World of Love: The RPS Panel (& Podcast)

It looks so civilized! It wasn't.

At the recent A Winter World of Love indie developer conference in London, RPS was kindly invited by event organisers Mudlark to host a panel. We thought long and hard about the many fascinating and complex issues surrounding and facing independent games, and before too long it was entirely clear what our panel should focus on.

Winkies, of course.


It’s all John’s fault! He did it! Naughty John Walker! He mustered some most excellent assistance in his devilish plan, however: Dan ‘Zombie Cow‘ Marshall, Robert ‘Oddbob/RetroRemakes‘ Fearon and Charlie ‘Charlie’s Games‘ Knight. All of them have at some stage in their careers perpetrated the most dreadful act of creating a videogame themed around human genitalia. Later in this post are some selected extracts from what happened, but if you have time, patience and don’t squeal about unprofessional sound quality, you can listen to my recording of the whole thing below – BEWARE OF NAUGHTY WORDS.

Or alternatively download it here. Yeah! Right, here’s the best bits:

The gentledevelopermen introduce themselves, and why John’s chosen them for this ignominy:

Rob Fearon – I’m the author of War Twat, which is not quite as rude as it actually sounds.
Charlie Knight– I’m responsible for Space Phallus.
Dan Marshall – I did Privates.

John references an earlier talk by Sophie Houlden, in which she claimed game developers were cooler than ninjas.

Fearon: I’m only cooler than a ninja because I nearly died.

We move on to what these gents think of RPS, a curious site that treats mainstream and indie games as exactly equal.

Fearon – I would be nobody without it. On the off-chance I mailed Mr Gillen about War Twat, and you really don’t exect anyone to actually run with that. Sure enough no other bloody site did. It’s all been a bit steamrollery from there.

Knight – It’s obviously wonderful. You have featured Space Phallus there, which was quite surprising for a mainstream site.

John – That’s basically why we covered it.

Marshall – It’s basically always been a pain in the arse to get any mainstream site to cover an indie game. They pretend to be friendly but really it doesn’t bring any hits. What RPS has done is “we’ll cover anything” as long as it’s not completely shit. That’s new and interesting and I really appreciate that. That’s kind of important. You’re now big enough that other gaming sites will pick up on it – whereas you can email someone else a dozen times and they’ll ignore but if they see it on RPS they’ll copy it. We as indie developers need to recognise is what RPS has done in the past. Don’t just send it to RPS. Send them an exclusive trailer that no-one else has got, do an interview…

Cocks = hilarious

The Zombie Cow man is right! We’re very nice, and we also like exclusive stuff. Anyway, let’s move onto money – do these men have lots of it, and where do they get it from?

Knight – Mostly it’s donation-led, but I also sell through some of the portals.

Marshall – I make so much money. It’s weighing my trousers down.

I tragically underpriced Time Gentlemen, Please, I thought that was a fair price for an adventure. Charge more. You can always go down… Start at like £12, wand hen everyone goes ‘that’s a bit sharp’ go ‘ten!’

Fearon – it doesn’t matter what you price it someone will always say ‘I’m not paying that, it’s a flash game.’

John turns to one of this site’s eternal bete noirs – DRM. Would these developers ever use it?

Knight – anything that stops my customers from being able to play a game that they’ve brought is rubbish. None of my games have got DRM and they never will have.

Fearon – Not long ago steam had a sale on Riddick. I already knew it was great, but even at 3.49 I am not having TAGES on my computer. If I have to think about buying a game for more than 3 seconds then I don’t really want it anymore.

Marshall I love DRM, it’s a great idea. Make it as difficult as possible for people to play your game – fuck it, you’ve got their money. What are they going to do, track you down?

We think he was joking. He was smiling when he said it, anyway. Next: how many and what kind of ideas get left by the wayside for these creative types?

Knight –Tthere was one that I spent about 18 months working on, a shitty game that used gestures to input special attacks. I got so carried away writing a learning algorithm it just got too much for me in the end and I had to bin it, but it’s something I’d like to go back to. It was just becoming too a big a thing at the time.

Marshall – I don’t have the luxury of prototyping stuff as much as I’d like. There’s all sorts of crap ideas that have fallen by the wayside but Revenge of the Balloon-Headed Mexican’s he only thing that I’ve actually made [then discarded].

The pub is where the best conversations about designs and structures happen. Especially after a couple of drinks. Better ideas come out.

Knight – Also, you can talk yourself in and out of ideas just by saying things out loud. Just sat at home alone you don’t say things out loud.

Finally, we turn to the project John set all three at the start of the panel – design another genital-themed game before the chat wound to a close. This could be messy…

Fearon – Mine is a game about cocks. You are Sam Pisser secret agent, and you have to wank off – but don’t let the guards see you.

Knight – Magical Teddy cock Explosion. I don’t know what you do in it, but it features those things in various capacities throughout.

Fearon – He’s got a cock with a top hat on!

