ERRORZ AGAINZ! RPS Still Needs Your 503

The internet.

Last week we asked you to create us a new 503 page for those oh-so rare moments when our site can’t find its way onto the internet. We had some lovely entries, our favourites of which are below. But at the bottom you’ll not find a winner. Because as much as we’ve loved what’s come in, for various reasons we’ve not yet received one we want to/can use. So look below, be inspired, and follow the rules detailed here and here. If you’re one of the entries below, please resubmit. It’s open again until midnight this Friday. Send them to And let me stress again, for goodness sake: No. Copyrighted. Images.

Mark “Zak Canard” Crosby did something riskier than anyone else. He committed heresy. He took it upon himself to depict the arse-end of Horace The Endless Bear, something that has previously only ever led to the artist being burned to death. As such, Mark Crosby will be burned to death.


The elusively named “D F” sent in the following option, which sadly gets blurry when shrunk to fit here, so click on it for a nice crisp version.

Nick Alward offers us some lovely pixel art, with a nice long list of in jokes.

There were some weaker entries. Andrew Brown’s wasn’t one of them. But it sure looked like one of them.

Matt Dovey chose to go with as many RPS in-jokes as he could fit, along with a tearful Horace (not depicting the heretical end, please note).

One “Plopsworth”, who for some reason prefers that over his real name, brings us this mash up.

The amazingly named Λαλακης Λαζοπουλος sent in two great entries. First is a big visual joke like club in the eye, with one whopper of a stolen image. (Yes, I’m checking. DON’T DO IT.)

And second a good old-fashioned test card, which is of course also nicked.

It wasn’t the only test card. Chris Chapman fully acknowledges that we can’t use this one due to its breaking the no copyrighted images rule, but argues that it had to be done anyway.

One entry that I absolutely loved cannot win for two reasons. One, he didn’t actually enter it, because he’s a giant buffoon. And two, because it doesn’t work properly under Internet Explorer (because apparently there’s still a few loonies using that.) ‘Theory’ posted this link in the comments to the original compo thread, and it’s absolutely brilliant. Definitely resubmit (or indeed submit). And if we crash your server, um, sorry. Send me the original.

It's better than this - it does magic.

Causing me even more agony was this amazing entry from Nir Yomtov. A masterful piece of photoshoppery, Java and Flash, the jpeg below doesn’t do it justice – make sure to click through – and our tech guys even said it will work just fine as a 503. But sporting a giant image of something belonging to Nintendo means we just can’t use it. Also, well, we’re a PC site, so it makes absolutely no sense. But it’s a brilliant piece of work. If there had been a winner, and we owned Nintendo, and were a GameBoy site, this would have won. So, you know, close.

So we’ll get there. Send your entries to, with the subject, “503 all up in this place”, under 1MB, before the end of Friday 18th March.


  1. VelvetFistIronGlove says:

    Mark Crosby is no heretic. It is the divine mystery of Horace that though He is endless and infinite, as Theory’s orthodox image shows, yet He has two ends. An exegesis of canonical images of Horace demonstrates that “Endless” cannot be meant literally as “having no end”, as they represent His “front end”. It is no heresy to conclude that He has a hinder end (as do all bears), yet remains infinite and unknowable between.

  2. Sarlix says:

    How did ‘Bam! 503’ not win?? It’s approved by Fred Wester for god sakes!

    Personally I think you should just have an enlarged image of Dave Tosser saying ‘better luck next time, punks’ /sigh

    • jonfitt says:

      I liked Bam! 503 very much too. I would say it gets my vote, but that wouldn’t make any sense.

    • sonofsanta says:

      I did try. Minecraft is even shoehorned in there.

      You could alternate between Zombie Dave and Dave the Tosser, and have hidden reveal text with bad jokes in… it’d be brilliant.

    • Fede says:

      I agree, “Bam! 503” is awesome :)

  3. itsallcrap says:

    Not that this is of any use for a 503 page, but Horace would make an excellent progress bar.

    • Mana_Garmr says:

      That’s exactly what I was thinking. A loading bar that can never reach completion because the server is down.

    • McDan says:

      This is an amazing idea. Please someone make it happen.
      Also…I still use Internet explorer.

    • Tam-Lin says:

      I’m sure you meant a progress bear.

