Fortnite Bootcamp – Impress Your Kid Or At Least Not Embarrass Yourself

The Dad Gaming League’s first event is Fortnite, on August 21. Sign up now to reserve your spot on the Battle Bus.

The first gaming event we held was a custom Fortnite match in a private lobby of about 10 dads playing. People were randomly squaded up, everyone was laughing, getting along, even making friends. It reminded me of the old days playing Goldeneye with my buddies, except these were members of our internet community who didn’t know each other, and were 100s of miles apart. That spirit of comradery is what’s behind the whole The Dad Gaming community – giving dads a fun excuse to take a break, get away, and play games with cool people.

Epic snack-makers Planters knows this better than anyone, and they love the community spirit; so we squaded up to launch a full-fledged The Dad Gaming League. This monthly competition will champion that essence of fun and “anyone can play” spirit. (So you don’t have to be good to win a prize.)

However, if you’re brand new to Fortnite and you don’t want to embarrass yourself too hard -or if you’re pretty decent and looking for a couple of areas to work on- we’ve got you covered. Any dad’s path to leveling up starts here.

These tips start for the newbiest of newbs, and gradually get more advanced. Start at the beginning. Once your eyes start to glaze over, take a break, pop some Planters, and jump onto the Battle Bus. Because the best way to get better at any game is to lose A LOT.

QUICK OVERVIEW OF HOW FORTNITE WORKS

Fortnite is a quintessential Battle Royale game. This genre of game is that a large group of online players drop into the same world, called the map, and fight it out. When someone is eliminated, they’re done. So the number of players in the game continues to drop throughout the match. To keep it interesting, there is a storm that will damage you closing in on the island, making the play area smaller and smaller as time goes on.

You drop onto the island empty-handed, so you want to immediately find some weapons, powerups and other items to help you thrive and survive. Unfortunately, there are no Planters Pop and Pours on the Battle Island.

LINGO

There is a lot of shorthand dads use when squadded up. These terms were completely lost on me when I started and it made things very confusing. So if you’re starting fresh, here’s your first real advantage:

Battle Bus – This is your entry to the island. At the top of each round, you choose when to jump off the bus and parachute to where you want to land.

Circle – The playing area. This is where the storm hasn’t closed in yet, and it shrinks every few minutes or so.

Slurp – This is the neon blue health substance found in “pots” and scattered in lakes and rivers throughout the map. It heals you over time, not all at once.

Full Pot – This is a “Large Health” item. It’s a big blue jar of “Slurp.”

Mini -This is a “Small Health” item. It’s a small vial of Slurp.

AR – Just like in real life, this is what we call those bigass fast shooting guns.

Engage – Confront another player or team in battle. It’s a big map at first, so you don’t always have to fight. Engagement is a choice…for a time.

Final Circle – This is the endgame, when the storm has zeroed in extremely tight, and all remaining players are thrown together in sweet chaos.

Bot – This is an AI enemy who appears to be another player in the game, but is basically just a dummy to fill out the map and make you feel like you actually got some kills.

Skin – This is the term for how your character looks. You can buy or earn various skins that include character designs and costumes.

Default – This is what we call the basic no-investment character mold. If you log on for the first time and hit play without swapping anything, you’re playing as Default.

TACTICS

SURVIVE
Hide!  First things first, don’t get shot right away. Hang out on the Battle Bus a little bit and then when you do jump out, land where other people don’t usually tend to go right away. It’ll take a few rounds to learn all the locations, but if it looks like a big structure or base, it probably has a lot of items to snag….but a lot of other people will be interested in trying for them.

The first time I played Fortnite was at my wife’s friend’s house. There was a 10-year-old there who was nonstop talking crap to me about how I was a “noob” and he was better than me at Fortnite. I challenged him to see who could last the longest. He landed, got some eliminations, but finished 40 or so?

On the other hand, I strategically rode the Battle Bus as long as I could, dropped far away, and proceeded to sneak around, hiding at every place I could, always searching for predators.

