We're trying something new with our Community Spotlight series. The Rocket League community is full of talented people with a serious passion for the game. Like the title "Community Spotlight" suggests, we would like to use this series to shine a light on some of those unique individuals. Don't worry, we know many of our fans look forward to our Training Pack collections, and those will return very soon. But this month, enjoy our first new kind of Community Spotlight featuring Rudeism.
Think back to your first successful aerial goal in Rocket League. After all the trial and error—all the hours just trying to make contact with the ball—you finally launch your Battle-Car in the air and strike the ball with just enough power and placement to tuck it into the net. Now imagine trying an aerial goal, but somebody removed the controller from your hands and replaced it with a plastic guitar that's usually reserved for rhythm-based music games. That’s what a streamer who goes by the name of "Rudeism" has turned into his passion.
Rudeism, whose real name is Dylan Beck, tries to play games with controllers that virtually nobody would prefer over a standard gamepad. He fell in love with Rocket League close to the game’s launch in 2015. That’s around the same time he started streaming, but back then, he relied on a standard controller. Now, Rudeism has carved his niche within the streaming community by gaming with ridiculous controllers. Rocket League has always been one of his streaming mainstays, but instead of grabbing the sticks, he now reaches for a guitar.
"My background before I started streaming was in competitive Guitar Hero," Rudeism said. "I used to play competitively for a few years long before Rocket League or even Twitch was a thing. I remember streaming one day. I was playing Rocket League just casually. One of my friends joked that I should play with a Guitar Hero Guitar, just for a laugh. And I just thought, 'that’s a bloody stupid idea. Why would anyone want to do that?' Then we ended up sitting down and figuring it out, like, 'OK, if you wanted to do it, this is how you would do it.'"
The next logical question is "how?" A guitar doesn’t have an analog stick or triggers, so how would one even begin to make a Battle-Car move? That’s something that Rudeism had to figure out before even taking the field. The whammy bar handles accelerating and reversing, flicking the strum bar up or down turns the car right or left, and the buttons on the neck act as the typical face buttons on a controller for things like jumping, boosting, and air rolling.
After figuring out the buttons, Rudeism had to basically relearn the game that he had already spent hundreds of hours playing. Now, he’s spent roughly 300 hours playing with a guitar, and says he prefers it to a controller.
"It’s funny. You think it would be a natural disadvantage to use the guitar and in a lot of cases it is, but it's interesting," Rudeism said. "You learn things, and you find out that some things are easier to do with a guitar than with a standard controller, like half-flipping. Half-flipping is super easy to do with a guitar. To give you a comparison, my highest rank with a controller is Platinum 1, and my highest rank with a guitar is Platinum 2/ nearly Platinum 3. So, I’m getting better at it. I'd love to hit diamond."
The New Zealand-based streamer works as a game developer by day, but is constantly trying to come up with new ways to play games differently. Playing Rocket League with a guitar is a small sample of what he’s attempted. He’s tried Tekken 7 with boxing gloves, Dark Souls with a dance pad, and Overwatch with Nerf guns. If he can’t find a strange controller, he makes his own. He's managed to transform typical household items into functional controllers like a cooking pan, a broom, and even a deer skull. He’s even experimented with food.
Rudeism doesn’t know how well a controller is going to work until he’s live on stream. He makes sure the buttons are properly mapped and then learns how to use his creations live on Twitch. According to him, learning on the fly is part of the entertainment for his audience. Not all of his ideas pan out as well as the ideas are conceived, though. He once tried to play Portal with a cake by wiring buttons to candles with cherries placed on them. It was an idea that was as ill-fated as it sounds.
"I had this cake that I bought from the supermarket. I had a bunch of cherries and candles. So I put the cherries on the candles and wired it so each cherry was a different button. I tried playing it with that. It didn’t work," he recalled. "The whole thing just started melting and falling apart, which was a bit of a shame."
For his current stream series, Rudeism has partnered with the charity AbleGamers, a nonprofit devoted to supplying controllers to those with disabilities. His new challenge? Completing Super Mario 64 with one single button—not one button with an analog stick—but just one, lone button. It's programmed like Morse Code. Different button presses, whether they’re short or long, tell the game to do different things. Two short presses push Mario forward, two long presses send him backward, and combinations of long and short presses do various other actions. The result is the most challenging way possible to play a 3D game adventure game.
"I wanted to do something for AbleGamers because I think it’s a pretty good fit: a charity who builds controllers for people who need them and a guy who builds controllers that absolutely nobody asked for," Rudeism laughs. "I tried to think about people with physical disabilities who can't use controllers like most people can. They have to figure out those limitations. So, I wanted to take that to 100. What’s the most limiting thing that I can do? I think that’s literally playing a game with just one button. I don’t think it gets any simpler of a control scheme than that."
A feat like this requires saint-like patience, something that seems to be ingrained in Rudeism’s DNA. In a recent stream, Rudeism spent three hours trying to complete a single Bowser stage. Through every missed button press that led Mario to his doom, he stayed calm, cool, and collected. Then, he goes right back to it and tries again with a smile on his face.
"I do it for fun, right?" he says. "That’s the reason 99% of us play games. So if you’re not enjoying it, what’s the point?"
As for his future plans, Rudeism is always trying to push the boundaries of what a game controller can be. His viewers can always expect to see some more wild controller ideas. He’s currently trying to figure out how to play The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time with an ocarina. "At this point I don’t think anything can get harder than the Super Mario 64 run. I think I'm pretty free and clear to make things as hard as I want, which is nice."