    • Navagon says:

      @ itsallcrap

      LOL for Vista maybe. It certainly seems that way sometimes.

    • LionsPhil says:

      @Tam-Lin: I…I…

      …that one hurt.

  4. Tei says:

    The images are soo good, that maybe you guys can do something special here, like showing all the versions, randomizing what one to show*. But that would make the 503 too awesome, so people will want the server to crash.

    *Specially the one that breaks IE. Failing at failing? Gross!. Even Microsoft want people to stop using IE. And Microsoft is the evil people that created it, to begin first.

    • mlaskus says:

      IE6 is not evil, it is just terribly outdated. It was a best browser available for a time. It is a shame that people still haven’t updated or switched their browsers. Complain about people, not old, obsolete software.

    • Oak says:

      I’m forced to use it at work. I think that’s the case for a lot of people.

    • pepper says:

      If you ever have done anything for the web then especially IE6 IS evil. Even from its early days!

  5. Premium User Badge

    Nathan says:

    The only reason I can find for the Endless Horace 503 not working in IE was a line to explicitly disable it from doing so :/ It’s working fine for me in IE6+ once enabled.

  6. Berzee says:

    Wait so…it’s illegal to post a picture of something you don’t own?

    Like, you couldn’t include ANY pair of shoes in a 503, because you don’t own any shoe companies?

    • frymaster says:

      you could include a picture of a pair of shoes, as long as you took the picture, and weren’t trying to make a big deal of the shoes (ie weren’t trying to imply the shoe-company endorsed your product)

    • Starky says:

      As the man says above, because you cannot copyright clothes, or clothes designs, you can only trademark brands.

      So a shoes company couldn’t legally do anything unless you were infringing or damaging their trademark (as mentioned above by making it seem they endorse you).

    • Berzee says:

      But the Gameboy thing is different?

  7. Hoaxfish says:

    As “D F” (my full name makes it really easy to pin-point me in real life, sorry)… can I ask whether mine falls under “can’t use” (broken rule? broken in-browser?) or “didn’t really want to”?

    (not to say I don’t acknowledge some of the other entries as better than mine)

    is the “blurry shrinkage” the actual problem?

    • Dao Jones says:

      I believe yours falls under the “it’s good, we can’t decide on a winner yet so please resubmit so we don’t forget about you”. Or something of that matter. I also believe they’re mentioned the clarity on their image and not yours in general. If you click it, you will see your work in the glorious way you sent it in.

      I believe I can fly!

  8. Westcreek says:

    The only person i know who still uses Internet Explorer is my mom, but she also thinks that any thing she clicks on or sees on the computer has a chance to make it explode. I have tried calmly and logically explain to her several times that the web-browser she uses is just the means to view the internet, but she just is genuinely scared that every home page/Program she visits/runs will harm her somehow. It’s really quite sad that she refuses to even get information on these things, she’s only 55 it’s not like she’s ancient.

    Can’t teach an old dog new tricks i guess, it just annoys alot =/

  9. Plopsworth says:

    *girly giggling and happy jig* I made the cut. In celebration, I give you a quick self-congratulatory THE MAKENING post-mortem anatomy of Plopsworth’s entry, uh, post:

    I wanted to enter and I had about a 4 hour window to do so during the week.

    I thought out the following gags:
    a) Real-life pc-blogging-journo from home as a game mock-up. The mundane in a format we normally get excited about. b) Stupid redundant consolization “don’t turn off PC”-saving stuff. c) Artificially-imposed item/inventory management/juggling. d) Brits = tea. e) cats. f) Unoriginal but inevitable literal rock paper and shotgun (with D&D-esque +2).

    T’was my first attempt at isometric pixel art. If anyone wants to try, I highly suggest googling for isometric grids for use as transparent layers instead of trying to manually align stuff into. I still didn’t get it right. Observe the edge to the right of the cat’s tail.

    I tried hard not to, but I ended up caving in and Google image-searching for pictures of stacks of books, tea kettles and pump-shotties in order to be able to block out and sketch out in higher res and down-res/thumbnail the best Jungian archetypes for each.

    I was considering making some kind of elaborate joke where the shotgun wouldn’t fit into the inventory grid and I couldn’t figure out how to visually present the gag without actually having the shotty in the inventory and yet not be so obtrusive. Mouse-over pop-up? semi-transparent and in the process of being dragged as the inventory juggling is going on?

