Driver Update: Direct2Drive Compo Results

By Kieron Gillen on October 14th, 2009 at 5:46 pm.

Alec is away, so the HIGH TECH PHOTOSHOP WIZARDRY IS ALL MINE. No, I'm not available for freelance
Do you remember the recent past? Well done. Memory is functional. Anyway, in that recent past you may remember, you may remember us running a compo to tie in with the recent 5th year anniversary of Direct2Drive. And if you don’t – well, click the link and you’ll soon catch up. We’ve picked the winner who recieves many-o-games, and you’ll find him below, along with some of the other answers to our simple question: What’s the most RPSiest game of all time… and why. It was a total set up for sycophancy, and we’re pleased you did not fail us. Well, at least, not mostly…

Well, James Greene called me a complete and utter bastard – which isn’t smart, when I’m the judge, and if I am a complete bastard then surely I’ll be bastardly enough to make you not win because of it? Didn’t think of that did you James? No, not so smart now. Come here. Come… actually, no he doesn’t not win because of that. He not wins because of a splendid misreading of Alec’s personality…

The cheerful face of RPS

Whhhhhaaaat?

That said, he’s right about John defeating enemies by crying. Anyway, what was his game?

Basically, what I’m getting at here is – you’re all completely different, all completely batshit insane, and yet, somehow, it works. Or maybe it doesn’t, but it’s quite amusing regardless. Which is why the Game of RPS is Boiling Point. Kieron is the bugs. Jim is the open-worldyness. Alec is the “what the fuck do I do now” stuff. And John… I dunno, John is the bits when you die, and cry.

RPS is very much the flying Jaguar of Videogame sites, I’ll give him that. But I think we can do better. Nice try, James.

Meanwhile, Stefan was having a little muse…

Well how should I name the “definitive RPS game” ? Which could be the criteria for it ? Is it more an serious depth-story game or probably a simple one with funny mechanics ? Should it refer to Jim, Kieron, Alec or even John ?

Yes, totally! Except for John. What do you say?

Taking everything into consideration, I don’t think that such thing like a “definitive RPS game” will ever exist! Your brains will always be too complicated and maverick – so you couldn’t be judged as just one whole individual. I totaly agree that everyone of you writes amazing stuff – but even though every article is different and shows a different opinion depending on the author…

So, since choosing the “definitive RPS game” will probably not be possible until all of you agreed to transfer there memories into one giant computer-hard-drive, I just pick up the best game I could imagine everyone of you likes to play and sometimes dream about: Beyond Good & Evil!

But none of us are either hot green-haired curious-lipstick girls, mores the pity. Nope, out, Stefan! Quite out. Meanwhile, JonF argued Worms World Party. Why is that, eh, JonF?

because it’s old fashioned, still fun, and if someone disagrees with another (even on the same side) there’s nothing against friendly fire or blasting them into having another opinion.

Alas, there’s nothing friendly about our fire and worms is a bit nob because AP said it was so. Meanwhile, Ben Borthwick argues Armed & Dangerous. Interesting idea, Ben. But why?

Firstly, it’s funny. I mean, genuinely funny. So is RPS. It parodies many other games and movies. Like RPS. And it even has four heroes. Like RPS. Heck, you only have to look at the press release description of the characters to see the striking resemblances:

“Based on a true story, players take on the role of Roman, a cockney criminal mastermind and leader of a gang of accidental heroes known as the Lionhearts.” -Clearly, this is referring to Jim. He’s not cockney, I will admit. But he is a criminal mastermind.

” Jonesy, a Scottish Mole Miner and demolition expert. He’s acerbic, bitter, sarcastic, and loyal only to the Lionhearts.” – Remove the Scottish bit and replace Lionhearts with RPS and we all know they’re talking about Alec.

“Q1-11 is an upper class, debonair eliminator droid and the group’s muscle, who attained self-awareness through his deep and abiding love of tea.” – OK, muscle might be a bit strong. But tea? Yeah. Especially as Walker tries to wean off the coffee. He definitely has deep and abiding love though. Ewww.

“Rounding out the gang is Rexus, a seer and great sage who suffered a tragic head trauma that reduced him to the stinky, unpleasant wreck of the man he is today.” – Do I really have to imply that this is Gillen? Is it really not that obvious?

