Rocket League

Soccer tactics and the evolution of Rocket League

Soccer as we know it has undergone several modifications since its earliest stages. Back in 1529, a soccer-esque sport called ‘Calcio Fiorentino’ was being played between two teams with 27 players each in the Piazza Santa Croce, a famous plaza in front of a basilica in Florence, Italy. The players used this game to solve their political differences in a match full of violence and intensity. These differences were normal back in 16th century Italy, when competition was more a matter of showing superiority and dominance over a rival group—as in matches between aristocratic families and gangs that dominated different…


The tragic tale of rugby as a sports game

This article is part of a collaboration with iQ by Intel. After the 34-17 loss at the Rugby World Cup semi-finals last October, Australian fans could do with some escapism. But if they’re looking to relieve their broken hearts and reclaim the cup through a videogame fantasy, they’ll find that the medium is still working to catch up to the excitement of real life matches. While annual soccer video games like FIFA plow ahead with authentic ball physics and a realistic facial rendering of Lionel Messi, rugby videogames are admirable mostly for their refusal to quit. Judging from the opinions…


Can India become an eSports powerhouse?

This article is part of a collaboration with iQ by Intel. The eSports fever that has taken the world by storm is largely driven by its popularity throughout Europe, Asia, and the Americas. But there are still billions of people on the sidelines in countries where competitive gaming has yet to take off. India, the second most populous nation on the planet, for instance, is one of the more prominent holdouts. As of the time of this writing, there are exactly zero players residing within the country who play eSports for a living. While pro players elsewhere in the world can bring in a…


How to make soccer more entertaining? Add ragdoll physics

Americans insist that soccer is and always will be boring. And, admittedly, low-scoring games with few opportunities for commercial breaks isn’t the most ‘Murica thing ever. But defenders of soccer might point to the simple elegance of a well-executed pass, or the unparalleled tension of a final battle in the penalty box. Well, all of that—the good and the bad—gets thrown out the window in Footbrawl, a ragdoll soccer game being developed by designer Kevin Suckert. Right now, Footbrawl is just a basic prototype with lots of funny GIFs to show for it. But the potential seems, well, endless. “Its [sic] basically everything what FIFA street…


Sigh, FIFA 16 can’t avoid the systemic inequality of women’s soccer after all

Kadeisha Buchanan, the best young player at this summer’s Women’s World Cup, is a fantastic talent, the kind of player you can only dream of being. That’s why the news that a select few female soccer players would be included in the latest edition of FIFA was so exciting. That’s also why the news that EA has removed Buchanan and 12 other female players from FIFA 16 for fear of compromising their NCAA eligibility is so disappointing.  This is, on the one hand, a decidedly old-school story. A videogame developer sets out to make a sports game but has a…


Soccer City’s ironic realism does away with pesky player agency

“Football is a simple game,” the onetime England striker and fulltime milquetoast TV personality Gary Lineker once explained. “Twenty-two men chase a ball for 90 minutes and at the end, the Germans always win.” Alternately, football is an incredibly complicated tactical exercise at the end of which the Germans admittedly tend to win. Soccer City, a strategy boardgame about the beautiful game that is currently raising funds on Kickstarter, veers towards that latter view of the sport. Soccer City bills itself as “the most realistic football board game ever made,” which is big talk from a game with soccer in…


Turns out that playing real-life soccer as you would a videogame leads to hilarity

Soccer is a popular sport—by some measures, the World Cup is the most watched sporting event in the world. Soccer videogames, particularly the FIFA franchise, are also quite popular. In all likelihood, the Venn diagram for fans of the sport and fans of the videogame resembles a circle more closely than two tomatoes on a vine. One might therefore assume that the gameplay of soccer and its related videogames could be merged into one super-game to rule them all: NKOTBSB, but for soccer.  Golden Goal, Norway’s mischievous sports talkshow, put this hypothesis to the test, and the results weren’t pretty.…