A boy plays the video game Fortnite. (Frank May/Picture-Alliance/DPA/AP)

Many are frustrated with their significant others again, but this time it’s not about forgetting to put the toilet seat down or letting hair clog up the shower drain.

Women have taken to social media and started petitions calling for a ban on Fortnite, a wildly popular video game that has robbed them of attention from their significant others who are too engrossed in a fictional “Hunger Games”-esque world to return calls or text messages.

Or so these petitions allege.

“It’s taking over our boyfriends lives and brainwashing them,” petitioner Chloe DePalma wrote on change.org.

As of early Friday, the petition, which is aptly titled “Get rid of fortnite,” had received more than 500 signatures and aims to reach 1,000.

DePalma’s public plea for action is lighting a fire under many other “neglected girlfriends,” who have since decided they also need to do something to get their men back, leading to the creation of similar petitions.

While some just lament waiting forever to get a text back, others have taken a much stronger stance against the game.

“Our crushes, significant others, and/or siblings have been corrupted by this game,” one petitioner wrote. “You thought they were listening to your story this whole time? NOPE! They were focused on Fortnite.”

Another had a simple request: “Save your relationship.”

Fear not. Fortnite is in no danger from these petitions, which are only half-serious, anyway. The game has had as many as 3.4 million people playing simultaneously. Its fan base is global.

On a personal note, as a member of the “neglected girlfriend” population, I have to say that after seven unanswered calls over a span of more than three hours, the idea of Fortnite disappearing does have an appeal.

When my boyfriend got sucked into the Fortnite frenzy not long ago, I was pretty confused and, frankly, not amused.


A conversation between the writer and her boyfriend. (Text message image)

I thought: How on Earth could a video game be that exciting? Why is he so obsessed with it? I rapidly researched the game to find out just what I was competing with. Before you label me as a crazy girlfriend, ask yourself this: If your significant other was disappearing for hours on end, wouldn’t you also be a little concerned? Wouldn’t you want to know why?


A conversation between the writer’s boyfriend and his brother. (Text message screenshot)

My deep dive into Google took me to countless articles and game reviews, but it was only after watching a YouTube video of professional gamer “Ninja” (a.k.a. Tyler Blevins) that an answer revealed itself.

Fortnite is fun. Fortnite makes your pulse race.

Even watching someone else play got mine going. At some points, I felt myself shifting in my seat to “dodge” bullets. When Ninja’s avatar approached a supply package that had been dropped in the middle of an open field, it took every ounce of my being not to scream at him to take cover.

It is a “truly engaging experience,” Andrew Reid, a doctoral researcher of serious games at Scotland’s Glasgow Caledonian University, said in an article on the school’s website.

First launched by Epic Games in July as a console and PC game, the Fortnite franchise’s rise seemed to happen overnight. A cross between a shooting game and Minecraft — a game in which users build their own worlds — Fortnite players not only have to fight each other but also need to find resources to build shelters and navigate the game’s terrain. While the game has several playing modes, the most popular way to play is “battle royale,” a free 100-person fight to the death that leaves only one survivor, the victor. Fortnite Battle Royale was released as a stand-alone game in September.

To put that in perspective, that means there are 99 chances for your character to die. If you don’t think that’s enough of a challenge, the game area is also constantly shrinking, which makes it that much harder to avoid other players.

Faced with this situation, it’s no surprise people can’t take a few seconds to answer their phones or respond to a text.

That doesn’t make it any less frustrating.

One Twitter user posted an image of a text from someone playing Fortnite that read “I’m hiding in a bush to text you back.” The tweet was accompanied with the caption “romance isn’t dead.”

This tweet spurred a flurry of responses, as others started asking their loved ones if they do the same.

When asked, some even took it as an opportunity to brag about their Fortnite skills, as one person responded with “I text you with one hand while running around.”

After finding these tweets, I immediately texted my boyfriend to ask whether he ever made such sacrifices for me. Unfortunately, I didn’t receive a response before this article published. Maybe he started a round of Fortnite. Who knows?

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