Hall of Fame: Mike Rothstein
This article was written in February 2015, when Mike was originally inducted to the Hall of Fame, at a time when there was only one inductee per year. In February 2020, his year of induction was retroactively changed to 2013, his first year of eligibility.
Not every champion in Celebrity Goo Game is a well-known member of the Funeratic community before they start winning. Some players fly under the radar for a while, quietly building their scores until they suddenly win or otherwise do so well that the rest of the community takes notice of the talented stranger in their midst. Mike Rothstein is exactly that kind of player. Originally introduced to the site by his acquaintance Steve Dunn in the summer of 2006, he played well at the game for years without getting much recognition for it, and the other players knew only that he lived in New York City, the one bit of biographical detail that he shared about himself on the site. The other players who Steve introduced drifted away one by one, and perhaps it was assumed that Mike would do the same, but year after year, he kept playing the game well, to little notice. Then came the day when his perseverance paid off: In November 2012, Mike dominated the competition in a bracketed tournament and won the game, and the rest of the players realized that a competitor of considerable talent had been lurking in their ranks for some time, slowly racking up one of the game's all-time highest scores. As if to silence any doubt, Mike quickly proved that his victory was no fluke: He won the game again in May 2013 and November 2014, this time as a known threat. Today, there is no more mystery about it: Mike Rothstein is indisputably one of the best players in Celebrity Goo Game.
Since he's not as well known as other players, his addition to the game's Hall of Fame makes a good opportunity to "introduce" Mike to the rest of Funeratic after all these years. Originally from New York City, he attended Duke University, and it was through a Duke alumni forum online that he encountered Steve Dunn along with fellow players Greg Bair, Jason Evans, Jim Kraus, Shawn Brandt, and Vance Tucker (a group that had connections to even more players, like Alison Bair, Sam Boyarsky, and Samir Mehta). Besides North Carolina, Mike also lived for a time in San Francisco before settling back home in New York. As a lover of sports and music, Mike most enjoys goos from those categories, but still likes tracking down the identity of someone who he knows nothing about. He enjoys the research aspect of the game, and his primary strategy is to decode the wordplay present in many clues, which makes it especially satisfying when he solves a tricky one. He also looks to the competition for hints: When many players solve a goo that stumps him, he trusts that he's overthinking it and changes course, while few players solving a tough goo at least gives him solace.
Although he remains one of Funeratic's more private members when it comes to his personal life, Mike's profile as a player has slowly risen from virtual stranger to dominant threat in every form of competition. When the game was scored with bracketed tournaments, he was a frequent presence in the finals and semi-finals, routinely besting players who had been in the game for years longer. After the game switched to a point-based system in mid-2014, he quickly adapted his strategy and came out on top yet again. Mike has now racked up over 1,750 solves, one of the all-time highest scores, and at his present rate he's soon to overtake the friend who introduced him to the game in the first place (who he has already eclipsed in victory count). 51 of those solves happened consecutively, during his triumphant Spring 2013 season. He has also inspired two goos: Actor Eric Bogosian whose goo he designed, and journalist Mike Rothstein who was added to the game as a goof on his name. Mike has been quiet but not unfriendly: In the rare occasions when he has commented in Tragic Comedy, it has been to offer words of encouragement and salutation to other players, and constructive feedback about change proposals. Without many players realizing it until his victories demanded notice, Mike has achieved one of the most consistent, accomplished, and talented careers of all Celebrity Goo Game players. His induction to the Hall of Fame, which officially recognizes the game's very best players, is well deserved.
Mike's comments: I really enjoy the game, look forward to the challenges and the competition from the other great players, and appreciate being recognized.