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 loneliness of the professional gamer

If you haven’t heard of Jonathan Sutak, producer and director of The Foreigner, a new documentary about professional StarCraft II (2010), you can take solace in knowing that you’ve probably seen some of his work. Not, mind you, the two independent dramas—Up The River (2015), a romance, and Don’t Worry Baby (2015), a comedy—he’s produced; you haven’t seen those. What you have seen are the many trailers and TV spots he’s edited, for films as far afield as Everest (2015) and Kingsman: The Secret Service (2015). If not exactly a Hollywood insider, Sutak nevertheless approaches filmmaking from the perspective of…

Intel Extreme Masters

What happens to the young, retired stars of esports?

When Dennis “Thresh” Fong was growing up, there was no such thing as a ‘professional gamer’. He was sixteen when he started playing DOOM (1993), but wasn’t competing for anything other than the thrill of victory. Aside from hustling chumps at the local arcade, nobody was making money by playing games. “A professional gamer is anyone who makes money, even winning 10 bucks on a Street Fighter game at Seven-Eleven,” joked Nick Allen, the panel moderator of “The Professional Gamer” at GDC 2016. That notion should seem quaint; at the Capcom Cup in 2015, the final prize pool for Ultra Street…


Does eSports Have a Drug Problem?

This article is part of a collaboration with iQ by Intel. In the aftermath of one professional player’s admission to using Adderall, the Electronic Sports League (ESL) is cracking down on performance-enhancing drugs by instituting a new set of standards and tests, positioning the league as a role model for professional sports leagues of all stripes. When Oakland Athletics homerun slugger Jose Canseco released his tell-all biography Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant ‘Roids, Smash Hits and How Baseball Got Big in 2005, it landed like a bombshell. The book sparked one of the largest drug scandals in the history of professional sports.…


Football players now use 360-degree video to improve their skills

This article is part of a collaboration with iQ by Intel. A former NFL kicker is using cutting-edge virtual reality videos to help players and coaches train better, faster, and smarter. Last year proved to be a banner year for athletics-related technological advances. A slew of smart helmets and wearable devices are now helping athletes, and better player tracking and camera angles are bringing sports fans amazing perspectives on favorite players. While all kinds of sports benefited from many new technologies in 2015, Sports Illustrated named virtual reality the innovation of the year. Looking ahead, 2016 could see virtual reality technology become widely adopted across mainstream sports. Professional football players are already testing…


FutureGrind’s joyous bloodsport is worth the death toll

Following in the footsteps of last year’s rocket-car soccer game Rocket League, FutureGrind is set to be the next entry in over-the-top sports games that are built around being as dope as possible. With its bright neon colors, rad beats, and sick flips, FutureGrind imagines a future where the trappings of the EDM club have merged with motocross to become a national pastime. It’s a time and place where riders perform dangerous and sometimes lethal stunts to the bewilderment of thousands watching at home. Sure, FutureGrind may be about a game of death, but it’s about a game of death…

Dangerous Golf

Dangerous Golf wields destruction as a middle finger to the rich

Golf is the sport for people with far too much time and money. The average length of one round is 4 hours; the average golf course is so large, there’s a particular vehicle designed to carry you across the field of play. Its archetypal depiction, in the collective human unconscious, will eternally be an old white man with a sun-visor and a cigar, making someone else carry his clubs from hole to hole. Golf is the sport of the one percent. why not turn anything into a golf course? Maybe it’s golf’s status as an activity of the elite that makes…


Tinder matchmaking is more like Warcraft than you might think

“Don’t hate the player, hate the game,” says the pick-up artist. “I’ve just got more game than you,” says your roommate who wears too much cologne. Comparisons between dating and gaming are commonplace in our web-obsessed culture, and thanks to a recent profile on Tinder from Fast Company, it turns out this connection is less superficial than you might think. We’ve all been there. You spend hours in matchmaking waiting to get picked for a quick game of Halo, but see no results. You’re swiping right all day on Tinder, but nobody swipes back. In this context, browsing for dates…


Rocket League blasts into the world of esports

This article is part of a collaboration with iQ by Intel. The easy-to-learn “cars playing soccer” game brings the spectator-friendly accessibility of traditional sports to the technological world of competitive gaming. Anyone who’s had to suffer through watching a friend or significant other play “just one more round” of a videogame will readily admit that most titles aren’t such thrilling spectator sports. While slaying enemies in Halo 5 is exciting for the shooter, it’s a snooze-fest for any player without a controller in hand. One game, however, seems to have cracked that code. Psyonix’s Rocket League not only pulls spectators into the action, it achieves the sought-after…