I Have A Rocket League Problem

I am still obsessed with Rocket League. This is a problem. This is a serious problem.

Let me give you an insight into what being the Editor of Kotaku Australia does to your video game habits. Actually, let me give you my perspective specifically.

I start work at 7am. I work. I don’t play video games all day, sadly. I work. Work means writing, scheduling, talking to people, meetings, eating porridge, making endless cups of green tea, giving Gizmodo’s Luke Hopewell crap about his terrible opinions.

I finish work; at 4.30pm usually. I catch the train. I pick up my two-year-old son from daycare. I catch the bus from the daycare centre back home.

It is now 5.30pm. Usually.

I make my son dinner. I feed him. I bath him. I get him ready for bed. I read him stories. Right now ‘I Wish That I Had Duck Feet’ by Dr Seuss is his favourite. Lately he’s also been demanding I make up stories about ‘Buzz Lightyear’ and him playing football together. That’s a lot of fun.

Once that’s done I put him to bed.

On a good night, if everything goes like clockwork, I could be downstairs by 7.30pm. Most nights it’s a little bit later.

At this point one of two things can happen.

If it’s Tuesday or Thursday I’m probably going climbing, or doing some sort of training. If it’s Monday or Wednesday I’m probably going to cooking dinner for my wife and I. If it’s Friday my wife and I are probably gonna do some kind of husband and wife thing like watch a movie or some sort of TV show or – gasp – have normal human interactions that aren’t about consuming media.

(I have a point here. I’ll get to it eventually.)

If I’m climbing I might get home by around 10pm. If I’m cooking I’ll be done cooking/eating around 9.00pm. If I’m watching a movie I’ll probably be in bed straight afterwards because I wake up at 6am with my son and I’m gonna need some sleep if I want to function like a normal human being.

Finally – here is my point:

I have a lot less time to play video games than you might think.


Rocket League Ball, You Are Breaking My Heart

If you are a husband, wife, father or mother, I’m sure you can relate.

But there’s an added anxiety when you discuss video games for a living: the added pressure of being somewhat across every single video game that is ‘important’. That video game could be Bloodborne. It could be the latest indie darling. It could be the kind of video game that most human beings dedicate themselves to solely –a League of Legends or a Dota. It could be a sprawling timesink like The Witcher 3.

“I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU’RE THE EDITOR OF KOTAKU AUSTRALIA AND YOU HAVEN’T PLAY [insert video game here]”

That is a tweet/comment/email I receive all too frequently.

And it stings because I get it. I can’t judge anyone for getting frustrated about a lack of coverage for [insert game here] or getting shitty at a perceived lack of knowledge of [insert genre here]. That’s a very real concern. It’s a pressure that I feel and it can be difficult.

These concerns, combined with the ever-decreasing amount of time I have to play video games, create a very real anxiety. I generally pick up a controller at 9pm if I’m lucky. I should probably be in bed by 11pm if I want a half-decent night’s sleep; 10pm if I want the recommended eight hours. I have an hour or two to play the games I need to play in order to do my job. These hours are pivotal and probably should be spent playing the video game I’ll be writing about tomorrow.

And that’s where Rocket League comes in. Fucking Rocket League.

Rocket League is a problem. I can’t stop playing it. That’s the problem.


It's Tough To See Everything On Rocket League's New Map

From a news perspective, Rocket League might be just about done.

There’s only so many incredible goals we can post, so many mind-blowing saves. We’ve already seen it all. The bar has already been raised. It’s like Minecraft. What does it take for us to post a Minecraft creation these days? People are creating the entirety of Westeros in Minecraft now, we’ve built functioning computers. Your statue of Charizard doing stuff probably isn’t gonna cut it at this stage.

Look, there will always be exceptions. But Rocket League? In the rapid paced, back-breaking rollercoaster ride that is the news cycle, it’s starting to fade.

Point being: from an editorial perspective, I really should be moving on from Rocket League. I should be playing Hacknet. I should be playing something. I should be prepping for what is going to be one of the most stacked Septembers in video game history.

