I have a question about Fortnite’s lighthouse. How does it work? There’s a light at the top, but little in the way of machinery or power sources. I wondered if the house near the lighthouse might serve as some kind of generator, but if it does it’s well concealed. Just another mystery in an island of mysteries, then. What keeps the light shining?
This is the mystery that drew me back to the lighthouse earlier this week. I’ve been reading Seashaken Houses, Tom Nancollas’ evocative tour of England’s rock lighthouses and I started wondering about the intricacies of Fortnite’s lamp. This was stupid, of course, but it doesn’t matter, because while I was off on my stupid adventure I discovered something brilliant. It’s almost a new game mode.
Do you remember Loot Lake? Loot Lake was a house sat in the middle of a lake, and it was brilliant because the same thing always happened at the start of each match. Two people would generally aim for the lake, because it was lovely, and one would end up in the attic and the other would end up in the house below. Maybe the person in the attic got a treasure chest. Maybe not. Whatever they found up there, Loot Lake would be gripped by two people living in the same space, a drama that could play out in any number of ways.
I got to thinking of it as Loot Lake Roulette. The attic was where I wanted to be, but it was so risky – hard to defend, and perhaps completely empty when it came to weaponry. A gamble!
So anyway, earlier this week I landed at the lighthouse. I normally land on the roof and work my way down, but I was being methodical this time so I landed outside and worked my way up. Inside the lighthouse is a tight coil of stairs with weapons and treasure chests generally scattered about. Halfway up the stairs I realised that, chances are, there was someone on the roof. There is almost always a chest on the roof, but also it’s just such a pleasant thing to land on people find it hard to resist. I suddenly realised that I was probably heading up to a confrontation. And it reminded me of those old Loot Lake moments, those moments I miss so much. Someone downstairs, someone upstairs. Who wins?
Except with the lighthouse it’s even better. For one thing, the place is generally stuffed with weaponry. For another, there’s almost no space so you’re going to have to think fast. For another final thing, that staircase is long, man. A lot of time to think about what lies ahead.
I have played Lighthouse Roulette several times now. Early results suggest that it’s much better to land on the roof, but that it’s much more thrilling to land downstairs and do the climb. I think there’s something very potent about Fortnite lurking in here. This is a game that has exploded the number of ways you can play, the number of personal objectives and ambitions you can hold in your mind. Where next?