RPS: The Game

Penny Arcade isn’t the only gaming site with its own electro-video-amusement. In collaboration with Kunal Joshi – as in, he wrote it and mailed it us, and we stuck it up online – we bring you RPS: The Game.

We like to think of it as the natural evolution of Rock Paper Scissors, by introducing a Shotgun, which has a random chance of appearing in the last second and if you can grab it then, trumps everything. We’ll get Dual Wield for V2, I’m sure. Until then, we’ve got our exclusive RPS tactical guide to the exclusive RPS game exclusively beneath the exclusive-cut.

1 ) Rock Paper Scissors originates as an early attempt to simulate the Prussian/Hungarian conflict of 1842, where the Prussians armed their grand imperial forces with Rocks. However, a Russian-funded Hungarian counter-attack with Paper lead to the complete rout of the Prussian forces and the later capituation of Prussia to the Parisian commune. Scissors was added later for game-balance purposes, in a move which offends historical purists to this day.

2 ) Paper wraps Rock.

3 ) Rock blunts Scissors.

4 ) Scissors cut Paper.

5 ) Shotgun blows everything to shit.

6 ) The philosophical debate of why Paper wraping rock should be any worry at all to the rock has continued to rage ever since the game’s creation. “Oh no! I’ve been wrapped. Whatever am I going to do? I know – continue exactly the same as before, because you’re just bloody paper”. Defenders of the Paper/Rock counter-attack can only point at the Prussian/Hungarian conflict of 1842, which some historians have argued may be entirely fictional.

7 ) Scissors cut paper. This seems fair enough.

8 ) Rock blunts Scissors also seems to be on fairly sound grounds.

9 ) The traditional game of Rock Paper Scissors is one of psychology. You have to look for subtle clues in your opponent’s demeanour that may suggest which way they’ll turn. A little forward planning can pay enormous dividends. Try and sneak into your opponents house and examine their room. How many pairs of Scissors do they have in the house? Do they have a Rockery? Is there an enormous oragami person who they use as a surrogate spouse? All of these things can help you discern which way they’ll turn in the heat of an RPS match.

10) If you can’t manage to do that, prepare the battlefield carefully. By leaving Rocks, Papers and Scissors lying around the room, you can pick up clues of what’s going to be played by which way your opponent’s eyes turn at a crucial moment. Be sure to wear a blindfold to prevent giving away similar tells. There is no flaws in this tactic, and anyone who points out one should be shunned socially.

11) If you can’t do that, try a direct approach. As directly “Are you going to play Scissors?”. If they say yes, and you believe them, play a rock. If you don’t believe them, don’t play a Rock. You can work out whether they are lying or not by means of looking them in their eye and shaking their hand firmly. If they’re lying, they’ll avert their eyes and their grip will not be firm and manful. If you have no hands, a ducking stool can be used instead, which will also work out whether they’re a witch.

12) If your opponent is a witch, the game continues as usual. However, if you were playing Cribbage, you’d be able to collect 10-bonus-witch-opponent-points.

13) When you kill an enemy, its corpse will rebound around the level. The screen is divided into seven invisible bands, and making the enemy land in each will lead to one of the seven gems of the spectrum. If you collect all seven gems by this method, you gain an extra life. If you get them in order, across all levels, you’ll unlock something or other.

14) Actually, shit, that was Rainbow Islands.

15) The Scissors! Get the Scissors! Go for it, quick… oh, DAMN. He went Rock. Man!


  1. Jaxtrasi says:

    link to grudge-match.com is a fairly comprehensive review of their relative strengths. Sadly predates the shotgun.

  2. Okami says:

    hah! I knew that (13) was Rainbow Islands, before reading (14)! Do I win something?

  3. Albides says:

    Balanced gameplay, but one dimensional characters, mediocre narrative, predictable choices and lack of variety in enemies. Jarring blend of ancient (rock, paper) and more modern tech (shotgun, scissors) make it seem like it was trying to be a steampunk-ish genre blender (like gender bender but completely different) but failed hopelessly to convey a consistent world.


  4. Kieron Gillen says:

    You’re not playing it right! I will now cut all advertising with your site.


  5. Optimaximal says:

    Is this based on Unreal tech? If so, how do we know the AI behind the game isn’t watching what we pick and choosing appropriately?

  6. Feet says:

    Shotgun reigns supreme, indeed. IMBA tbh. Needs serious nerfing IMHO.

  7. Nallen says:

    I rly liek RPS but if there going 2 put shitty DRM on there gamez im gonna hav 2 d/l it. You guys r ownly hurtin legit peeps and urselfs lol tbh.

  8. Kunal says:

    @Optimaximal – I thought about using Unreal tech, but it simply wouldn’t let the game reach its full potential. So right now I’m using an alpha version of idTech5. Those megatextures really bring the game to life.

  9. Jaxtrasi says:


    QQ, paper noob. L2P.

  10. KindredPhantom says:

    Scissors need buffing, their under-used and under-appreciated.