Eventually, someone found me, engaged, and I was quickly eliminated. But I got 6th. (Now who’s the noob?) Usually, you’ll need to be pretty decent at offense to finish in the top ten. But I’ve found for beginners, the easiest way to finish top 25 is hiding. DEFENSE WINS CHAMPIONSHIPS.

WATCH THE STORM
Hang out on the outer reaches of the circle. Move-in as the storm gets smaller.

When you’re on the outside of the playing area, you don’t have to watch your back as much, because you know people will be less likely to sneak up behind you.

Watch the clock, though, and be ready to move. The circle doesn’t shrink automatically, but the Storm does move faster than you do.

STAY SNACKED UP
A single Battle Royale can last about 20 minutes. As any kid who has been asked to turn off their video game mid-game will tell you, you do not want to quit during a match. Keep snacks handy. Planters Pop and Pour is ideal here. It allows one-handed snack consumption and keeps the controller clean. I kind of think it was designed with dad gamers in mind.

DON’T BE SO QUICK TO ENGAGE
Learn the “Third Party” strategy. If you see multiple players or squads, let two groups fight it out and be the third party there to clean up at the end. This was called “pickin’ cherries” back in my Halo days, but what was dishonorable for the Master Chief is a sound strategy in Fortnite.

READY TO ENGAGE? LEARN TO ATTACK BY PLAYING TEAM RUMBLE
It takes lots of battles to learn the proper way to engage and how to be more accurate. Try playing the Team Rumble game mode to get a feel for combat. Battle Royale means once your out, you’re out. In Team Rumble, when you get eliminated you automatically respawn and you’re back in the action, giving you lots more experience at eliminating (and being eliminated). It’s not the most satisfying game mode, but it helps you learn.

LEARN THE WEAPONS, PERFECT YOUR LOADOUT
You’ll want a variety of weapon types, as well as healing items, but there are only so many item slots available. There’s also a color-coding system to how powerful each weapon is. In ascending order, they are: grey, green, blue, purple, orange.

JUMPING AS A DEFENSE MECHANISM
To avoid being sniped, some more advanced players jump all the time. They’ll jump across an open field like Mary freakin’ Poppins. I was always the type who’d rather not be so noticeable. But jumping is a great defense against attacks, especially close range. Start panicking? Start jumping. You may just make it out.

AMMO MANAGEMENT
I am a terrible shot. I can spray and spray and not land a single hit. So then when I have to reload and the opponent is engaging me, it can feel like a lifetime. One thing I started doing to help is I will take my favorite weapon choice, and put two of them right next to each other in my loadout. So if I empty one of them, instead of reloading, I just switch the other and keep firing. Essentially gives you double the ammo without reloading.

It is also possible to use this technique with Pop and Pour snack containers.

KEEP WATCHING AFTER YOU GET ELIMINATED
When you’re out, you’ll get to spectate the person who got ya. Keep watching and you might pick up on some strategies or tips. Sit back with your Pop and Pour, and watch it like a movie.

LEARN TO BUILD
You’ll notice this tip isn’t even in here until number 10. Dads notoriously don’t like Fortnite as much as other first-person shooters because of the building. A common joke is you fire a single shot and your opponent instantly has a five-star hotel. It can be frustrating when you don’t know how to do it. (Which is why we host a weekly no building event.) But you can use it to your advantage with very little effort. Simply learning to build a ramp will help you access much more loot, and it’s a simple two-button press. The same goes for building a vertical wall. If you can get used to quickly pressing those two buttons, you can throw one up as an opponent engages you. That simple wall will save a lot of damage and buy you some time.

And most importantly:

HAVE FUN, BOND WITH YOUR KID
I had a Nintendo as a kid and I loved it. But my dad never played video games with me. No big deal. But now, as a parent, the only reason I have a video game system is so I can play with my kids. It’s a bonding tool.

My son is super into Fortnite skins, while I proudly remain “a default.” But since he is so into them, I’ll gladly play with him to beat the season challenges and unlock new skins for him. We collaborate with each other as a team, we chat, we laugh, we have a blast.

