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.
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.
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.
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.