John – That’s classy.

Marshall – [Mine is] Cock, Vagina, Shotgun. I spent most of the time trying to think of a pun around paper but there isn’t one.

John – There is, but it isn’t very nice.

Which very much seemed like the sort of point we should wrap up at. So we did. Thanks to Charlie Knight, Dan Marshall and Rob Fearon for joining in, thanks to Mudlark for organising World of Love and inviting us along, thanks to John for being an excellent MC and having willies on the brain, and thanks to all the friendly people at the conference.

Pictures courtesy of photographer-ronin Dan Griliopoulos.


  1. sonofsanta says:

    That sweater on John – seriously?

    • John Walker says:

      What on earth is wrong with my jumper? : (

    • Dozer says:

      At least it’s not a bear costume.

    • sonofsanta says:

      @John: it’s less a jumper and more the carpet from your spare bedroom rolled up and wrapped around your torso. The key to engagement rings is that they never need to know how much it cost, so you can spend less and keep some money back to, y’know, eat and clothe yourself and stuff.

      Also: congratulations!

    • MD says:

      I like it!

    • Sarlix says:

      Seconded. The color particularly. Although I would like to see more pictures so I can formulate a decisive opinion.

    • Jonathan says:

      I think the sweater is just getting increased focus because people are confused by John not wearing a hat and don’t know where to look.

  2. Lambchops says:

    I for one think that Dragon Age 2 should feature Magical Teddy Cock Explosion as a minigame. Then nobody could doubt its mature credentials.

  3. Dozer says:

    The empty seats in the first row – reminds me of every Sunday!

    • Flimgoblin says:

      I’d assumed the speakers would be sat on the front seats, but all being shy retiring indie game types they all sat back a few rows too.

  4. RobF says:


    link to

    (It doesn’t exist but it should)

    • stahlwerk says:

      Keeping with the cock-adoodle theme, of course

    • Lambchops says:

      i noticed that typo and almost made a gag about it. Glad I left it in Rob’s more than capable hands instead.

  5. Phydaux says:

    Would that be the same Dan Griliopoulos that wrote (writes?) for PCG?

  6. Andy_Panthro says:

    They call RPS a mainstream site… does that mean we’re The Man now?

    I mean, I wouldn’t consider RPS mainstream yet… not like it’s IGN or Gamespot over here.

    • Sunjumper says:

      I think much of the confuision arises from the fact that Rock Paper Shotgun is main stream while not being shit at the same time. Which of course confuses a lot of people. (Like having a summer blockbuster movie which also is a really good film at the same time!)

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      Yes, we are teeny tiny compared to Gamespot and IGN, but big for a PC site.

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      The Beatles were the biggest selling band of all time*. Never have any truck with anyone who tries to sell you the idea that obscurity is linked to merit. They just want to fuck you up and ruin the world.



    • Andy_Panthro says:

      “Big for a PC site”

      Is that the gaming equivalent of big in Japan/Germany/etc.?

      I am of course jesting a touch with my comments, as I do hope RPS gets bigger (and if possible, even better!). It’s certainly the only website I look to for PC gaming news, since there is nowhere quite like it (any other PC related sites I view tend to be rather specific to a genre).

      I just always find it good to hear developers holding RPS in high regard, although that is probably much more likely with indies since they get as much space as any other developers over here.

      I suppose it’s down to you folks (and regular commentors!) making this place feel like a proper community. Gives you that warm fuzzy feeling inside, which I’m pretty sure isn’t acid reflux.

    • Pijama says:

      Kieron, you just won a hundred fucktons of internet win cookies for that reply.

    • Will Tomas says:

      The proof that RPS is the mainstream of PC Gaming websites is that PC Gamer redesigned their site to look like, and act like, RPS. A jaunty mop-top Monkees, if you will.

    • Griddle Octopus says:

      More importantly, you hit more hardcore, early-adopter PC gamers than any other site, and you cover a disproportionate amount of Indie stuff, and don’t just paste up every press release and trailer; you’re a welcomely fine filter.

      Though Kieron’s *obviously* sold out.

    • Kieron Gillen says:



  7. MikoSquiz says:

    That’s a good point. RPS is a huge lifeline for the independent PC game scene. Can I give you some money, please?

  8. Sarlix says:

    Do we have any of this in motion video?

    • Griddle Octopus says:

      Next year I’ll try to borrow / beg / buy an HD camera for it, so you can see John’s carpetjumper in enough detail to see it’s exquisitely fashioned from furballs and cat-hair.

    • DiamondDog says:

      Make sure the video is clear enough to see the despair in their eyes.

  9. Edgar the Peaceful says:

    Isn’t Conway Hall lovely.? Such a calm, arty thoughtful place. Fusty but progressive (in what it puts on). It makes me feel like Lytton Strachey

  10. Auspex says:

    Dan Marshall is a very handsome man. The reasons to hate him, they never end.