The world of video games and gamers is a strange and foreign land to me, akin to the Upside Down of Stranger Things. (If you don’t know what that is, go get a Netflix account. We’ll wait.) This world may exist everywhere I go, seemingly just a touch away, and yet, I will never understand it or enter it. I even know some of its part-time inhabitants personally – the Demogorgon, nee Fortnite addiction, has come this time not for Will Byers, but for seemingly half of the male population of my high school’s graduating class.
Still, not one of those supposedly ‘gifted and talented’ college kids could dream of accomplishing the feat that Argentina’s own Thiago Lapp, a 13-year-old, accomplished this past weekend at the Fortnite World Cup, or Mundial de Fortnite. Lapp, alias ‘King’, came in fifth place, winning himself a hefty prize of US $900,000, which at the current exchange rate translates to AR $39,427,200.
The New York City-based tournament included one hundred participants and was held at Arthur Ashe Stadium, the main tennis arena used in the US Open. The three-day Mundial was the first of its kind, and a pool of US $30 million was at stake, courtesy of the U.S. video-game company Epic Games.
The top four places were taken by American teens, with the first prize going to Pennsylvania-born 16-year-old Kyle “Bugha” Giersdorf, who is walking away with US $3,000,000. Only four countries were represented on the top 10 leader board other than the United States, with Argentina in the lead. The others were Sweden, France, and Canada. Interestingly, though there obviously weren’t any gender restrictions on entering, not one of the 100 finalists who qualified for the competition was female, as The Guardian pointed out.
Full disclosure, as of ten minutes before writing this article, I knew nothing about Fortnite, so hardcore fans will have to excuse my butchering of their deity. The game in essence involves a player (solo, duo, or in a group of four), fighting on a virtual island in an epic battle royale to be the last one standing of 100. Each player can find weapons and construction materials on the island, which allow them to build structures to protect themselves against attacks from other competitors.
For Lapp, this victory means the world. A native of Tigre, located in the northern suburbs outside of Buenos Aires, he entered the competition at the minimum age allowed, and soon came to be known as “Assassin of Gods,” for his effective strategy in even the most complicated of situations. The youngster’s victory is unprecedented for the country and will surely spark an even greater interest in the game among the nation’s youth. In the meantime, Lapp celebrates with his father, who was understandably overcome with emotion.
13-year old Argentinian phenom @k1nGOD, slayer of the gods, embraces his father after coming in 5th and winning $900,000 at the Fortnite World Cup
the father is telling king "todo tuyo" which means "all yours" pic.twitter.com/ptIHBQwIxD
— Rod Breslau (@Slasher) July 29, 2019
While Lapp and his family celebrated, Argentina’s Twittersphere went to work – in awe, but also amusement. After all, as many quip, there won’t be quite as much of that prize money left once the AFIP swoops in to claim its share.
La AFIP esperando a que llegue King después de haber ganado 900 mil dólares en el mundial de Fortnite pic.twitter.com/SZ9IOqil30
— nachokhan (@nachosanmongol) July 28, 2019
King salió 5to en el mundial de Fortnite y ganó U$S900 mil dólares con solo 13 años
Mientras tanto AFIP: pic.twitter.com/n3lznfqRyx
— Esteban Fulanito ??? (@EstebanFulanito) July 28, 2019
King, pibe de 13 años argentino: *gana 900.000 dólares en el mundial de fortnite*
— Mati (@matigarciaat) July 28, 2019