  11. trioptimum says:

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  12. Jacques says:

    I’m sick of these motherfuckin’ shotguns in my motherfuckin’ games.

  13. Nick says:

    This game is a lot like going on a date with a woman. You eat food, maybe pay for it, but at the end of the night you go home.

  14. AbyssUK says:

    this is only in 640p and upscaled thats not high definition!

  15. brog says:

    nerf paper plz.

  16. Wholly Schmidt says:

    There was a great episode of Arrested Development that built into a big rock/paper/scissors gag. Gob and Michael got into a fight at the ribbon cutting ceremony for their model home, using the big ceremonial ribbon cutting scissors and a large fake rock (established earlier in the episode), resulting in bad publicity for the family because “…in the end, the paper covered it all.”

    Long live Arrested Development!

  17. Jaxtrasi says:


    “nerf paper plz.”


  18. Meat Circus says:


    I’m cancelling my subs until we get the extra unlockable outfits and achievements for Scissors in the next patch, “RPS 1.2: Fury of the Paper Cutter”

    Also devs, plz increase Rock’s AoE kthx.

  19. Rob says:

    Poor computer doesn’t stand a chance, if you pick nothing then it counts as a draw, if you pick shotgun you win.

  20. Dead Fish says:

    I’m waiting for a fanmade patche, this is way too imba!

  21. Cargo Cult says:

    Fun game, but any chance of an SDK for us modders?

  22. Wholly Schmidt says:

    I can’t get the no-CD crack to work.

  23. drunkymonkey says:

    rps dunt give a dam bout they fans lol

  24. Pod says:

    The devs are stupid. Have they never seen paper in real life?! Everyone knows it can’t cover rocks! This is some bullshit maneuver pulled to make the game last longer.

    What next, a maze?!

  25. Mike says:

    so i put together a strategy guide i dunno if you guys wanna take a look or somethin but i think its got some good ideas

    link to effseven.co.uk

  26. bobince says:

    Doesn’t work with a joypad. Doesn’t take advantage of DirectX 10.1 features. YOU ARE KILLING PC GAMING

  27. The Shed says:

    If I don’t click on anything, it either says “You didn’t choose anything”, picks a random one for me, or says “draw”.

    An instant seminal classic- that’s right, I’m using the phrase yet again.

  28. zanbowser says:

    cheat codes:
    F5 – done at last second invalidates previous attempt and resets
    IDDQD* – do before moving mouse onto field, “god mode”; causes infinte draw state
    johnwoo* – double shotguns

    * – unconfirmed

  29. Razor says:

    Anyone else getting poor framerates? My system:

    486DX2 66 MHz
    4 MB RAM
    120 MB Hard Drive
    Windows 3.1

    Please help!!!

  30. _Nocturnal says:

    I heard they didn’t pay their voice actors fairly, the cheap bastards!

    Also, the dialogue is lame and I don’t like the way they treat women in the game.

  31. The_B says:

    OMG _Nocturnal! U clerly didn’t even play the game!!!oneoneone111 If you’d bothered to do your research you’d know that the dialogue has always been like that – and how can you say the treatment of women is appalling? Maybe if you’d actually played for the full thirty seconds you’d be able to make an informed opinion. It’s obvious to me that they should have gotten someone who is skilled in the genre to review it instead of you!!

  32. SuperNashwan says:

    The visceral action plays on and subverts current memes, much like an obscure indie band who are the best thing you’ve never heard of. Kieron in his underpants.


  33. Cargo Cult says:

    It has come to my attention that some evil swine has thought to pirate this game. Let me know if you wish for me to remove the evidence and hunt down the perpetrators responsible, before this cracked version starts appearing elsewhere!

  34. Kieron Gillen says:

    Those bloody Pirates! This threatens future development of RPS games.


  35. _Nocturnal says:

    [A rookie mistake, sorry.]

  36. Uwe Boll says:

    So, how about the movie rights?

  37. Ben Hazell says:

    Are there any achievements available?

  38. Janek says:

    Needs a song at the end, tbh.

  39. luminosity says:

    If I’m paying a monthly fee to access this game, I demand quicker patch releases. Hardcore players are sick of you spending your time giving shotguns to ease things for the casual players. We are the people who keep your game alive!

    Also, nerf scissors. Rock is fine.

  40. DigitalSignalX says:

    This is better then Halo.

  41. Ben Abraham says:

    Halo was based on the RPS engine, IIRC.

  42. Anuj says:

    Maybe technically and graphically, but you dont have a certral character to identify with. Thats where the game misses out – the human element. its a pity no one appreciates this in todays technology centric world.

    link to nytimes.com

  43. marxeil says:

    OK, here is the winning strategy for rock, paper scissors:
    1. Make scissors with your hand while its still behind your back.
    2. Cunningly let your hand slightly protrude from behind your back.
    3. On the count of three change the scissors to paper while your hand moves behind your back.
    Voila – you are a winner!

  44. Empty=IRL= says:

    Cargo Cult you are a LEGEND!