Sure, he enjoys it now because he gets to unlock some new skins. I enjoy it because I’m spending quality time with my kid doing something he loves. I know it may sound far fetched to non-gamers, but I truly believe that when he is an adult, he’ll look back with fondness at the times his dad helped him beat Fortnite challenges to unlock skins. And those parent/kid moments, the unforgettable memories… that’s what it’s all about.

This article and The Dad Gaming League are sponsored by Planters. Enjoy delicious snacks without gunking up your controller with Planters Pop and Pour.

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Planters

New Virtual Camp Aims To Make Gamers Healthier

Virtual Camp for Gamers
(Hybrid ATX)

Gaming. One of the most historically popular methods of leisure. Its benefits are countless: learn problem-solving and social skills, improve focus, memory, and hand-eye coordination. Don’t forget the improvement of relationships. Video games are great! But they do sometimes have negative side effects, be they controller-smashing fits of rage, or addiction, which can lead to lapses in a proper diet, exercise, and exposure to sunlight.

But it doesn’t have to be that way! Now there’s a virtual day camp called Hybrid ATX, where kids can learn healthy habits to amass alongside their gaming ones. Video games foster discipline, and that discipline can easily be used to pick up valuable life skills, according to camp founder Sam Gonzalez.

“We are going to lead by example,” said the 28-year-old Navy veteran in a recent interview. “To show that just because you play video games doesn’t mean you’re rotting your brain and you’re gonna die fat and lonely,”

(Spectrum News)

Along with a team of counselors, kids aged 11-15 can play video games while learning about proper nutrition, the importance of emotional intelligence, and ways to nurture their physical well-being under quarantine. Here you can see Sam leading a group in some jumping jacks, a perfect way to kill time during those pesky load screens.

(Spectrum News)

Hybrid ATX, whose slogan is “Building Better Gamers,” also offers kids lessons on the history and evolution of video games, and teaches them about the industry’s wide array of career opportunities. It’s an inclusive, uplifting environment, dedicated to showing kids that gaming can be a tool for positive change and growth and not just a means for saying abhorrent things to strangers on Xbox Live.

“There’s a lot of online toxicity, raging and really unhealthy behavior that happens,” Sam continued. “So we are looking at how to teach them 1) not to contribute to that, and 2) remove them from that when they see it.”

(Spectrum News)

Now if can just offer a course on showing adult Animal Crossing enthusiasts how to channel their focus into real, actual housework, we’ll be golden.

You can check out the Hybrid ATX website right here, where you can find info about a free orientation week for students!

4-Year-Old Celebrates Cancer Remission With Beautiful Photos

4-year-old beats cancer, celebrates with photoshoot
(instagram/kris_bowden)

There are so many things that we prepare for as parents. We prepare to be sleep deprived for a while, we prepare to send our kids off to school, and one day, maybe even walk them down the aisle at their wedding. One thing we don’t prepare for though (because honestly, it’s too painful to even consider), is for our kids to get sick. In March of 2020, the Bowden family faced the unimaginable – their beautiful, smiley, 4-year-old daughter Lula Beth was diagnosed with cancer.

After visiting the doctor, the family was told that Lula had a Wilms tumor on her kidney, a tumor that turned out to be football-sized. To treat the stage 2 cancer as aggressively as possible, Lula’s tumor was removed along with her kidney. Following the incredibly taxing surgery, the brave little girl faced 13 rounds of chemotherapy in just 22 weeks.

“She flawlessly got through them all and remained the light in our family,” Lula’s mom Kristin Bowden told Good Morning America. “She has not complained once and graciously completed her course.”

In just four short years, Lula has endured more than many of us will endure in our entire lives. Her strength, bravery, and positivity inspired both her family and the world. On August 28, 2020, the Bowden family got the news they’d so desperately needed – Lula was cancer-free.

