There are video games that handle satire well. There’s the sprawling meta-textual commentary of a game like The Stanley Parable, for instance, or high-volume farce like Asymmetric’s West Of Loathing. We might even include games like Borderlands and Grand Theft Auto in this list, titles which take big—if not necessarily artful—swings at a variety of cultural topics and gaming tropes. And then there’s the folks over at Epic Games, who’ve decided to escalate their ongoing feud with Apple tonight by literally jamming a big, mean, scowling Apple into their very popular video game Fortnite.
This comes in the wake of Epic’s other big attempt at subtle, pointed humor last week, when it released a video heavily suggesting that, by demanding a cut of the game’s profits in exchange for it being available through its digital storefront, Apple was acting in a manner similar to the Ingsoc government of George Orwell’s 1984, a ruling class that responds to independent thought by clamping a cage full of ravenous rats onto a guy’s head. (Which would actually make for a pretty kickass Fortnite costume, now that we think about it.)
But clearly, that swipe at Apple’s own literary pretensions was too subtle, because Epic Games has now announced that it’s hosting the #FreeFortnite Cup event, mobilizing its hordes of tween advocates to hop on, shoot each other, and just generally celebrate “the final days of the entire Fortnite community’s ability to play together.” (Also: Yell at Apple a bunch for being such big ol’ meanies.)
There’s no clear winner in the semi-ethical battle being waged between the two companies, both of whom are basically just arguing over how to divvy their players’ disposable income up. But in terms of which side is being petty as fuck, we’ve definitely gotta give the crown to Epic, which is not only doing everything in its power to paint Apple as a bunch of big mean bullies, but is even giving away merch with parody versions of the company’s logo. That’s to say nothing of the “Tart Tycoon” skin it’s giving away with the event, which is literally just a very angry apple man who’s so mad that you still get to play Fortnite, Braxton. Don’t you want to hop on Twitter, Braxton? Don’t you want to tell the apple how mean it’s being to you and your video game friend?