And the final irrefutable proof that Armed and Dangerous is basically RPS in game form? – It’s got a fucking land shark gun. A shark. In a fucking gun. A concept so awesome it defies words. RPS is the land shark gun of games journalism and indeed, the internet.

Ben has a point on the Land Shark… but John hates tea, hence he fails. What does Thomas Cross think?

The RPSiest game of all time would have to include RPS’s love for the quirky, unsung, possibly ill-made, extremely interesting, and strangely intentioned PC games that are appearing more and more. But it would also have to include those excellent European and Russian games that have a fundamentally different approach to genres we think we know. Finally, it would of course appeal to the RPSer who loved excellent, interesting traditional PC games from more “Western” sources. So of course, the RPSiest game of all time would be King’s Bounty, since it mixes the best of many genres and influences, all while remaining proudly distant from certain “obvious” moves and design decisions. Plus, it has hexes.

But King’s Bounty doesn’t have landshark, so no. Blame Ben Borthwick, the cad. Jack Elliot?

Clearly the most RPS game of all is Civilization. Of all varieties. I mean, you start out clubbing people with rocks, for a brief spell you’ll be writing on paper, and then you’re off flying jets and clobbering people with shotguns. Done and done. Also, it’s best on the PC. Can’t be beat.

Sadly, as anyone who has seen RPS on the dancefloor know, we’re a long way from civilized. mores the pity. Meanwhile, Matthew Spence has a go…

EVE! Eve first came to mind but thats not a RPS, EVE can’t be described as anything but EVE.

I think you’ll find it can be described as the flying jaguar of games journalism. Or a land-shark. But we’ll give you a shot.

Ask someone to think of an early days computer game and pong is going to be up there at the top, heck even ask for an early space based game and its going to be space invaders. Yet beyond this why is asteroids RPSey you ask? Well looking at these other early games, while having a simple premise, shoot lasers at space rocks, asteroids like RPS has that little bit more that makes it special. Just you’re bog standard left, right and shoot? Oh no no no. You can fly about and shoot as you like, being careful not to split up to many asteroids at once. You even get to think with portals 28 years before that other game asks you to, as you mind bogglingly pop out the other side of the screen as you meander around your obstacles. Continuing on in RPSeyness, every so often have some random UFO appear from no where that shoots crap up and makes you realise there’s more out there than the bog standard of just shooting rocks.

Plus what can be more RPSey than a game where you don’t have to play the game, sure you can shoot out the rocks until the credits run out but rather you can stretch yourself, hold off pulling the trigger and just avoid the asteroids. Why are you shooting at these asteroid? What if whoever hired you to blow these rocks up, had a particular grudge against some aliens life who called these asteroids home and is paying you in points to wipe these poor creatures out. But you have a choice you don’t have to blow up the rocks, you don’t have to take your filthy blood money you instead can think and be RPS.

Oh and it has loss momentum in space which is sure to tick some people off.

Hmm. Spence… we are all about loss of momentum in space. But what about the Landsharks? Perhaps Greg Caleo knows…

It’s just gotta be rock-paper-scissors itself – the game – played digitally (or semi-digitally, actually, given you only need one hand to do it. And in the game)

AND IN THE GAME!

No.

Rob Palethorpe?

The all-time, PC-est, most RPS game (of all time) is….. (drum roll, overly pregnant pause)…. STRANGE ADVENTURES IN INFINITE SPACE! Why? It’s tiny and indie, so Kieron’s happy. Which is important. Bless. But it has so much more to offer: There’s an emergent narrative. It’s strange. No really, it is! It’s a bit like Elite. It satisfies the inner Geek. It all happens in space. Space! How cool is that! It could only happen on PC. Oh, and it’s free.

But we’re not free. We’re funded by advertisement and our lovely subscribers. Hurrah for our lovely subscribers.

Hmm. Lee Griffiths has a shot.

Deus Ex. Because it’s great, even though it appears to have been made on a shoestring. Because it had a shit sequel. Because not enough people like it. And most of all: BECAUSE YOU GUYS NEVER SHUT UP ABOUT IT. At least you don’t mention it as much as Tom Francis.

While your attacking of Tom “Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory” Francis is to your credit, Lee, you’ll find we’ve barely done anything on Deus Ex. There’s 9 things with a Deus Ex tag. In fact, we probably should do some more. Thanks for the reminder.