To celebrate Lula’s journey and clean bill of health, Kristin Bowden, a photogropher, staged a stunning photoshoot. The powerful photos have spread across social media platforms, drawing both support and congratulations from around the world.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

She did it!!! CANCER FREE 😭🧡😍

A post shared by Kristin Bowden (@kris_bowden) on

Lula, smiling in a brightly-colored dress fit for a queen, holds up a sign. The sign reads, “It came. We fought. I won.” In just six words, Lula tells a touching story. Her smile shows the world that her spirit is stronger and brighter than ever, even after all she’s endured.
Kristin continues to document the emotional journey, with a more recent photo celebrating the removal of Lula’s port – a tube put in place to make it easier for doctors to deliver intravenous medication and fluid.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

HER PORT IS OUT! She is D O N E!

A post shared by Kristin Bowden (@kris_bowden) on

Kristin shared an important reminder on Instagram, telling her followers that “No one has a free pass in this life.” Lula’s photos remind us that we are stronger than we think we are – that though we all face challenges in life, we can come out the other side, our smiles wider and brighter than ever.

Star-Studded Table Read of ‘Fast Times at Ridgemont High’ Happening Tonight

Fast Times at Ridgemont High Table Read
(Youtube/Entertainment Tonight)

Though the past several months have been a new level of rough, a lot of exciting things have risen from the ashes. Our favorite places are closed, our favorite activities are postponed indefinitely – but the good news is, everyone is in the same boat. We’ve had to explore new ways of staying entertained, and at times, invent our own. Fortunately, so have our favorite celebrities, often in the form of virtual table reads and cast reunions from some extremely nostalgic movies and TV shows.

A decade after its release, the Scott Pilgrim vs. The World cast came together for a hilarious table read that brought us back to a time when finishing our popcorn too quickly was our only movie theater concern. For the ultimate nostalgia trip, Malcolm in the Middle’s cast re-read the script of their very first episode 20 years later, which felt more like a family reminiscing than some actual family reunions I’ve attended. The latest volunteers offering to take us back to simpler times are a lineup of celebrities doing a virtual table read of the quintessential coming-of-age movie, Fast Times At Ridgemont High.

Nearly 40 years ago, Fast Times At Ridgemont High took us on a journey through the unforgettable real-life experiences of writer Cameron Crowe, who adapted the movie from his book. Crowe chronicled his experiences as he went undercover as a high school student in San Diego, and brought the wide range of characters he interacted with to life once again in his classic film. We met everyone’s favorite stoner, Jeff Spicoli (played by Sean Penn), the archetypal hard-ass teacher Mr. Hand (Ray Walston), and a host of other teens just trying to come into their own without getting in too much trouble.

Now, Comedians Dane Cook and Ivan Dudynsky assembled a star-studded cast who signed on not only to give us some much-needed entertainment, but to benefit nonprofit organizations like Sean Penn’s foundation, CORE, and the REFORM Alliance – both of which help fight the spread of COVID-19. The list of celebrities taking part includes Jennifer Aniston, Brad Pitt, Jimmy Kimmel, Morgan Freeman, Shia LaBeouf, Matthew McConaughey, and Julia Roberts, and more surprises are definitely in store. The table read is part of Dane Cook’s “Feelin’A-Live” fundraiser, which will stream on September 17 at 9 pm ET on CORE’s Facebook Page. Learn it, know it, don’t miss it.

Dad Returns Snarky Birthday Card to Son 28 Years Later

Dad Returns Birthday Card After Decades
(Twitter/robwitts)

Birthdays are the universal equalizer. No matter who you are, where you’re from – everyone in the world gets older each year – even the Terminator. And birthdays are often a time for celebration, even amid a pandemic. For one UK dad, his son’s 42nd birthday was an opportunity for a little bit of justice.

It all started when Rob Witts was just 14 years old. To celebrate his dad’s 42nd birthday, Rob hand-made a card that was equal parts thoughtful and snarky. The front of the card featured a smiling cartoon with the words, “Hey everybody! He’s 42! Of course,” while the inside of the card read, “…We won’t draw attention to it, will we?”