But I’m not doing that. I’m picking up the controller at 9pm. I’m scrolling across my PS4 games and I’m clicking on Rocket League. Without thinking. Unconsciously.

I am playing Rocket League. A lot. And once I start playing I find it very difficult to stop. My wife says good night, she wanders upstairs and it barely even registers. I check the clock. It’s midnight and I have to be up in six hours. I’m still saying to myself, “one more game”.

Not only is Rocket League eating into my ‘gaming for work’ time, it’s eating into my goddamn ‘sleep so I can function properly’ time.

This is a problem.


This Rocket League Save Doesn't Seem Possible

Let’s get meta for a second.

This article. These words you are reading right now. They are part of the problem. They are a symptom. These sentences: written by a man in the throes of some disease. Does this article need to exist? No. It does not.

You don’t need to know about my Rocket League problem. This is not news. This is not something you need to be reading about. Is it a reflection of gaming culture? Is it something we can all relate to or discuss? Maybe. Probably not.

What this is — what this really is – is justification. I played Rocket League for three hours straight the other night instead of playing what I probably should have been playing. This article only exists because I need to find some way to make sense of that. Some reason to justify that wasted time watching/playing/thinking about Rocket League.

This article is part of the problem. It is the problem. It is inseparable from the problem.


But goddamn it Rocket League is so good, isn’t it?

Isn’t it just really good to have something like that? A distraction? A reminder, for me at least, that video games can just be this trivial thing. This thing that I literally just play.

It’s been a while since I’ve had that. Been a while since a video game has just grabbed me and refused to let go. A while since a game has just been a game and not something I have to be thinking about or worrying about or stressing about.

It kinda takes me back to the reasons why I started playing video games in the first place.

Maybe I don’t have a Rocket League problem.

Yeah. It’s fine.

It’s all fine.

This is fine.


Comments

    1st rule of Rocket League Club .......

    Don't talk about Rocket league club/addiction !

      I think the first rule of Rocket League Club is realising that power naps at the office can replace up to 90 minutes of lost sleep, so that 6 hours per night of sleep is perfectly adequate.

        or casually browsing the internet instead of working.

    Sure sounds like you have a problem. I look forward to being an enabler when I play your team in the TAY league.

      I do understand the anxiety, though. Seems to me that the higher goal of your role is long-form personal pieces and investigative reporting (you know, actually journalism vs regurgitating press releases). So it doesn't matter if you're playing the latest and greatest, provided that you're actually enjoying what your playing so that it keeps you energised and personally invested in some aspect of the scene. Much better than moving superficially from game to game as they land on your desk and watching it all go kinda beige.

      That said, if you find that you're still playing Rocket League once you stop enjoying it, then you probably do have a problem and need to stop :)

        I appreciate these kind of in-depth articles/opinion pieces at least as much as the news/reviews pieces.

    Serrels admits to RL problem before admitting to Dark Souls problem...

    Let's talk about just how bad your DS problem is then! Denial!

      I came here to say the same thing.

      What about when he tried that polyphasic sleep and had to stop when he realised he was completely out of it, like being in the gym and not remembering how he got there?

        Thats a favorite of mine that one lol. Also when he wore that bag for the day. Lol!

    I have this problem with Dota... and have had for the last 10(ish) years.

    You can only hope that RocketLeague doesn't have Dota's longevity.

    Is it something we can all relate to or discuss? Maybe. Probably not.

    Not true at all, as I feel this same anxiety. Maybe not to the level of "knowing games is my job", but still, when you are passionate about games yet you only have a few hours in the week to actually sit down and play them, budgeting for which games you'll pick up for that short time is difficult, stressful even, and I'd say this is something most of us over a certain age has to deal with all the time.

    Still, in defence of Rocket League, this game IS special. It's a very particular kind of fun which I honestly haven't felt with a game since I first started playing Trials HD or Guitar Hero.

    In short, don't worry about your editing job mark, I'll make sure you get drafted to my team when Rocket League goes full pro so we can live like kings off our e-sports money.