Anyway, Malte Skarupke takes a chance to get sentimental…

For me the most RPSiest game will forever be World of Goo. Because when I was linked to your site all those months back, the first thing I clicked on was your World of Goo review. Before this, I had never heard of your site, I was still wary about digital distribution, I wasn’t following indie gaming, and I certainly hadn’t heard of World of Goo. So when this website I never heard of started a review about a game I never heard of by calling it one of the best games of the year, I was ready to close my browser and never visit this over-hyping site again.

But somehow I clicked on that article. And I had never read such an enthusiastic and well-written article before. It was just so thoroughly positive, yet also so thoughtful and just so… I don’t know the english words to describe what I read there. Maybe love? And somehow, that day, against my better judgement, I followed the
advice of a website I never heard of before about a game I never heard of before and did something I had never done before: I gave money, over the internet, to a tiny company I couldn’t trust, to pre-order a game.

And I never looked back. Not only did I discover one of my favorite games of all time, but from that day forward, Rock, Paper, Shotgun became my new home on the internet for games. Plus it can be considered an RPSy game, because it is funny, clever, has lots of variety, is made with love, and has a puking frog in it. Just
like RPS.

Much like we are like flying jaguars and landsharks, there is much of the puking frog about us. And this sensitive story almost won the prize, until I realised that John wrote that review. So it doesn’t. Sexy -Matt Ralston? He thinks we’re something which we all raved about. Also, he namechecks me, which is always worth bonus marks…

I was thinking about this last night, but seeing Kieron’s post this morning jolted me into action. Choosing an undeniable classic of PC gaming like Deus Ex or PS:T was tempting – especially the latter, given the strength of the writing and the opportunity this lends for fawning comparisons with you lot – as was going all-out for obscurity points with some sort of Russian art-MMO about the loneliness of being a boat captain, or whatever. But really, how can one go past Zeno Clash! Does any game better encapsulate RPSiness, outdo ZC’s blend of artistry and violence, originality and inspiration, neo-traditional gameplay (please don’t insta-delete my entry for that) with a healthy dash of surrealism and an overriding sense of ambiguity – what does it mean, if anything? is this a work of art or a game about punching? (could it be both???)

RPS has always appeared to me as something of an indie-mainstream bridge. There’s a gentle (and sometimes not-so-gentle, thankfully) disdain for the deadening effects of commercialisation, but always a recognition that, hey, this is business for a lot of people, and who says there’s no such thing as commercial art, anyway? Zeno Clash’s design ethos, development history and method of distribution seem like a perfect example of the plucky little guys making it big, but not without talent, some sensible business decisions, a whole lot of hard work, and something special that they refuse to let go of or dilute – maybe because they’re idealists at heart, maybe because they recognise that it’s precisely this which gives them a shot at success. No analogy is perfect, but this seems like a pretty good one: for the rise of RPS, and for what RPS is all about.

All good points, but really – Matt! – you should have jumped straight on that Praise-our-planescape-esque-prose train, like Tom Howard…

The definitive Rock Paper Shotgun game is, of course, Planescape: Torment. Let’s get the basics out of the way. First of all, shameless flattery never hurts, and just as PS:T is the best videogame ever, RPS is the best website on the internet. Both have been crafted with a lot of care and love. But there’s a little more to it than that.

See, he’s off to a good start here. Keep on going.

PC Gaming is like Sigil, city of gates (or ports, from the same latin root). Inside it different factions or genres fight for the ascendency. Around it revolve all the planes of other gaming including the Blood Console War between Sony and Microsoft (both clearly evil, with Microsoft as chaotic and Sony as lawful). PC Gaming shares many of the qualities of it’s neighbours, but is often threatened by great evils such as Games For Windows Live, threatening to slide us into the XBox360 plane.

Set in this world that mirrors our own, PS:T also features many similar characters – Jim Rossignol as Dak’kon – quiet, and philosophical, as though great things weigh upon his mind. Kieron Gillen as Morte – the talking skull with an opinion about everything. Alec Meer as Nordom, strategic and logical. And John Walker as Fall-From-Grace (bear with me on this one), ever trying new sensations and, of course, the healer of the group. Quinns is obviously Ignus, consumed by internal flame, and Tim Stone is, um, Vhailor, ‘cos he’s the one I never use.

Splendid stuff, Tom. You’re definitely in second place. Sadly, there’s no second prize, but feel free to construct a special badge extolling your greatness to all and sundry. Meanwhile, step forward Brent Smith…

Oddly enough, the definitive RPS game is one that has never been discussed on RPS. The definitive RPS game is N.

