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Fortnite’s #BoogieDown challenge was like a little slice of Vine in 2018

This is your best shot, Drake

Fortnite - woman standing on a wooden structure with a sniper rifle Epic Games

Fortnites dance emotes are either the best or most annoying part of the game, depending on who you ask.

Developer Epic Games, however, is all about the little dance moves that players can perform in-game. The company has launched a contest, which kicked off on March 30 and ended last night, that looks to add a new emote — created by a player — to the game.

The contest rules are simple: Players are asked to film a clip of themselves performing a dance move and tweet it using the #BoogieDown hashtag. Epic’s team will then go through the submissions and pick the best dance to officially add as an emote. (This may be the best chance Drake has at getting a “Hotline Bling” emote accepted.)

For some players, the contest is a chance at eternal glory — a chance to rub it in their friends’ faces that a dance move they came up with while joking around one day is now in one of the most popular video games. For others, however, the contest lets them embrace a lighthearted challenge that, in many ways, feels reminiscent of a culture Vine made popular years ago.

Take the example below. For 12 seconds, this player gets into the groove, dancing hard to the electronic music in the background. He’s sporting a spectacular wig and ski goggles. The disco ball is turning on the floor beside him. His house is transformed into a discotheque that feels like it was ripped straight off a busy European block. It’s adorable, charming and hilarious all at once — and it’s something that can be watched on endless repeat.

Players are partnering with their friends to choreograph dances that are either extremely goofy or brilliant. Even this part is eerily reminiscent of Vine days, when friends would partner up to create a six-second video in the hopes that it would go viral. By the time that Vine became the popular video platform that we know, remember and celebrate, professional Viners were working together all the time.

Search the #Boogiedown challenge on Twitter, and the results are all remarkably similar. Many of the videos include references to Fortnite emotes already in the game, but some go a step further and address popular internet challenges of a bygone era. Bottle flipping, for example, which is practically prehistoric by now, makes a comeback in this #BoogieDown challenge.

In the brief time since Epic introduced the challenge, it’s already found its own little subculture, nestled into the corner of the much bigger Fortnite fandom. The sharing of popular dance videos has caught the attention of major YouTubers, who have started making their own entries or commenting on the dances they’re seeing. Much like Vine culture, #BoogieDown memes are already making the rounds on Twitter, largely spearheaded by cultural meme experts on YouTube who are remixing the funniest or cutest dances they come across.

The #BoogieDown challenge is almost impossible to ignore for someone deeply embedded in either meme or Fortnite culture, but even celebrities and top streamers are getting in on the contest action. Tyler “Ninja” Blevins, Fortnite’ biggest streamer, and Marshmello, a very popular DJ, partnered up in Vegas for their own submission.

The contest is coming to an end, but for 11 days, it’s been strangely wonderful to have another Vine-like phenomenon take over Twitter and YouTube. It’s easy to dismiss the contest for what it is — a corporate contest held to promote a product — yet seeing the internet rally around an adorable kid who loves to dance, or an exceptionally talented dad that wants to show off his moves, is still wholesome.

Not a day goes by that Vine isn’t missed, but it’s these little challenges that help to remind us that the culture born out of Vine won’t ever truly be dead.

May the best dance win; yes, that includes even yours, strange alien lizard.

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