“Fortnite doesn’t hold a candle to my boyhood games of ‘fort night,’” reads the subhead for a recent column at the Wall Street Journal. In it, Charlotte, North Carolina attorney Mike Kerrigan laments that his kids don’t do the same sorts of things for fun that he used to when he was their age. To make his argument, Kerrigan takes Fortnite’s name very literally, and the internet is having fun doing the same.
“Fortnite doesn’t seem fun,” Kerrigan writes. “It just can’t be as entertaining as the real thing. By real thing I don’t mean the combat featured in the game. I mean a memorable activity from the summer of 1980, when I was 9. I mean, quite literally, ‘fort night.’”
And what, you may wonder, is a “fort night?”
“With nothing but a couch, a bedsheet, a broom and a T-shirt, we reveled in the wonder of boyhood. Our joy was pure because it flowed directly from the indispensable and most precious thing a child possesses: imagination.”
Meanwhile the internet has been reveling in Kerrigan’s linguistic games. Proving that imagination isn’t the sole province of children, people on Twitter fired back:
Grand Theft Auto doesn't hold a candle to my boyhood games of 'being charged with grand theft auto' https://t.co/pI5lA9w32e
— Jake Baldino (@JakeBaldino) June 25, 2019
street fighter doesn’t hold a candle to punching a car all night
— Kurt Angle's Thesis (@ZaaackKoootzer) June 25, 2019
pokémon doesn't hold a candle to my boyhood games of "make a snake fight a duck"
— andrew webster (@A_Webster) June 25, 2019
Minecraft doesn't hold a candle to my boyhood nights rowing through the harbor with muffled oars and the boat loaded to the gunwales with explosive devices, as we set out to "mine craft"
— Tom Scocca (@tomscocca) June 25, 2019
call of duty doesn't hold a candle to my boyhood games of 'fighting in world war II'
— raina douris (@RahRahRaina) June 25, 2019
Mortal Kombat doesn't hold a candle to my boyhood days as a serial killer. No video game can ever match that real-life feeling of ripping a whole spine out of a man's neck hole or holding his still-beating heart in your hands as he collapses to the ground.
— Rob Sheridan (@rob_sheridan) June 25, 2019
Cuphead doesn’t hold a candle to my boyhead games of “cup head” https://t.co/p3VtIkZ1rL
— Tim “??” Barribeau (@tbarribeau) June 25, 2019
Tomb Raider doesn’t hold a candle to my boyhood games of robbing actual graves.
— Rorenado (@Rorenado) June 25, 2019
candyland doesn’t hold a candle to my boyhood games of “eating candy on land” https://t.co/AngUlAiU0x
— ziwe (@ziwe) June 25, 2019
Fortnite doesn't hold a candle to my boyhood memories of this game literally taking a fortnight to load successfully... pic.twitter.com/sECZq1lSmN
— Ros Jones (@rozjonez) June 25, 2019
Fort Night doesn't hold a candle to Fortnite, writes John Kerrigan 30-years from now, bunkered with his children in a post-apocalyptic fort https://t.co/EQbECiWdIF
— Hard Drive (@HardDriveMag) June 25, 2019
“I hope my boys never lose sight of life’s simple joys,” Kerrigan writes near the end of his column. “I hope someday they have their own stories to tell and look back as fondly on their childhood as I do on mine.”
They’ll certainly have this one.