As most kids do, Rob proudly presented the card to his dad and immediately forgot about it. That is, until his own 42nd birthday. Now a father of three himself, Rob received an envelope in the mail from his parents. Inside was a beautiful card from Rob’s mom, some pictures from his childhood, and the same 42nd birthday card he had given to his father decades earlier.

A brand new note written inside of the card read, “I guess if you wait long enough, what goes round comes round!” Rob’s dad had also corrected the names, so the greeting now read “Happy 42nd Birthday Dad Rob! From Robbie Dad.”

Though the card itself was a surprise, the hilarity was not. Rob told The Dad, “He is a really caring and considerate man, and we share a sarcastic sense of humour – lots of bad puns and so forth,” he said. “This act was entirely in-keeping with my dad’s sense of humour.”

Rob now lives about four hours away from his parents, and since the pandemic, their in-person contact has unfortunately been limited. However, It would take far more than a pandemic to keep Rob’s dad from making his birthday a memorable one. The photo of the decades-old birthday card along with the story have gone viral on Twitter, accumulating over 100,000 likes in over a week.

Many speculated that Rob’s dad had spent the past 28 years carefully plotting his revenge, but Rob offered a far more innocent but equally excellent explanation. “He and my mum had been looking in their attic for photos of my sister and me at the same age that our kids are now,” Rob said. “The card had been in one of the boxes, and he saw an opportunity! So it was clever opportunism and luck rather than determined planning, and I think I’m relieved to know that.”

Maybe what Rob’s dad meant when he said “what goes round comes round” had nothing to do with justice at all – maybe it was really about the touching things family members do to show how much they love each other. Whether it’s taking the time to hand-make a card for your dad, or caring enough to hold onto it nearly 30 years later.

Father Figures: But With Him

“My wife and I tried for over 4 years to have a baby.

We went to a fertility specialist and did a round of IVF. I met my wife for lunch and she told me the IVF failed.

She told me if I wanted to leave her she wouldn’t blame me. That I shouldn’t have to be stuck with someone that can’t have children. I told her that I loved her and children or no children I wasn’t going anywhere!

We tried again three years later. This time with an egg donor. The odds were against us. When we went in for the implantation we were in our late 30s. It was our last chance; we couldn’t afford it a third time.

When she showed me the pregnancy test I was so excited our dreams were happening.

Gavin was born 3 weeks early and he was just perfect. He is the most amazing thing I have ever seen. He is my everything. He is 3 years old now and I don’t want to be anywhere else but with him.”

– Doug Spink

NFL Team Fills Stadium With Cutouts of Young Fan Who Lost Battle With Cancer

Ravens Superfan Mo Gets Cutouts
(Instagram/Ravens)

Professional sports teams have been letting fans purchase cardboard cutouts to fill stadiums. Strangely, seeing cardboard fans in seats has helped make broadcasts a little less weird.

The Baltimore Ravens took this idea and ran with it. They filled their stadium with hundreds of cardboard cutouts of one teenage superfan who recently lost his battle with cancer.

While some NFL stadiums are allowing small amounts of fans in-person, and some broadcasts are using virtual fans. Others are following the lead of Major League Baseball and filling their empty stadiums with cardboard cutouts. For the Ravens season-opener against Cleveland (total domination by Lamar Jackson and Co., as they routed the hapless Browns), they wanted to do something special.

So, they filled a section with 575 cutouts of Mo Gaba, a superfan who lost his battle with cancer over the summer. They also included one cutout of his mom, who helped him during his fight.

“It’s just hard to believe that my son left behind a legacy and just him being himself,” his mom said in tribute video the Ravens produced. “He did nothing out of the ordinary and what he did in 14 years of his life, I can’t help but be proud of him.”

Mo was more than a regular superfan, the team also rewarded the youngster for his dedication when they had him announce a draft pick in the 2019 NFL draft for the Ravens. Mo, who was born blind, made NFL history by being the first person to read an NFL draft pick written in braille.

Warning, this tribute video from the team will make you cry.

