Other Sports

Rocket League 101: Gamer's guide to success

Rocket League 101: Gamer's guide to success

What is Rocket League?

On Saturday, Aug. 12, we here at CSN Chicago will deliver a completely new and exciting viewing experience: Our first e-sports broadcast featuring the immensely popular "Rocket League" video game. NBC Sports and FaceIt have teamed up to present the Universal Open Rocket League Tournament with a $100,000 prize pool.


That can buy A LOT of Lou Malnati’s. Or, more video games. Probably more video games.

Now for the traditional sports fan, the thought of watching a dude or dudette click buttons while staring at a screen may not be the most appealing viewing experience. But, go ahead and open another tab, search Rocket League goals and then come back to finish this article.

Go on. We’ll wait.

Here’s a gif.

Pretty neat, right?

In the simplest explanation: Rocket League is soccer using cars, instead of human players. The cars are equipped with rockets, which allow gamers to perform aerial acrobatics while reaching supersonic speeds. Imagine having turbo on Bastian Schweinsteiger or David Accam while you play FIFA on your Xbox. Take the Chicago Fire, and go Super Saiyan.

Like many sports (except golf), the team with the highest score wins. Put the ball into the goal more than your opponent, and you win. If you win, you’ll level up your status and unlock customization options for your car. Pull off a wicked save and you’ll hear the fake stadium crowd “ooh” and “ahh” while your teammates send congratulations. The gameplay makes the experience fun for players of all levels, novice to Neymar.

The biggest difference between a rookie and a Rocketeer is the aerial game. When you watch the pro gamers play on Aug. 12, you’ll see the ball barely touches the turf. His Airness would even be impressed. So, if you’re inspired to pick up the game and play, don’t expect to pull off the slick shots until you practice, practice, practice. Take a spin through the tutorial modes before challenging opponents online.

Another way to compare the Noobs to the Pros: The skill level difference is similar to say…playing the piano, which you use your hands to make music. Except in this case, your hands will be mashing buttons to make goals instead of "Chopsticks." The pros are Beethoven, Mozart and Bach. Composing classical goals, saves and passes that will appease all of your senses.

Okay, but maybe you’re still not sold on this watching the game thing.

Did I mention you can play as the Batmobile?

Or, how about the DeLorean time machine from Back to the Future?

“Roads? Where we’re going, we don’t need roads.”

Speaking of advances in technology, the ease of access to the World Wide Web now allows gamers to play with or against folks from all over planet Earth (…for now…you never know what NASA could do with Rocket League on Mars!)

During the actual gameplay, players can communicate strategy options, send virtual smack talk and offer praise for great plays. Plus, via Twitch and other social media outlets, many of the pro gamers can interact with people that watch them play live.

Simply: e-sports is here to stay.

34 million people have played Rocket League since the game's release in 2015. That’s 15 times the population of Chicago.

And, that’s just one game.

E-sports' meteoric rise will only grow more with the Universal Open Rocket League presented by NBC Sports and FaceIt. Whether you stream it online, on your phone or tune in to watch it on TV, you’ll be amazed by what you see. Above all else, we will have some of the best and brightest gamers in the world competing in our CSN Studios. You’ll get a chance to see the emotion behind the game, the people behind the car and experience the high-octane pulse of Rocket League.

The countdown has already begun. Aug. 12, we launch.

Nerds in Sports: Game of Thrones season 7, episode 5 recap


Nerds in Sports: Game of Thrones season 7, episode 5 recap

On this edition of Nerds in Sports we break down Game of Thrones season 7, episode 5 ‘Eastwatch.' 

Kevin Anderson, Michael Piff, Patrick Giblin, Matt Ellis, and guest JJ Stankevitz explain why the bombshell about Jon’s parents has major implications for both Jon and Dany.

We’ll also go into the history books to predict what to expect from the quest north of the wall next week. Plus is Arya getting played, or playing Littlefinger? It’s a jam-packed GoT recap. We are Nerds in Sports.


Nerds in Sports Podcast: Conversation with Rocket League pro Karma


Nerds in Sports Podcast: Conversation with Rocket League pro Karma

On this edition of Nerds in Sports we talk with Rocket League pro gamer Jaime Bickford aka Karma. Jaime joins Kevin Anderson to discuss her evolution into a Rocket League pro, the support and skepticism from her family and how being a woman in a primarily male industry has helped — and hurt her.

Jaime also discusses her Game of Thrones fandom and what she expects from her first major Rocket League tournament this Saturday in the Rocket League Universal Open. We are Nerds. In Sports.

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below: