Fortnite Survival: Spatial Thinking and Map Reading Skills Required

Authors: Janet Smith*, Shippensburg University
Topics: Geography Education
Keywords: Spatial Thinking, Map Reading, Young Adults, Fortnite
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM
Room: Washington 4, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Fortnite Battle Royale, an online video game with millions of players from around the world, engages participants in a shooter-survival experience in which up to 100 players fight to be the last standing. Players are air dropped from the “Battle Bus” onto the game’s three-dimensional map. Upon landing, participants search for weapons and resources, build traps and forts to keep themselves alive and as a strategy to attack other players. This cultural phenomenon relies heavily on spatial thinking, critical reasoning, and problem solving. The primary question examined in this research is whether young adults who regularly play Fortnite have stronger spatial thinking and map reading skills than young adults who do not regularly engage with video games. 200 undergraduate students (both males and females) self-identified as either Fortnite players or not gamers. Participants completed a short questionnaire about their video game habits and then took both a timed spatial thinking test and a timed map-reading test. Results suggest that a significant relationship exists between Fortnite game play and both spatial thinking and map reading. Gender differences were not evident among the Fortnite players, but GPA was positively correlated to both spatial thinking and map reading ability.

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