In a statement, the Ravens said the section is dubbed “Mo’s Rows” and will stay in place until fans are allowed back at games. Once they return, the team will find another way to represent the young fan.

Mo’s Rows “serves as a tribute to the young fan who, with his positive outlook and zest for life, captured the hearts of countless Baltimoreans,” the team said in a statement.

The team also honored him with a special “Mo” in one endzone.

“The Great Grass Race” Is Basically The Cannonball Run With Lawnmowers

Great Grass Lawn Mower Race Across US
(Facebook/TheGreatGrassRace)

Lawnmowers are far more than just tools to keep our yards looking better than the yard of the rival dad across the street. Lawnmowers help us stay connected to our communities, and did you know there are lawnmower gangs that keep our parks trimmed? Not to mention mowing lawns give dads some much-needed “me time.” So we’re all in for a new streaming service called Menace Vision that’s giving us another highly unusual use for our favorite motorized lawn care companions – a race across North America.

This is far from the fast-paced action-packed reality show we’re used to, but with everything in the world being as chaotic as it is, 10 mph may be exactly the speed we need right now. The Great Grass Race’s Facebook page explains, “Six teams race across North America with just a lawnmower, a trailer, and people skills to rely on. No gas. No food. No money.”

The Facebook group has accumulated over 2,000 followers, with members of the community often popping in to share that they’d run into the show’s camera crew on their journey across the US. The race is set to last roughly three months, as contestants make their way from Los Angeles, California to New York on their trusty Craftsman T110 lawnmowers.

The neon green team spoke to KSN about the competition. “Everybody had a box with their name on it and inside the box was your color shirt so you had to match up with somebody,” one competitor explained. This means that teammates embarking on this nearly 3,000-mile trek were initially strangers.

The challenge extends far beyond the act of riding a lawnmower across the country – contestants have to rely on the kindness of strangers for food, shelter, and whatever else they may need along the way. With additional challenges thrown in and perpetually-changing rules, this race keeps the six brave teams on their toes.

The show’s creator and executive producer Denis Oliver told FOX10, “I wanted a show that everyone could relate to while also forcing people, including strangers, to work together toward a common objective. This long lawnmower ride is a metaphor for our longing to bridge the tremendous distance we feel between each other right now.”

While the show will also be available on other streaming services such as Google Play and Amazon Fire TV, Oliver created Menace Vision to generate more revenue to fund future shows and donate to charity. The Great Grass Race began on July 10 and is expected to continue through mid-October. Who will succeed? Whose ass will be grass? Only time will tell.

Toddler Amazed By Superstore

South Park Is Tackling COVID in New Hourlong Special Episode

South Park Special COVID-19
(Comedy Central)

After 23-years, South Park has finally found a topic worthy of if its first hour-long episode: COVID-19. The iconic Comedy Central show is airing an hour-long pandemic special on September 30th and the coronavirus and life in 2020 will be skewered in a way only Trey Parker and Matt Stone can.

South Park has ably tackled apocalyptic and depressing stories before, injecting them with a cathartic amount of laughter. Their brand isn’t for everyone, and some people seem utterly intent on never laughing again, but for adults who like jokes, this is going to be a very funny special. We’ve seen COVID humor in 30 Rock and Parks and Rec pandemic specials, but those were limited by the format. This…will be something much greater.

Here’s the full episode description: “Randy comes to terms with his role in the COVID-19 outbreak as the on-going pandemic presents continued challenges to the citizens of South Park. The kids happily head back to school but nothing resembles the normal that they once knew; not their teachers, not their homeroom, not even Eric Cartman.”

The preview shows Randy trying to take advantage of the pandemic, Cartman afraid he might be forced back to school, and Kyle doing his best to practice social distancing. It also shows a classroom with masked kids in plexiglass dividers with a detective as their new teacher.

There’s no official word on the premiere for the show’s 24th season, but the pandemic special promises to be one for the pantheon. The “Pandemic Special” airs September 30th at 8:00 p.m. on Comedy Central and will be available to HBO Max viewers the next day.