The life of an NCAA football player can be a busy one. Between the workouts, practices and classes, time gets short and schedules get hectic, making relaxation all the more important. For the Virginia Tech football team, that recuperation time has come in the form of a popular video game.
“It’s pretty fun and you can play with your friends,” OL Kyle Chung said about Fortnite, which has become the go-to video game for the Hokies. “It’s just something to do to get your mind off football and school.”
Chung estimates that nearly 90 percent of the football team plays Fortnite, saying that number might even be higher. While the game continues to climb in popularity, he’s been on the bandwagon for a while.
“I’ve been playing the game since it first came out last year,” Chung said. “I call myself an OG of Fortnite.”
When the players have finished their work for the day and have some time to take it easy, Fortnite is their route for continuing to build camaraderie. For Chung and quarterback Josh Jackson, the game has been at the center of their friendship.
“Me and Josh are good friends, really good friends,” Chung said. “We play Fortnite pretty much every night. We’ve built a good relationship, him at quarterback and me at center.”
Fortnite, which came out in 2017, is a multiplayer battle royale style video game available on multiple consoles. As Chung mentioned, it allows users to play together with their friends as part of a team.
According to Chung, the constant new additions to the game are what keep it ahead of other competitors such as Call of Duty.
“I think it’s pretty cool that they update it pretty much every week and come out with new weapons and new things to do,” Chung said.
Virginia Tech punter Oscar Bradburn has gotten in on the action as well, although he admits he’s not the most skilled gamer.
“I try my best but I’m not as good as my tech-savvy roommates, Dalton Keene, Cole Blaker and Coleman Fox,” Bradburn said. “They’re pretty good, but I’m nothing compared to them. We’ve had plenty of late nights during the summer going at each other on Fortnite.”
The game is sure to be a popular activity among the team this school year, but Bradburn says that one of the most prolific Fortnite players is an athlete no longer with the Hokies.
“There was Tim Settle who never shut up about it. That was last year,” Bradburn said. “I remember Dalton Keene’s dad, he met Tim and the first thing Tim said was, ‘Oh you’re Dalton’s dad. Tell him to add me on Fortnite.’ I thought that was pretty funny. Big time Fortnite players at my house.”
While Fortnite has become the video game of choice for the Hokies, Chung misses another popular game that has been discontinued for the past five years.
“It would be cool,” Chung said about the possibility of the NCAA Football series making a return from EA Sports. “My freshman year was the last year that they came out with the game.”
With Chung being a sixth-year senior, he was in the final edition of the popular college football game.
“I know a lot of the guys back in the dorms, my dorm days, which seem forever ago, we always talked about how it kind of sucks that we won’t be in the game for more than a year,” Chung said.
NCAA Football was discontinued as a result of legal disputes between the NCAA and EA Sports. There have been rumors over the years about the return of the series, but it has yet to make its way back to store shelves.
“For it to come back would be pretty exciting,” Chung said. “I know a lot of the guys look forward to that. It’s part of the dream to be part of the video game.”
As Virginia Tech football players wait for that dream to be fulfilled, Kyle Chung and "90 percent" of his teammates will keep on playing America's new favorite video game, Fortnite.
Photo Credit: Harley Taylor
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