Electronic Music in Gaming: Rocket League
Article by: Corey Fox
It’s 12AM on a Saturday night. A half-cup of cold joe sits in a Dilbert mug, next to a half-eaten bowl of Frosted Flakes on the coffee table in front of you. Your pet cat Max is curled up on the couch, cheering you on with a charming indifference. Sure, it might be dark outside--but on the television? It is sunshine city, my friends...
Noon, to be exact. And the Utopian Coliseum has never looked so glorious. Two of your best mates are beside you together on the front lines of battle. Brothers in arms peeking over the ridgeline, waiting eagerly to earn their stripes. You, my dearest, have been here before. A piper at the gates of dawn, with your trusty steed named Dominus purring ominously beneath you.
When suddenly, a noise rings out; a Pavlovian war cry steals your breath (as if you had anything heroic to say, anyway). The group chat turns deafeningly silent. The countdown has begun. Each number inching closer to zero.
The moment the match begins, you feel a surge of electricity. All of your best mates are boosting towards the ball in a symphony of harmonic destruction. Explosions and demolitions echoing throughout the arena like poetry in motion.
You think to yourself: “Yeah…. I’m a Grand Champion”
“I deserve to be here”
Almost instantaneously, the vibe of the game chasms. Everything around you enters Bullet Time. The paradigm has been reverentially shifted at the drop of a hat. The skill levels have been recognized. The enemy’s shame begins to take hold.
You see the opening, three moves ahead, like Bobby Fisher at a Checkers convention, and the rotation lanes are clogged with Ball Chasers. Bronze rankers always seem to get lucky, but remember, you’re a Grand Champ. You make your own goddamned luck.
You air roll, launching the ball straight up the wall. You follow behind gracefully as you feather your boost, giving chase. Hotshots and Octanes kiting through the air in a momentary lapse of synchronized chaos.
You are Picasso, nay, the anti-Picasso. Sketching your effervescent masterpiece of catastrophic devastation without a single, solitary concern that you’ve painted yourself into a corner.
Sans hesitation, you ‘Musty flick’ the ball off the arena’s ceiling towards the goal line. Flip resetting like you were born to do. The Coliseum’s crowd of Egg People go wild with cheers as you aerial powershoot between your opponents into the goal with chariots ablaze.
The defender you ask? Frozen inside the space-time continuum.
“What’s that sound?”... your opponent mutters through his mic.
“Is that Mozart?”
Mozart is so 250 years ago, bruh.
My name is xXLonelyAssassinXx, and I’m here to kick ass and chew bubblegum.
(And frankly, I’m all out of gum)
Your mates spam into the quick chat:
“What a save!”
“What a save!”
“What a save!”
You recline leisurely into your $250 gaming chair. A glowing and yet dastardly smirk graces your chin. For a moment, you enjoy the action replay. It’s all in a day's work. You’ve come a long way since those olden days, stuck in Platinum 3. But the spoils are short-lived. Reality sets in as you look at the time clock.
The game is not over.
Sure, a couple of smurfs rage quit at the utter audacity of your skill level. But that’s expected to happen. You wouldn’t have it any other way. A massive tidal wave of laser focus succumbs your entire being as you lean closer, inching towards the tv with a twinkle in your eye. Your mates need you my friend, and this is just the beginning.
THIS is Rocket League!
In a world over-encumbered by annual sports games releases, a Carmageddon-style game with the aerodynamic name “Rocket League'' (RL) was released to the public in 2015. And now, in the year 2021, with millions of active and concurrent players, RL continues to reign supreme in the arena-sports video game domain. Pitted against other Death Race vehicles inside of a domed futbol arena, your mission, should you choose to accept, is to win the match by scoring goals into the opponent’s net. Think of it more as a soccer game, but instead of Ronaldo & Messi, you’re driving around the field with supersonic acrobatic rocket-powered battle cars.
As you might expect, the current market for sports games is a polluted cesspool of unnecessary in-game currencies and daunting microtransactions: a “pay to win” model that mostly benefits the whales spending cold hard fiat; or in some cases, erroneously giving gamers a head start in order to boost the stats of their customizable characters in a “My Career” simulation campaign, or your garden variety crapshoot of battle royale deathmatches and objective-based multiplayer modes. This creates nonsensical imbalances that constantly shift the weight of the competition in favor of those who spend the extra bucks on an Ultimate Edition. The Rocket League we all know and love... actually does something different.
Offered to you from the start of the game are base car designs that give zero competitive edge besides the ranging assortment of vehicle hitboxes. For instance, a sports car may offer you different strategies and tactics, compared to a muscle car or even a Fortnite school bus. The microtransactions and in-game store purchases are conveniently available for cosmetic purposes only. Since the game has recently become Free To Play, this creates a sensational skill-based ecosystem that requires you to improve or die. You could be destined to remain in the lower ranks for eternity and exiled to the desolate depths of competitive matchmaking. Essentially, you can only better your skills in this game by playing through the various training modes available to you in the main menu. If you so choose to bypass the training and forgo tutelage by way of self improvements, you could always attempt the more whimsical approach of naturally “gitting gud.”
Besides the exceptional fun factor of this game, there are so many invigorating tunes within Rocket League. If you've ever played Rocket League as an EDM fan, you may have been surprised to discover the soundtrack is primarily electronic music. In fact, Monstercat, a Canadian-based EDM record label, collaborates with the developer, Psyonix, to provide tunes for the game. A multitude of pioneers and controller legends haunt the menu screens and goal replays with their masterful electronica renditions, ranging anywhere from house music and trance, to techno and even dubstep.
Rocket League itself has become somewhat of a cornerstone for EDM soundtracks done correctly. When the game was first released to the public, the audio director of Psyonix, Mike Ault, and his band “Hollywood Principle” produced some of the most memorable musical pulses in the game, setting the stage for highly recognizable EDM artists to join in on the fun. Heavy hitters in the industry like Habstrakt, Infected Mushroom, and Kaskade all contributed their quintessential waveforms to the uptempo soundtrack. These artists unleash a patchwork cacophony of neon grooves and “kiss the sky” stadium anthems to ramp up excitement levels as you wait impatiently for the next match.
Check out some of the best Rocket League has to offer below:
Mike Ault - Angel Wings [feat. Avianna Acid]
Kaskade & WILL K - Flip Reset [Monstercat Release]
Bossfight - Endgame [Monstercat Release]
Pixel Terror - Amnesia [Monstercat Release]
Stephen Walking - Dads In Space [Monstercat Release]
Rogue - Let's Talk [Monstercat Release]
Half an Orange - Playing With the Boys
I reached out to streamer “itsdennis7777” to comment on the current state of Rocket League and here was his candid response:
As you can see, he is a man of few words. You can find ‘itsdennis7777’ on social media: @itsdennis7777 on Instagram or Facebook, and also streaming Rocket League on Twitch here: Twitch.tv/itsdennis7777. Rocket League is Free To Play on all your favorite platforms. Download it from the store on PC, Xbox One, Playstation, and Nintendo Switch!
(Don’t break rule #1)