I'm about to tell you the least shocking thing you'll hear all week: Fortnite has a significant presence at PAX West. Part of the Washington Convention Center's exterior is slathered in Fortnite's bright colors and accessorized with props from the game, much to the delight of young children. I witnessed a small child pull on his mother's hand and cry, "Mommy, mommy, it's the Durr Burger!" and the exasperated mother returned with "The what burger?"
Interestingly, despite the frenzy surrounding Fortnite, Epic's popular battle royale game gave the USgamer team a chance to relax—albeit indirectly. Within the walls of the candy-colored Fortnite building was an 8-hole mini-golf course called "Lazy Links" modeled after various props, mascots, and locations related to the game.
The Lazy Links' emblem is even a rampant llama, and being a bit of a heraldry nerd, I appreciate that very much.
I used to play a lot of mini-golf as a kid, but it's not a sport ("sport?") I voluntarily play unless someone presses a beer into my hands. Kat did the next best thing by just signing us all up for a tee-off time and telling us "You're all playing Fortnite golf on Sunday." It's not that I dislike mini-golf. It's just that when you're a Canadian and someone puts a hooked stick into your hands, your instinct is to swing it real hard.
Bashing golf balls like hockey pucks is highly discouraged in indoor putt-putt, so I reined in my strength and took my place in USgamer's 9-hole adventure (well, if our next group activity involves making an adult film, at least I got the naming part out of the way).
Caty, Mike, Matt, and I all played; Kat left us to die. Spoiler: We all had miserable scores that soared miles above par. But we had fun playing, and that's what counts, right?
Look, I'm not going to spend too much energy justifying my bad performance on a course where you hit balls up the lolling tongue of a giant hamburger.
The whole course was delightfully makeshift and staffed by employees who were very good sports about having to retrieve our balls whenever they leaped over barrier courses and wedged themselves into corners the course's engineers forgot to cover when they set things up. Caty sent one poor guy scrambling into no-man's land by the second hole.
I've no right to act superior. One of my balls got stuck under a cardboard car prop at the Drive-In themed course. The staffer manning the hole had to get down on all fours and knock the ball loose with a club.
Oh, but look! Tiny Muskoka chairs!!
The highlight of the morning was our battle with Durr Burger. The herping-derping hamburger prop was part of the fifth hole, and as I mentioned above, you need to, uh, drag your ball along its tongue. It requires just the right amount of force. Mike, who had the lowest score before he went up against Officer Big Mac's regretful love child, lost his shirt. He walked away with something like 6 or 7 strokes.
I performed very well because I am the reincarnation of Tiger Woods.
What do you mean "still alive?"
When we played our third-to-last hole (which should have been second-to-last, but none of us can seemingly tell a 7 from an 8), Caty and Matt both got holes-in-ones, which came with a lot of cheering and raucous noise from the staffers. They put a lot of energy into their cheers: I guess they're more used to golfers who take five strokes to hit a ball up a hamburger's tongue.
Look at Caty and Matt pose like they're the Jesus Christs of Fortnite Putt-Putt. They're part of the Cool Kids Golf Club, now. Mike and I aren't allowed to talk to them when the other cool kids are around.
Thus, our time at Lazy Links came to an end. We scooted on out before the staff caught on that none of us are classy enough to hang out at any kind of golf course. Matt and Caty tied for first with 33. I was second at 34. I can't remember what Mike's score was, so I'm just going to throw up a picture of that horrific crying sun Bart Simpson drew as a child.
Disclosure: USgamer is part of Gamer Network, which is owned by ReedPOP, the organizers of the PAX events including PAX West.
Editor's Note: An earlier version of this story said Mike and Caty tied for first. It was actually Matt and Caty. Mike was bad at mini golf. - Matt