Rocket League, Blast Ball, and How to Have an Opinion About a Video Game

Welcome to Internet 101. Today’s lesson is about forming an opinion. We’ll be using video games for our examples, but this guide will be applicable to many other subjects, including gun control, health care, and vaccines. Please pay attention and try not to disturb the class.

Before forming an opinion, you must first figure out what everyone is thinking. Once you know what everyone is thinking, you will then be able to agree with that consensus.

For example, Psyonix’s recently released Rocket League is the greatest video game ever created. Look around and you will notice that the entire class is now nodding. If you are not nodding because you’ve never played Rocket League, don’t worry. Knowledge of a subject is not necessary when forming an opinion.

But it does help if you plan to argue. Rocket League is a 3-on-3 variant of soccer in which mechanized vehicles engage in short, five-minute games in which they attempt to push a giant ball into a goal. Despite its simple concept, the game offers virtually limitless strategic complexity and the fast-paced, expertly balanced gameplay is a nearly perfect blend of anarchy and skill. The streamlined interface removes everything that is not essential, while the game itself produces at least one “Holy shit did you fucking see that!” moment during every round of play.

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Rocket League is brilliant, and anyone who disagrees deserves to be run over by a rocket car.

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The trick is to avoid expressing that accepted opinion for the wrong reasons. In the case of Rocket League, some would suggest that it is popular because it is objectively fun, and taps into a thrilling one-more-game mindset that appeals to a wide range of players. This is a fallacy. Rocket League is good not because it’s good. It’s good because other people say it’s good, which is totally not the same.

Yes, this will all be on the midterm.

We’ll illustrate this point with a counterexample. Metroid Prime: Blast Ball is a game mode within the upcoming Metroid Prime: Federation Force and is objectively the worst video game ever created. If you are not nodding in agreement, it means you were never really a fan of Metroid.

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Metroid Prime: Blast Ball is a 3-on-3 variant of soccer in which mechanized vehicles engage in short, five-minute games in which they attempt to push a giant ball into a goal. Any similarities to the amazing Rocket League are purely coincidental and should be disregarded.

Some people have played Blast Ball at E3, or perhaps at preview events around Toronto. They say that it’s fun, though the early impressions indicate that it’s not quite as much fun as Rocket League, which forces players to get in close to hit the ball with their cars. The proximity of Rocket League encourages more collisions and fosters a more chaotic and exhilarating style of play, while Blast Ball has projectile weapons that allow players to spread out while still having an impact on the game. Movement is slower and more complex, incorporating weapons and power-ups that make the game slightly less intuitive for newer players. Still, the game is enjoyable and exhibits considerable potential.

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The point is that absolutely none of that matters. Metroid Prime: Blast Ball is bad because it does not look exactly like an older game that people already love, and an opinion should never be based on observations about what a thing is or what it’s trying to accomplish. Rather, your opinion should be measured solely against your personal bias about what you want a thing to be, regardless of whether or not those expectations and desires have any grounding in reality. It’s also best to avoid too much independent thinking. An opinion only has merit if it matches the opinions of thousands of other individuals, and any dissent dulls the blade and must be filed down to maintain the integrity of the weapon.

That’s the other thing about opinions. There are only two of them on any given subject, and they are always in direct and open opposition. If you want to avoid being wrong, you’ll need to join the side that’s bigger, which will be easy as long as you listen to whichever side is loudest.

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That concludes today’s lesson. I want you all to practice having non-controversial opinions in your everyday lives. For homework, please complete Bioshock Infinite and bring your thoughts to Friday’s conference for discussion.

 



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