
This is the first ever AYS Weekly Teen Gaming Column, written by AYS Jr. editor Sam Ellis. I'm at AYS HQ and working through this with the help of Fortnite and allergies.
These are the biggest gaming news from the past week:
The first story I'm going to cover in this week's column is the deal with Apple and Google taking Fortnite off of their app stores because of payment issues. One thing I noticed is that around the day it happened, Epic Games (the game's creator) decided to lower the V-bucks prices by 20%. According to Gamespot, Epic Games said that Apple has "retaliated ferociously", and filed for a temporary restraining order towards the company. Gamespot has an article about the whole #freefortnite situation.
Apex Legends, competitor of Fortnite, is launching it's 6th season soon, and it's bringing changes to the World's End map. The thing about the Fortnite Reboot vans is that they took the inspiration of Apex's reboot system, and put it into a van in the game.
One of the developers of the up and rising game Fall Guys warns people about scams for a non-existent mobile version, which the devs plan not to release one for now, as it's only playable on PC and Playstation.
This is all for this week. I am testing this column as a new idea for the site, and based on how this does, I may write more of these.
Sam Ellis is a 15-year-old spending part of the pandemic learning about journalism.