James “Jamesbot” Villar has been involved in the Rocket League community since the inception of the very first World Championship. From his involvement as CEO of Gold Rush to casting the biggest series in Rocket League history, Jamesbot has been synonymous with Rocket League history.
His Gold Rush series was beloved by the community as a small, friendly community ran version of the Beyond the Summit events seen in DotA, CS:GO, and Smash. While Gold Rush is no more, Beyond the Summit operates in the same vein and will hopefully see several Rocket League Summits come to life.
1) We do not know much about the Summit event just yet, but what are your first impressions based on what we know so far?
From what I’ve seen from Summit, I think our community is in for a treat. When we ran Gold Rush, we based it heavily off of the Summit events. We hoped that one day the game would be big enough to warrant their involvement, and now that time is actually here. I have no doubt that the content pieces they’ll make with the pros will generate memes for years to come.
2) You ran an event much in the veins of Summit called GoldRush. For those in the community who are not familiar with GoldRush can you explain the format and what was unique about it compared to your typical Rocket League LAN?
The first every Gold Rush was something quite special for our team, the pros and the community. It was back in the days of Rocket League where LANs were non-existent outside of the RLCS. The community and players were incredibly hungry for that LAN experience, and when our team gave the community an outlet to make that happen, they jumped on it. Both Gold Rush 1&2 would not have happened without vast community support.
As for format, we picked high profile players and talent from the community to come out for All-Star tournaments. The first Gold Rush had a pretty legendary 1v1 tournament where Dappur and Kux went head to head for the title. The thing that made Gold Rush unique was the fact we were 100% community funded and operated, and the players were very comfortable to be themselves and have a good time since everyone at these events (the first one being in my 900sq ft apartment) were core community members.
We all felt free to have a good time. Gold Rush 1 was especially epic, there was just something magical about it. I still have the full length VODs up on YouTube but I can’t remember if they’re unlisted or not. If they’re unlisted, I would be happy to make them public in celebration of BTS coming into the scene.
3) You’ve been a broadcast talent since Season 1 of the RLCS. How much has Rocket League’s growth impacted both your career and the careers of the pros you’ve seen grow as the game has as an esport?
Someone put out a tweet that said, “Where would you be without Rocket League” and it really made me think. I most certainly wouldn’t be in the esports industry. I was working in Product Development for Steelcase at the time, a job and company I loved…so even without Rocket League I’d be in a good spot, but I’d definitely still be at Steelcase living in Michigan. Rocket League however changed my life drastically.
I’m now in year 3 of my career at Twitch, and we’re going on Season 8 of RLCS. I can honestly say everything has been a dream come true. I feel so grateful for the opportunity that fell into my lap, and I don’t ever take it for granted. As for pros, I’ve seen pros get to the top and stay at the top (GarrettG, Fireburner, Kuxir, Turbo, Kaydop, and the list goes on) which is incredible to see. With Epic acquiring Rocket League I think we’re about to see the game reach astronomical success in the coming years, and these players will be huge beneficiaries.
As for the game and the esport, Psyonix has done incredibly well to position the game in a spot where they were able to get acquired by Epic and attract huge brands as sponsors. I also feel Twitch did a great job of helping set the tone for Rocket League Esports back in Season 1 and beyond. I am a bit biased though since I came on to help for seasons 2-4 on the Twitch side of things. I’ve been gaming since I was five years old, and I can honestly say that Rocket League is special and is here to stay. I can’t wait to see what comes next for the game and the esport.
4) We’ve seen a lot of events from different Tournament organizers, what was your favorite to cast and why?
I really enjoy events where I have time to chat with players and fans, and there’s no better place for that than the RLCS World Championships. Each one is so special, and it feels like you’re a part of something special when you’re there in person.
I look forward to the after parties because all the pros and fans mix in and it’s like a giant family reunion. Thinking about it is giving me the post-World Championship blues! As for casting specifically, it’s also the World Championships. Nothing beats casting in front of a roaring crowd.
5) If you could make the ideal event for Rocket League, what kind of event would you run and what would it look like?
It would be a once a year, weeklong global mega event that features teams from around the world competing to be the best. Imagine a once a year RLCS World Championship, but with teams from every country with an internet connection.
We’re talking AT LEAST 32 teams, all playing down to the final match. It would be a festival, a celebration of the game. A coming together of the global Rocket League community that you just can’t miss, where the winner’s names are engraved into the Trophy of Champions and remembered for the rest of time. That would be my perfect event in a nutshell.
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