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Speaking at an event in London last night, Prince Harry a.k.a. the Duke of Sussex a.k.a. a very intelligent man whose worldly position is entirely down to merit, called for a ban on Fortnite.
Yep, the ginger ninja once more has certain of us thinking wistfully of the French Revolution: "bliss was it in that dawn to be alive" as Wordsworth wrote, "but to be young was very heaven." Now obviously the French Revolution went a bit wrong but what it did do was provide an early glimpse of the battle royale genre as well as various 'hunt the leader' modes.
Getting back to some version of reality, Hazza reckons this of Fortnite: "That game shouldn't be allowed. Where is the benefit of having it in your household? It's created to addict, an addiction to keep you in front of a computer for as long as possible. It's so irresponsible.
It's like waiting for the damage to be done and kids turning up on your doorsteps and families being broken down."
Wow! Those are some wild claims and note he talks about Fortnite at one remove, as if it's a bottle of meths or a crack pipe or something: what's the benefit of having it in your household?
Well mate, it's fun, and it's free, and not all of us can swan about every day on the taxpayer's money eating foie gras sandwiches. The more I think about this intervention, in the context of the country's ongoing Brexit despair and austerity policies slicing every kind of social safety net the UK has, the more grotesque and tone-deaf it is. I mean, what's more likely to be a contributing factor to families breaking down: grinding poverty and the absence of intervention schemes like Sure Start, or an escapist cartoony shooter that everyone can play for free with their mates.
This isn't the first time we've heard about Harry's gaming habits, apparently he's more of a FIFA man. "You can ask the guys: I thrash them at FIFA the whole time," he said in 2011 while serving in Afghanistan. "Exams were always a nightmare, but anything like kicking a ball around or playing PlayStation—or flying—I do generally find a little bit easier than walking, sometimes."
It's perhaps worth ending on one final point. Prince Harry was a chopper pilot in Afghanistan, and he's not exactly what I'd call a doctor of psychology. Most people who play Fortnite probably haven't killed someone, but Prince Harry has and he's pretty nonchalant about the whole thing. He even uses a gaming metaphor to explain it:
"Take a life to save a life, that's what we revolve around. If there's people trying to do bad stuff to our guys, then we'll take them out of the game."
Advice on banning video games from this guy? Call me Cynical Sid, but I think the nation's youth can do quite well without it.