Steve is realistically goofy, and the story progresses in a logical fashion with lots of non sequitur asides that are meant just to be funny. The coach and Steve's team mates are goofy, as are the teams they play against. The controller is handled in a way that makes sense-- it doesn't really control people, does it? Or... can it? Steve know better, yet had his reasons for believing. Goofy, yes, but in a way that I think middle grade readers can appreciate. Give this to fans of Pastis' Timmy Failure, Barnes' The Terrible Two, Fry's The Odd Squad or Meyerhoff's The Barftastic Life of Louie Berger.
Younger readers will also enjoy the goofy side of this book. The names include Coach Earwax and The Enron Middle School Screaming Bulls, and the very idea of the video game controller having any effect on Steve's team is a bit far fetched.
We need a lot more books like this-- notebook novels about sports that actually have a plot, no matter how slight. Every elementary library and most middle school libraries need this title.