ERRORZ! Compo: RPS Needs Your 503

Positive Internet hard at work.

Rock, Paper, Shotgun is currently working on making some hefty server-side improvements to ensure that the site is as stable as possible. The great news is that any wobbles we’ve experienced lately have been because there are more people reading the site than ever before, pushing our tech to limits it hadn’t previously faced. So we’re in the process of upgrading everything that can be upgraded, and wrapping rolls of parcel tape around everything that can’t. And none of this, not a plip, would be possible without the extraordinary work of Positive Internet. They never, ever ask us to plug them on the site, despite constantly going beyond the call of duty for us. But plug them we will. Using any other company for hosting is just silly.

With this in mind, we’ve decided it would be a good idea to have a competition to design our new error page. Create us our 503 page, and the prize will be to hopefully never get to see it on the site. Read on for more details.

Currently, on the odd occasion when RPS falls off the internet, you get to see this. We’d like something far better. The most excellent, entertaining, and most in-keeping with RPS’s attitude will be picked to replace it, and then hopefully never, ever be seen by anyone. Of course it will be – there will be times when RPS sneezes. And more so, during the obscure early morning hours when we perform (“we” – haha – I of course mean the extraordinary Mr Tinsley and his colleagues at Positive) major server upgrades.

If you’d like to design us something amazing, then send it to this address, with the subject, “503 all up in this place”, under 1MB, before the end of Friday 11th March.

There’s a couple of important rules for this one, so please make sure to read this before entering, AND to read the below.

Because you’ll be submitting original work, I want to super-double-stress that sending it to us means that you surrender full rights for it to us. That makes us sound like monsters, and that’s because we are monsters. It’s also because we don’t want to find ourselves embroiled in legal wranglings, as we have deep-set fears of obviously fake wigs. And you must, and by “must” we mean “MUST”, not use any copyrighted images or content that is not of your own creation in the entries. Just imagine the trouble we’d all be in.

So get to work! If we get enough entries, I’ll produce a gallery of the finest, along with the official winner. Love you!


  1. PunisherPlum says:

    a mailto link… come on its 2011!

    • Kirrus says:

      And? They work well, everyone’s seen one before, and your browser can eat the email address with a right click.. :)

    • RC-1290'Dreadnought' says:

      Mailto links can even be configured to point to any mail program you use. Very useful.

    • Diziet Sma says:

      Mailto links have a really important special bonus super secret power, unlike submission forms they can’t be abused by miscreants to send metric fuck tons of spam.

  2. McDan says:

    *sigh* Now to put my very underused creative brain into action.

  3. mrjackspade says:

    I am going to submit as many designs with hidden imagery of penises as I can.

    • LionsPhil says:

      It might be a bit of a stretch, but perfectly clean yet cannot-unsee goatse references are also a Fine Internet Tradition.

  4. Duffin says:

    Walker I think you should end every post with “love you”. It makes me feel loved.

  5. inertia says:


  6. thedosbox says:

    Just use a picture of Kieron after he’s had a few too many drinks.

  7. Navagon says:

    I’m going to have a go at this. But I don’t have a great deal of personal time that isn’t spent being knackered. But still I should manage something.

  8. bigtoeohno says:

    That’s quite a prize.

  9. Evil Otto says:

    just this image

    link to

    with the subtext WE HAVE BEEN SABOTAGED.

  10. westyfield says:

    Are screenshots from games allowed or do they count as copyrighted?

  11. Premium User Badge

    Hodge says:

    Am I the only one who really likes the current one?

  12. noom says:

    I’m thinking something concerning Horace. I no longer have photoshop/GIMP or suchlike, so somebody else can requisition this idea if they like.

    • John Walker says:

      Good point – I should add, feel free to use any Horace images I may have created for this purpose.

    • Theory says:


      It looks best when you click the mouse wheel and use the scrolly thingy that appears. :-) Unless you are using IE, which can’t handle the effect properly and has it disabled.

      (Ideally Horace would be PNG with a transparent background, so that the starfield shows through, but there are only JPGs of him on the web.)

    • Rei Onryou says:

      I’m all for this. Horace has to be involved somewhere.

      Anyone care to do something like:

      “We apologise for RPS being down – someone has claimed to have seen Horace’s end. The server is now being used to find out where they live and auto-murder them.”

      But, you know, not shit?

    • Hoaxfish says:

      Theory: that’s evil, it just keeps scrolling

    • LionsPhil says:

      This is the best use of the annoying capability for JavaScript to meddle with adding more stuff as you’re scrolling that the Internet has ever seen.