      Shit, being addicted to a game is something we can all relate to and should discuss.
      Gaming can be so much fun, it can also be so absorbing that it bleeds into the rest of our lives and messes us up.
      I had to delete Clans, not because of money, I didn't spend any, but because the game was running my life and I couldn't stop. It was weird, I have never had a hint of addiction to anything else, don't drink, gamble (not even lotto), smoke or do recreational drugs... I have done all those things at one point, but only very, very casually, like a bet on the melbourne cup, or one time I went to a casino and spent $60 on the tables, have been drunk a couple of times in my youth, but no sign of ever finding anything addictive.
      But Clans was making me a slave to my phone, and in the past Syndicate had me almost missing work due to sleep deprivations, and Warcraft II before that and Tribes somewhere in there.

      I'm a dad with 4 daughters now, one the same age a wee-serrels, so gaming is something I can barely find time for, I enjoy reading about it more than playing it for the most part, but every now and again, something will get its hooks in... I'm so busy at the moment that I have avoided even finding out what platform Rocket League runs on, as it sounds like trouble :)

    I completely agree that Rocket League is just a fun stress free game that you just play. It is a perfect fill in time game without the hours of commitment for some boring quest. It is an excellent arcade game, and i am glad is doing so well because you never have to wait long for a match with online players.

    Ha ha, love this article. It's the classic addict's self-reinforcing cycle - justifying bad behavior by balancing it with the occasional good behavior.
    Put down the ball, Mark. Yes, you've pulled off a sweet aerial boost to goal with an immediate 180 bicycle kick for a clear. We all have our "sweet aerial boost to goal with an immediate 180 bicycle kick for clear".

    We're here to save lives, not goals.

    Put down the ball.

    I've been tossing up whether I should sympathise as a parent or make jokes about kicking your arse in RockeTAY.

    On the bright side, you're going to have a great new story to tell your son about the time Buzz Lightyear and @alexwalker beat you senseless in Rocket League.

    Yep. RL is somewhat ruining other games for me. I keep loading up The Witcher 3, opening the map/log and going ehhhhhh I could just play RL and start having some fun almost immediately.

      Exactly. The instant, constant gaming is hard to break. If I have <10 min i can always get a game in.

    You don't have a problem yet the problem you will have is when you roll onto that hallowed ground and come face to face with GOOOOAAAAALLLLLLL-DUST!

    340+ hours in ARK over 4 weeks.... I don't have an Ark problem. I have a 'not playing Ark' problem...

      Urgh.. I cant understand. Speak in rocket league pls.

    Considering that Kotaku has come close to having one rocketleague article per day since the 12th, I'd say your not the only one with a rocket league problem. Can't say I can blame anyone for that though.

      You know you play too much Rocket League when you see IRL and think it means 'In Rocket League'.

    I sympathise as a parent who does most of my gaming between 11pm-4am when everyone else is asleep. I'm looking at fallout 4 coming out wondering how the hell I'll find time to play it!
    I think the strength of Rocket League is a match is fun and accessible and only lasts about 5 minutes.
    I finished playing battlefield at 1am last night and thought, I'll just play ONE match of rocket league and go to bed... 3:30am...

    The only time I have a Rocket League problem is when I'm not playing Rocket League. Or something like that.

    But Rocket League is just so damn good!

      It is so playable. Just drop in and get awesome.

      I find I play it all the time but in bursts of maybe 30-45 minutes. It is almost too intense for the long sessions of other games.

    Clearly, you need to negotiate some time during work hours to play games for "keeping across the industry" purposes. You might need to add a "No Rocket League" clause, or your problem will just spread.

    I hear you dude, used to play PC / SNES --> NES --> N64 --> Dreamcast --> Gamecube --> Xbox growing up and now my spare time is spent doing more adult things like caring about my career or actually going to the gym 3-5 nights a week.

    There are gems that come out like Rocket League which shatter the mould and I am forever thankful. I don't have the time week to week to sit through some of these modern epic saga games or really sink my teeth into an MMO, but that's cool.... I'm just happy the world can throw something like Rocket League my way which is easy to play and impossible to master, the true test of any great game :)

    I haven't yet bought Rocket League, but as a dad I feel you (it gets even worse with two kids!).

    Sometimes I wonder if the responsible thing to do would be to follow the lead of some other "adults" I know and give up gaming altogether...

