This Teen Kept Playing 'Fortnite' While a Tornado Destroyed His Neighborhood

He continued playing 'Battle Royale' after watching his neighbor's roof fly off the house.
April 17, 2018, 7:49pm

In case you somehow have yet to encounter it, Fortnite is a cartoon-y video game about a massive storm that kills off most of the Earth's population, and the group of zombie-like enemies that comes to pick off the survivors. Its player-versus-player version, in which 100 gamers compete against one another to be the last one standing, is both free and astonishingly addictive, apparently causing preteens to wake up at 6:30 AM for a fix and NBA players to stay up until dawn. But for all that we already know about the the third-person shooter's transfixing qualities, one teen in North Carolina has taken his Fortnite Battle Royale game to a new level—choosing to imperil himself and his family in an attempt to play a match to completion during an actual life-threatening storm.


On Sunday night, the city of Greensboro, North Carolina, declared a state of emergency in anticipation for a storm that ultimately uprooted trees, tore down power lines, and left one person dead. It also destroyed at least seven homes, including some next to Anton Williams's house, where the teen was competing inside an ever-shrinking map, and coming closer, and closer to victory.

So great was Williams's focus, that when he spotted some of his neighbors' roofs flying off around him during the tornado, he was unable to tear himself away from his video game controller.

"I was sitting at home and I was playing Fortnite, and all of sudden, I hear a bunch of noise," he told an NBC affiliate. "I look out the window and I started seeing the roof come off the houses in front of me. I sit back down because I only have a couple people left in my game, and I was going to try to finish the game."

Williams said that he finally decided to move his sister and nephew to safety once he saw power lines coming down, and they all wound up safe after the storm. When asked what was going through his head as he was barricaded in the bathroom with his family, the gamer smirked and answered truthfully.

"Honestly, I was thinking about the game," he told the reporter. "But I was hoping everyone was OK around me."

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