ABSTRACT: This article examines the online multi-player game Fortnite: Battle Royale as a modernday representation of sacrificial rites. It is argued that Fortnite: Battle Royale constitutes a simulation of a sacrificial rite due to its gameplay mechanics. In the game, the players need to kill each other off and come out victorious. As such, the players need to recognise themselves in opposition to others, exterminate those others, and sacrifice their innocence in the process. As conceptualised by R. Girard, this experience of a sacrificial rite constitutes a form of social education and conditioning. Such experiences are predominantly represented in the genre of Bildungsroman: coming-of-age stories that concern a literal or metaphorical rite of passage from childhood to adulthood. In Fortnite: Battle Royale, the psychological effect of this conditioning is amplified due to the medium-specific affordance of having the player as both the spectator and the spectacle of the sacrifice; namely, the player watches themselves being offered as a sacrifice while trying to overcome the trial. In this regard, Fortnite: Battle Royale follows and expands on the tradition of the Bildungsroman establishing a new take on the genre that is thereby termed Bildungsspiel – a coming-of-age game.
KEY WORDS: battle royale games, Bildungsroman, Fortnite, mimetic desire, René Girard, sacrificial rites, spectacle.View full article