Launchpad to Success

By – Trevor Shanahan



Psyonix has created a monster.  Rocket League was developed with all the tender, love, and care a developer can give their game; they just never thought it would do as well as it has.  Based on their 2008 PS3 game of the same name, Rocket League 2015 has found great success on PS4 and Steam.  Success may be due in part to Rocket League being free for a limited time during a minor game release drought.  Then again, Rocket League may have found success because of the positive critical tide of reviews and nods from the thought/opinion leadership in video games.  Perhaps Rocket League’s success is far simpler to identify; the game is just good.  Can a game about rocket-powered vehicles driving into a ball while attempting to battle physics and score a goal be good?


Split screen.


I think we can debate the concept of “good” eternally, but we can’t debate the importance of Rocket League being picked-up by MLG.  Major League Gaming (MLG) is a professional eSports organization that organizes, runs, and facilitates competitive video game competitions for a variety of titles and platforms.  Rocket League has now entered the hallowed halls of professional competition, taking its seat among the pantheon of great competitive titles like Starcraft, Halo, and Tekken to name a few.  I am uncertain how MLG selects titles for official competition; not all games that have competitive and/or multiplayer aspects to them are part of the MLG playlist.  I do theorize that each title has both quality gameplay and some aspect of longevity (annual installments, continued updates, dlc, etc.).  Rocket League also encouraged screenshots, video uploads, and streaming because of the joyful chaos found in its matches – a natural fit for the broadcast-centered eSports community.


Split the screen again.


I think Rocket League’s acceptance into MLG circulation indirectly tells us (the video game community) something important; MLG, eSports, streaming/broadcasting, and video games in general, are further entrenched in our culture.  It was not that long ago that video game competitions rose to prominence and fell into insignificance.  The first eSports of the 70’s and 80’s were never able to take root in world video game culture.  Heck, the video game industry was nearly wiped out in the early 1980’s, but here we are in 2015 amidst a globally recognized medium and an exponentially expanding industry.


Split it once more.


So here’s to Rocket League, here’s to MLG, and here’s to video games; they’re not going anywhere.

ccccccMy name is Trevor Shanahan and I am pursuing a graduate degree in video games/media studies. I am interested in video games and everything they touch (their industry, development, games as art, psychology of games – like gamification, industry issues, culture, etc.). I have come to realize that the more I learn (and learning is so important) the more I do not know. Learn as much as you can about what you love and try to give back to it.