    I was also racking my brain for what score I would put on the scroll, and trying to remember what the “better than [game] ?” score/game-debacle was (Halo, and 8/10) from Eurogamer. Then again, RPS != EG, which is why I didn’t make a stack of PC Gamers/Edges either (that, and you can’t really make PCG’s cover-logo readable/identifiable at that resolution).

    What I’d change:
    – The pop-up. Fine. I rushed it. Yes, it’s the same scroll that I skewed into the inventory, but extended. Maybe make it more like a proper pop-up, which would represent the same consistent style as the UI (see below).
    – The shotty. It just looks too wonky. Make it a sawed off shotty.
    – Maybe make the scroll properly parchmenty or not parchmenty, instead a roll of toiletpaper with some dappled pattern? Either that or make it more vellum-like. Maybe stitched together from hides?
    – The rock: the middle line looks too stupid. Redo it and make it, uh, different. More jagged and not a skipping-stone type of thing.
    – Maybe make it look more lo-fi by un-anti-aliasing and applying some hideous ega/cga/vga palette?
    – More junk. Posters can’t be from games’ covers, but something on the walls. More junk from the floor.
    – Maybe, y’know, get off your ass and make an isometric PC gaming/work corner, with the rig and desk.
    – The game’s UI is crude and based on gradients. Even actual old games can have neat and stylish stuff. See Syndicate/Ultima/…

    Thank you. *bows* *exit stage right*

  10. Jad says:

    Wait, you guys haven’t bought Nintendo yet? What happened to all that filthy, filthy Eurogamer money?

  11. Sulkdodds says:

    My god. It’s full of stars.

  12. Teddy Leach says:

    There isn’t one that simply says “What a shame.”

    What a shame.

  13. Dhatz says:

    WTF is the endless bear BS about?

  14. IsenMike says:

    By my best guesstimation, I’ve been reading RPS for about two and a half years. Approximately forever in internet terms. But this is the first I’ve heard of “Horace The Endless Bear.” Did I miss something? Or is this a joke from the RPS stone age?

  15. Navagon says:

    Well I did say I’d try and give this a go if things weren’t too manic. But they were. Given that it’s still open and I can probably give this a go tomorrow. Not that I have any great ideas right now. But we’ll see.

  16. tripwired says:

    My humble attempt: link to

    • Kirrus says:

      Please never hammer the F5 button, on any website! It certainly won’t help the site come back, and it could hurt it! “Go make a cuppa, and try again” would be good ;)

  17. Theory says:

    One entry that I absolutely loved cannot win for two reasons. One, he didn’t actually enter it, because he’s a giant buffoon. And two, because it doesn’t work properly under Internet Explorer (because apparently there’s still a few loonies using that.) ‘Theory’ posted this link in the comments to the original compo thread, and it’s absolutely brilliant. Definitely resubmit (or indeed submit). And if we crash your server, um, sorry. Send me the original.

    Yay! But I have to correct you on both points. I submitted it to at 9:47 on March 6th (and didn’t get any error messages back); also, the page can be viewed in IE fine, it’s just the scrolling effect that it can’t handle.

    And don’t worry about the server. ;-)

  18. Ba5 says:

    Can’t you be a programming wizard and have a random error every time?

    • terry says:

      A rotator would be cute. “This page is as present as iron in Quinn’s economy.”

    • Kirrus says:

      Amount of time it takes to deploy an error page: 2 minutes.
      Amount of time it takes to deploy a rotating error page, which doesn’t kill the server whilst it’s overloaded: Days or Weeks. Probably weeks.

  19. Caiman says:

    I’m very surprised that someone hasn’t made a “Error 503. What a shame” based version yet. I mean come ON people!

    [edit]I swear the replies above me about this very same topic were not there before I posted this. *sigh*

  20. Ruadhan says:

    So… Theory said he emailed in his entry but it wasn’t seen, and nobody seems to have viewed my entry from Tuesday night* yet (not that I checked the logs or anything, nooo). So I might as well publicly throw my hat into the ring here as well to ensure it isn’t missed…

    link to

    A mix of a lot of ideas, but I had fun making it :)

    [* Well, technically early wednesday morning I suppose…]