It’s no secret that as you get older, you become less attuned to popular music. Your tastes change with your maturing personality, and you become less concerned about keeping up with what’s new. You may even experience something called “taste freeze,” in which you gravitate back to the music of your adolescence because of the strong emotions it stirs.

I’ve never had the same feeling about video games until I started playing Fortnite, the free-for-all multiplayer shooter which has transcended mere popularity to become a global phenomenon. Perhaps you’ve heard the stories by now: Kids sneaking in Fortnite sessions on their phones during school, huddling around Xboxes to play at home instead of watching major sporting events, and spending countless hours observing other people play on Twitch and YouTube. Celebrities such as Chance the Rapper and Joe Jonas have admitted they’re obsessed with the game, and athletes have started incorporating Fortnite characters’ celebratory dances into their own victory routines. Some sports figures have even fended off accusations that their Fortnite play is affecting their real-life performance.

Your author playing a video game in 1985. [Photo courtesy of Jared Newman]

It’s hard to reconcile all of this with my difficulty forming an attachment to the game. Although I’ve been playing video games for more than 30 years—that would be since the age of two and a half—my enjoyment of Fortnite plateaued after a handful of hours.

And to be clear, it’s not the game. It’s me.

I can at least appreciate Fortnite for being a fun multiplayer game, which builds on…