Rocket League: Some Thoughts

It has been a long time since I was as obsessed with a computer game as I ended up being with Rocket League. It is good that I am writing this in the past tense mind you - I spent three months playing nothing but Rocket League on the Switch, and it was a tumultuous ride of enjoyment, amazement, and sheer and utter hatred. I ditched it when I got The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and one day I'll go back, but for now, it's nice to look back on it with retrospect.

Rocket League is a classic one line pitch that will make anyone smile - it's football (soccer) but with cars that can fly. That's it. One line. What comes from that is the perfect execution of that same idea - utterly perfect, and nigh-on unbreakable. The gameplay builds slowly from that simple premise - you have boost, and can go faster, but rationing that is a whole strategy. You can jump, and mix that with the boost you can fly. You can play 1 vs 1, or 4 vs 4, and the big one - you can play cross platform with your mates, on most of any platform.

The first time Mike (PC), Colin (Switch), Steven (Xbox One) and I (Switch) all paly against each other, the giddiness was palpable. We'd all grown up with different platforms and no way to play against each other, and here we were living the impossible dream.

For me the game lived and died by it's single player modes, for a while - I'd play a season against the AI and it was fun. But one day I noticed that there was a new mode - Competetive - and my gaming was changed for ever.

In Rocket League you can play against people and get ranking based on how well you play. If you beat someone better (higher ranked) than you, you gain points, and if you are beat by someone below you, you lose points. If you get a winning or losing streak, these points add up or subtract, and you are given a Division and Tier rank - I've managed to get to Gold in some, but other I swirl the drain of low Bronze.

And this was fucking annoying.

I have gaming tourettes and for a very long time I've avoided games that bring that out of me. Zelda has done it, but never in a malicious way - but Rocket League has at times turned me into a full foamed mouth hatred spouting idiot, causing Connie to be alarmed and disdainful, and rightly so. I swear at team mates doing stupid things, me missing shots, and opponents doing things I can't. It was unbearable. I'd get to a boiling point after hours of accepting defeat, and there would be no way back, until I self actualised how bad it was. Then I'd reel it in. It'd last a few days, and then get worse again.

This is exacerbated by the game mind you - it is brutal. You'll spend hours grinding up leagues only to lose one game and undo all that work. It was maddening.

I am glad I stopped playing - it was fun, a lot of the time, but the dark parts made me feel a lot worse and hate playing it. So in time, maybe I'll go back, but for now my time away has been much needed.

I don't think I've loved and hated a game, simultaneously, in a long time - maybe ever. That's Rocket League

As an aside, one of the things that makes Rocket League so fun is that it's an eSport - a sport that is a video game. Don't worry, I've been working on a post about that too. I swear, this blog hasn't just became a video game blog.