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Goal oriented: The Rocket Devil Arena

New ASU club introduces Rocket League tournament to Tempe campus

Rocket League player Frankeweenie competes in the Rocket Devil Arena tournament at Arizona State University in Tempe, AZ, on November 10, 2016.
Rocket League player Frankeweenie competes in the Rocket Devil Arena tournament at Arizona State University in Tempe, AZ, on November 10, 2016.

ASU gamers had the chance to test their skills on the virtual pitch after a new club held its first eSports tournament.

The Rocket Devil Arena, ran by Sun Devil eSports (not to be mistaken with the ASU eSports Association), took place this Thursday in Coor Hall.

The video game being played, Bethesda Softworks Psyonix, pits competitors against each other in what is essentially a game of soccer played with remote control cars. Players control cars affixed with rockets and try to drive a ball into the other team’s net.

Zack Walker, a marketing freshman as well as Sun Devil eSports’ treasurer, said that a great way to visualize the game exists on Tempe campus.

“If anyone has been down to the SDFC and seen the indoor soccer court there, the arena in the game looks almost exactly like that,” Walker said.

Being the club’s first tournament, Sun Devil eSports had their first chance at defining themselves as a club. Walker said that the club has a goal of creating an experience not unlike intramural sports for gamers.

“We’re here to try to provide an intramural type experience for any kind of games that students want to play if there’s enough demand,” Walker said. “So reach out to us in person, email, Facebook, Twitter, whatever and we’ll do our best to get something started.”

Walker stressed the comparison to intramurals — competitors do not need to be “on top of the competitive ladder to participate."

Walker said that his hope for club expansion is adding Blizzard’s first-person shooter Overwatch, but added that games like League of Legends may join the mix as well.

Sun Devil eSports president and business communications junior Adam Jimenez said that the idea came after he and some friends noticed a lack of tournaments dedicated to the game at ASU despite the game’s popularity.

“Right now, Rocket League is our passion,” Jimenez said. “So it just made sense to move forward with Rocket League to start the club.”

There is further significance in Rocket League being the chosen game for Sun Devil eSports’ first tournament, according to Jimenez. The game can be played between teams of one, two, three or four, but the tournament itself consisted of matches that were one on one.

Jimenez said that one on one match-ups discouraged cliques forming around the tournament and added that the one on one matches are significant because the club is hoping for “everyone to meet each other.”

A further goal of the club is to combat what Jimenez called a still lingering stigma about gamers.

“We want people to be proud of what they do in their free time,” Jimenez said.

Jimenez hopes to develop a gaming community as the club covers more tournaments.

“I’m just really excited to get this off the ground,” Jimenez said. “I’m excited to see all the different people come together and play games for fun.”

Austin Giblin, who competed at the tournament, has a certain love for the game. He said that he has held in-home tailgates with friends for broadcasted Rocket League tournaments.

Despite this, he had never played the game competitively before. His main goal in the tournament was to meet passionate players of the game, something that he has not exactly had the chance to experience before.

“I’ve been passionate about video games since I was a kid when it was kind of obsolete to be passionate about video games,” Giblin said. “To see that kind of community coming out and see that there’s actually a venue for it now is a nice change. So I think in reality the tournament will be fun, but I think meeting people and playing with other people who are as involved as I am will be a nice change.”

Reach the reporter at or follow  @jeffdarge on Twitter.

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