N is, to put it simply, the culmination of all gaming. And at its heart it embodies all that makes PC gaming great. It is a sloughing off of all the fetid crust that has begun to form on the idea of video gaming since it began its journey. It’s not full of the reams of prose of the video games that aspire to be books. It doesn’t have a twelve minute long video of a motion captured one-liner-spouting meathead of the video games that aspire to be movies. It doesn’t have the mind numbingly monotonous level grinding and stat finessing of the video games that have failed to be like pen and paper tabletop games. It doesn’t even have the bump mapping or dynamic
lighting of the video games that only aspire to look shinier than the ones that came out six months before it. No, for it is video gaming condensed. Press a key to run. Press a key to jump. Do these things and you will have fun. Endless fun, challenging fun, nuanced fun, nearly indescribable fun. Every extraneous mote that comes between the gamer and their fun has been plucked, every aspect that could possibly encumber the experience has been shorn off, leaving the perfect shape to absolutely sing with vibrations of gaming goodness.

It is a culmination of gaming because it remembers and is informed by every lesson learned in video gaming’s progress up until this point, and a rejects every unwanted hanger-on that is clinging to its rising star. It is a culmination of PC gaming because it is all this imbued with the PC gaming spirit. A spirit that knows you don’t need to pour millions of dollars into the works to make a game. A spirit that knows you don’t need to pander to a company to get the privilege to work on their proprietary box to make a game. A spirit that needn’t concern itself with focus groups and demographic testing because what it is creating is *pure*. Like the greats of PC gaming’s history, the creators floated up into that untamed space of bits and bytes that is computing, and by instinct, by passion, by love of exploration, set to work. A language was there established for them, and they, like Michelangelo, saw the work of art that lie inside of it. All that was need to do was to extract it.

And like with those early greats, people recognized this as the art it was. Great edifices could be built off of what was previously nothing. A couple of people working on an abstract sheet of numbers and operands one minute and then setting the cultural consciousness ablaze the next is the quintessential PC success story. Even in today’s dour days of the willingness to sound PC gaming’s death knell at every turn, someone shows that one tiny game can still turn every available head and even bring the alpha dogs scratching at the door, whining to be let in.

N is the PC game incarnate, and whether or not you are explicitly aware of it, every word on RPS and every ideology held by RPS is in service to it.

Crikey. Even the fact that Tom Francis really likes it can’t takke away from Brent’s FULL ON PROSE ASSAULT. Quickly, let’s give him the prize before we realise he broken Ben’s Landsharks rule. Well done he, and well done everyone.

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39 Comments »

  1. damien says:

    boiling point / xenus!

    hahaha, excellent.

  2. Stijn says:

    I still think you’re more like Limbo of the Lost, for you both thrive on reusing screenshots from other games :(

  3. LewieP says:

    Is RPS better on the 360?

    • Psychopomp says:

      lol consulbabby u cant mod consul gaems 360 nub

    • scoopsy says:

      Heh, this was my first thought too, since the definitive version of the game is N+ for XBLA.

    • Vinraith says:

      I’d argue N+ on the DS is the definitive version, but it still rather undermines the PC argument.

    • LewieP says:

      I’ve got it on PSP, DS and 360 (they all have unique levels!) and I think the 360 version is best. Although the PSP and DS version have portability on their side, the mad graphics and same screen multi on the 360 make it the winner in my book.

    • Jack says:

      Iphone, fools!

    • Benny says:

      Anyone got it running on linux yet? :(

  4. Kid A says:

    Alec IS the cheerful face of RPS, compared to Sulky, Crybaby, and Bastard.

  5. Pod says:

    If N really is a favourite game of any of the Hivemind, then I’m quittin’!

    Anyway, congrats Brent. I hope you get to download the games at more than 20kb/s like I do. [Mirrors edge still has around 100 hours left, or something].

  6. futage says:

    I am boycotting this thread/article.

  7. Heliocentric says:

    Em, rps is a game which only achieved financial success on the consoles?

  8. Earl_of_Josh says:

    Wow, that was some pretty intense prose assault. Definitely seemed like it would be hard to compete with that.

  9. jsutcliffe says:

    N is the definitive console game, even though it’s on PC*. Spelunky is PC-ier, for most of the same reasons Mr. Smith mentions for N with the addition of overly complex controls.