    Nah.

    I didn't read the whole article, but I'm also "addicted" to RL.

    On the PS3 I spent most of my time with Battlefield 1943 - because I found it fun and challenging. I found that some games were casual and involved a lot of mucking around, and other games were intense and action packed.

    I felt with B1943 that I had a chance of improving at the game, whereas with CoD or Battlefield 3 I felt that it was too difficult to become good at it.

    So far with the PS4 i've slipped into "addiction" first with Plants vs Zombies and now with Rocket League. PvZ has only subsided due to RL.

    And I think it's for much the same reasons as with my preference for B1943.

    RL is simplistic yet challenging. It feels like it's possible to get good. I've realised a few times already that i'm not good at RL, but then I discover that I am actually pretty awesome, so I hang on in there.

    It now looks like i'm certainly a good player, I make a difference in almost every game and I'm figuring out how to get better, and I am getting better - and that's kind of what I want from a game.

    That level of development gives me satisfaction and motivation. Combined with the rewards of a goal, or a save, or the excitement of a near miss makes the game super "fun". Exciting, challenging but not over demanding. I can have a bad game, it's no big deal. So I miss the ball a few times, well it's pretty difficult.

    I'm halfway through Infamous Second Son and I was thinking it was my favourite PS4 game so far, i've been very much enjoying it, but compared to the pick up and play guaranteed fun and expected development of skills that you get with RL, Second Son seems like a chore. It seems to me that it's only worth playing if I sink in at least a couple of hours at a time - and although it will be enjoyable it's not quite the same fun that you get with more simplistic games - and there's the risk that it will become repetitive, and there's the risk that it will become too difficult - as most or many story based linear games rack up the difficulty level as you progress and personally I've had many games destroyed as they become too challenging for me.

    I know that's not going to happen with RL. Sure, I haven't met my best opponents yet but i've lost games 10-0 enough times to realise that that's just part of the game.

      I gotta say, this comment takes on a drastically different tone once you get stuck in your head that "RL" means "Real life"!

    This is how I feel about Splatoon. Basically haven't played anything else for the last however many months it's been, because all I can play is Splatoon, Splatoon and more Splatoon.

    How great is Splatoon.

    Rocket League has been responsible for me going to bed after 12:00am nearly every night for the past two weeks. Just one more game. Just one more game. It's not a problem, it's a privilege to play such a fantastic game. Sleep is for the weak.

      Is it also why your thumbs are bleeding?

        That probably hasn't happened since the SNES controller and Street Fighter 2. Those comfortable PS4 analogue sticks are making me soft in my old age. Time to glue some sand paper to the sticks and live up to my name or change it to Soft_Supple_Thumbs or Bleeding_Eyes from lack of sleep. :)

    I feel your pain. I work long hours and sleep is ever so precious to me, and rocket league seems to give zero shots about my sleep.
    The problem is that it's easy to load up for JUST one quick game but it's near impossible to just play one or two games. Perhaps it needs bloodborne like loading screens so we have time to contemplate what we're doing with our lives

    Thank fark the missus and I don't want kids. Fark that shite.

      I thought having kids would be great because then I could have a 3rd and 4th player in Mario Kart. I've had player 3 and he is a total noob. Player 4 is on the way but I'm going to assume they will be the same controller chewing dribbling level of noobness. I'll let you know if it was worth it in the long run but as a fellow gamer in the early stages of family life I can say you speak the truth. :)

        Just a heads up.. shortly after dry sheets at night you become the newb. Enjoy your pawnage.

          I can only hope so. The day my son beats me at Mario Kart I will shed a single manly tear and say "I'm proud of you son".

            My teenage daughter *slaughters* me at Mario Kart. The 10 year old is good competition, but I can still stomp the 2 year old!

    I completely sympathise, I get two-three hours a night at best and often there'll be some game that distracts me from the pile of shame, last week it's was MGSV Ground Zeroes, a few weeks back it was Watch Dogs, a few months ago Destiny had me by the balls - at least I could (And did) sell Destiny - don't know what you do about Rocket Leauge!

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