    • Andy`` says:

      Horacey-wise, my brain wants to do something like this, but at this very moment I lack the time, tools, artistic ability or willpower to complete it. Maybe later:

      link to

      And too lazy to add a punchline – something like a polite mention of waiting for the shotgun to pass through ol’ H’s digestive system (ie: he’s eaten it), or getting a replacement (airdrop?)

      Though if I really had any talent I’d take a Dune Worm image and put Horace in it

    • hexapodium says:

      Theory: That, a million times that. It could only be improved by adding a randomly chosen “What A Shame”/”I speel my dreenk!”/”Walker is trying to heal the server”/”The server is out of iron”/other RPSism below Horace.

    • Gotem says:

      All to the music of Hawaii Five-O-Three

    • Theory says:

      Thanks everyone. I did think about having things floating by as you scrolled, but they would be finite in number and so undermine my artistic statement.

      As it stands, my favourite part is function endlessBear(). That is the coolest line of JS I have ever written.

    • McCool says:


      Thats almost too good for a 503 page. Its almost too good for the internet. Bravo, good sir!

  13. Gotem says:

    Obviously what you need are less readers so you dont’ run into that capacity problems
    so make the 503 error page read
    “We don’t want you here, go away and never return”.
    Then the problem would solve itself

  14. BurningPet says:

    link to

    seems fitting with all the recent bulletstorm talk. and as a general fps exprience.

  15. WildcardUK says:

    I have no creative skills at all but can someone please use ‘What a shame’ as their 503 message? That is all.

    • Jeremy says:

      How about just stringing as many RPSisms as possible in one sentence. Not sure how it would be possible to combine poor healing, a lack of iron, and “what a shame” into one sentence along with an image of Horace, but someone needs to try!

    • Eightball says:

      But how many peggles will it be?

    • sonofsanta says:

      @Jeremy: …what I lack in what-a-shame, I’ve tried to make up for with other in-jokes.

      Bonus points for spotting how I even shoe-horned Minecraft in there.

  16. Premium User Badge

    phuzz says:
    ah come on, it’s not like anyone will have to see it right?

  17. Whenn says:

    Just sent my submission by mail:

    link to

    and the comedy option:

    link to

    • Dozer says:

      The Deus Ex one is ABSOLUTELY AWESOME, except it’s a Gameboy and RPS is a PC-only site. But still, AWESOME. I hope it wins anyway and that no-one ever sees it because the server never crashes.

      (I’ve never had problems connecting to RPS, never seen the existing 503 page until today.)

    • Hoaxfish says:

      swap for a bbc micro and a 5.25 floppy

    • Kirrus says:

      I like the first one best, personally, but they’re both awesome

    • LionsPhil says:

      swap for a bbc micro and a 5.25 floppy

      Very yes. And don’t pixelate the label, that’s crazy.

    • Sarlix says:

      Very good! although I feel the gameboy is a bit misplaced. Swap it for a 486 and floppy disk.

  18. Hoaxfish says:

    All my ideas are failing due to my lack of access to a physical shotgun

    • Kirrus says:

      Find your nearest farmer, who’s had to revert to shooting foxes with the things ’cause of the idiotic hunting ban made by people who don’t understand that they’ve condemned foxes to wander around with shotgun pellets in their backsides.

      *hem*. Must not debate politics. Must not debate politics..

    • CMaster says:

      Hunting with dogs doesn’t appear to have any effect on fox populations anyway, so I doubt that’s any different. (Equally, you see a fox going for your chickens, you’re hardly going to waste time organising a hunt)

    • Matt says:

      Surely the farmers would use a .22 instead, no?

  19. haircute says:

    I would do this but some jerk stole my shotgun just last week. So now I just have this rock and paper and a very unclear future.

  20. zak canard says:

    In the absence of webspace, coding skills (I lost both of them, in a volcano) and a permanent lack of drawing ability, here’s a screenshot of my entry.

    Disclaimer: The previous link may have contained disturbing imagery.

  21. Jake says:

    Is there any text that is compulsory? Like ‘503 Error’ or something?

    Who won the DC comics prize btw? Is there somewhere to view the entrants for that?

  22. Hurion says:

    Not getting any 503 errors, but you guys are spamming my RSS reader with dupe articles.

  23. phenom_x8 says:

    Just wanna give some opinion, I think you should considering VG247 design! I love their new design very much! Its easier to find whats hot in their post and forum( i have never been visit their forum until they change their design lately,neither RPS forum actually :).
    But, I’m pretty sure your new design will be more surprising!

    • Hoaxfish says:

      as long as it’s not a train-wreck like the Kotaku/Gawker “redesign”

      and not “dark like my soul” teenager design (i.e. dark backgrounds with dark or red text)