Fortnite flips the table on haters by selling a 'dead game' shirt

Fortnite's 'dead game' shirt.
(Image credit: Epic)
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Fortnite flips the table on haters by selling a 'dead game' shirt

Something of an Epic comeback.

There is a meme that afflicts almost all games that become big enough, and the biggest get it worst of all. Look at the responses when the League of Legends or CS: GO or (especially) Fortnite tweets out some patch notes or a new addition to the game and you will, invariably, find the same two words over and over in the comments: dead game.

As with any language that acquires this kind of traction online, it's near-impossible to untangle the meaning from the mantra and the symbolism. The literal meaning should be a game where there's no significant player population, it's stagnant, and it's only a matter of time before the servers shut down. But usage of 'dead game' doesn't reflect this at all: in fact, it's applied to the most vibrant, populous and frequently updated titles out there.

The phrase is used both humorously and as some sort of rebuke, and will appear regardless of the specific announcement: Fortnite could announce it was giving every player $100 for free tomorrow, and the first reply would probably be 'dead game'.

While I wouldn't count myself as an active player of Fortnite anymore, I continue to admire the ambition with which Epic continues to build-out and add to this world. And now it's turned around, with all its reach and resources, and with a straight face has begun selling a character skin featuring a shirt that says 'dead game' (thanks, Polygon).

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The 'Checkered Past' pack has this skin for the player character Veronika, and you've just got to love the chutzpah here. It's also knowingly cheap, going for a mere 600 V-bucks, and comes with black nail polish and a checked hat, as well as a variety of other items including a skull that looks furious about its bones being checkered.

I think I've still got some V-bucks and, next time I load the game up, this is gonna be the only way to play. There really is no better retort to 'dead game' than turning around and selling a virtual shirt with that printed on it, and knowing it will sell like hotcakes. GGWP Epic.

Rich is a games journalist with 15 years' experience, beginning his career on Edge magazine before working for a wide range of outlets, including Ars Technica, Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, Gamespot, the Guardian, IGN, the New Statesman, Polygon, and Vice. He was the editor of Kotaku UK, the UK arm of Kotaku, for three years before joining PC Gamer. He is the author of a Brief History of Video Games, a full history of the medium, which the Midwest Book Review described as "[a] must-read for serious minded game historians and curious video game connoisseurs alike."