    * N+ doesn’t count — N was PC first.

  10. Mad Doc MacRae says:

    HOW DID LANDSHARKS NOT WIN

    /ahhh, the power of the bullet

  11. WallOfUnfunnyTexts says:

    So did someone win or wot? And who is it?

  12. Carra says:

    Euh, N? The only game on the list I never heard of before. And I can’t google it, it gives too many answers!

  13. Tom-INH says:

    Second eh? Oh well, maybe next time.

  14. Stupoider says:

    -Wipes away tear- That was beautiful. :D

  15. WallOfUnfunnyTexts says:

    So it’s the guy who wrote about a game that doesn’t exist, Tycho style? Bravo.

  16. WilPal says:

    On a completely unrelated note i’ve just been going through the alternate text on the title images.
    Some of them made me chuckle!

  17. Garg says:

    The irony is that N is exactly what I hate in gaming; fiddly jumping and such like. Well written exhaltation of it though.

  18. The_B says:

    LANDSHARKS.

  19. Matt Spence says:

    Yay! Mine actually got read and commented on.

    Not bad for a 3am post management-essay-writing numbness, put more thought into that email than the whole uni NO THOUGHTS OF YOUR OWN!!! literature review /dances

    Well done Brent Smith though :)

  20. Rob says:

    So still no winners for the Ashes compo?? The one from the summer…

  21. _Nocturnal says:

    Aw, so my Final Fantasy suggestion didn’t pass.
    Seriously though, if I could have entered, I’d say Gauntlet.
    My reasons are many, starting with there being four heroes and going deeper, probably passing through some choice Wikipedia quotes like: “The players must cooperate by sharing food and luring monsters into places where they can be engaged and slaughtered more conveniently. (i.e. Kieron’s home)” and of course “Each player had a joystick and two buttons, one for “Fire” (to attack) and one for “Magic”. The Magic button also started the game.” I’m pretty sure those are the only buttons RPS uses, too.
    Also, joystick joke!

  22. Jonas says:

    Hm I had a Neverwinter Nights character once called Thomas Cross. He was a rogue.

    I have no point.

  23. Frankie The Patrician[PF] says:

    Where do you want to be flown?

  24. Frankie The Patrician[PF] says:

    The joys of reply function..it was for the guy boycotting the thread/compo up there…somewhere…

  25. Lambchops says:

    I would have voted Landshark – best weapon ever.

  26. Tony says:

    I have still not completed N.

    For years I have been stuck on… 86-4, I think. Something like that.

    It’s the level where four thwumps form an impenetrable wall of doom four times and you have to run like something that runs fast.

    And I CAN’T DO IT AARGH AARGH

  27. rob says:

    N is actually better than RPS! Here’s why:

    “Dear Metanet Software,

    I’d like to express my thanks for the important contribution your game N has made to many of my patients. I am a clinical psychologist specializing in neurobehavioral therapy for disorders of attention, anxiety, and impulsivity in adolescents. For a portion of their mental training, we run N on a PC with the AV signal channeled through a switch that responds to the patient’s brainwaves or skin-conductance. When the patient’s autonomic nervous system becomes excited or brain becomes agitated beyond a certain threshold, the AV signal is automatically cut-off and the game paused until the patient can again play with perfect composure.

    Better than any other game I’ve employed, N is beautifully adapted for this purpose. In practice mode with the timer off, not only does the game-play allow for pausing even at critical junctures whenever the AV signal is interrupted, but the level design also allows me to teach patients with learning disabilities and attention deficits how to gather information from failure, identify new strategies, practice the execution of those strategies, and then, following additional failures, reassess their strategies or need for further skill acquisition. This training teaches them meta-awareness which helps them to develop frustration tolerance in real world academic and social environments in a way that talk therapy alone does not.

    So, thanks again for your fine work. It has made a substantial difference in the lives of many young people and their families. (Incidentally, they also really enjoy watching their N-body bounce around after it becomes a corpse.)

    Best wishes,
    Benjamin Alterman, Ph.D. ”

    sauce: http://www.metanetsoftware.com/blog/?p=512

    Also, many of the levels in the dirty N+ console versions were actually donated to the lesser formats by members of the PC N community in the fashion of an uncharacteristically benevolent elder brother. What’s more PC than that?

    http://www.metanetsoftware.com/sublime/