The Saturday Supplement

Here at RPS, we play a lot of games. You might think that’s all we do, given how much time we spend writing about the latest and greatest PC playthings. That’s not the case. When we’re not playing games or thinking about games, we’re often indulging ourselves with the latest and greatest books, films, TV shows, comics and music. Sometimes we even go to the theatre or the pub.

The Saturday Supplement is a new wing of RPS, and it’s where we’ll gather our thoughts about whatever catches our attention in the wider world of pop (and unpop) culture. Think of it like those glossy magazines you get with the weekend papers. From week to week, you might find our verdict on the latest blockbuster film, a journey through our personal libraries, a paen to a favourite recipe or just about anything else that’s tickling at our hivemind.

This week, our verdict on Star Wars: The Force Awakens (with spoilers hidden behind appropriate cover), Graham’s thoughts on Sense8 and The Matrix, a brief journey through Alice’s reading materials and the beginning of a newcomer’s chronological critique of modern Marvel comics.

  • First up, Adam, Alec and Pip discuss the ups and downs of The Force Awakens. Does Abrams’ film capture the magic of the original trilogy or is it further proof that the franchise is no longer a force to be reckoned with?
  • I was surprised and delighted by how weird some of the background characters are. It’s easy to forget how wild and bizarre Star Wars can be – the cantina scene is probably the most faous microcosmic example of that tendency. But there are so many great things to look at – huge great lumbering pack-animals that are half-robot or full-robot or semi-vehicle prime among them for me. It’s like the stilt-walker scene in Mad Max: Fury Road – colour and noise that rewards your eyes just for being in the same room. I’d forgotten how many of the memorable moments are built around that stuff: characters and species that I remember from childhood that didn’t really play much of a role at all, but stuck in my mind. I think Force Awakens has that.

  • Graham watched Sense8 earlier this year and while he wasn’t completely won over, he’s been thinking about the differences between the Wachowskis’ earlier work on The Matrix and how this compares.
  • The Matrix was one of my favourite films as a teenager. I was 14 years-old when it was released and I watched it over and over, enjoying it for the choreographed action and the satisfaction of Neo’s arc of empowerment. Watching it again as an adult, I struggle to enjoy it so freely. That self-realisation now sounds to me like self-absorption: everyone else is sleeping, only you and your friends are awake, so put on your leather coat and military boots and kill as many people as it takes to deify yourself.

  • Adam was a DC kid, raised on a diet of Batman, Superman and The Justice League. After years of ignoring the Big Two and comics in general, he’s now embarking on a journey through modern Marvel, to see what sense he can make of it all.
  • I wanted to be Batman when I was a kid. When I realised that was an impossible dream because I hadn’t been born into a life of extraordinary wealth, I decided that I might as well be Superman instead. The whole alien origin story seemed slightly more probable than the playboy billionaire orphan origin story.

    Growing up with an attic full of old DC comics was tough. If I’d been introduced to Marvel at an early stage, I could have taken the sensible step and aspired to be Spidey. Severe arachnophobia might have made the necessary eight-legged encounter extremely distressing but a bite from a radioactive spider seems like an easy ride compared to being orphaned as a baby. That said, Peter Parker isn’t doing all that well on the parents and guardians front either.

  • And from across the border, Alice sends word of a biblio-dilemma.
  • Lately I’m flicking through all my books as I try to decide whether I do want to make a bold decision like getting all the way down to one book. Owning things is awful, and I’ve been slowly clearing posessions for years, but books are great. I wouldn’t want to have no books, and know which I’d pick if I decided to keep only one, but paring down to less is awfully difficult.

    This is not at all helped by having recently picked up books on Scottish buildings, Scottish traveller tales about the devil, and selkies, which are by my bed. If I can get rid of enough possessions, I’m sure I’ll find my sealskin coat and be able to return to the sea.

    If you want to discuss Star Wars, that’s grand, but please don’t put spoilers in the first couple of lines if commenting here. They’ll show up in the sidebar of the main site. There’s an appropriate thread on the forums as well.

    If there’s anything you’d like us to consider for future columns, let me know and I’ll see what we can do. Enjoy the weekend!

29 Comments

  1. All is Well says:

    I like this! But is that snippet the entirety of Alice’s text? Because there’s no hyperlink to anything longer, and now I’m intrigued by the whole “getting rid of all my possessions”-thing.

  2. Crimsoneer says:

    Yeeeaah Sense8 and The Force Awakens.

  3. Premium User Badge

    Andy_Panthro says:

    I began the year entirely unfussed by the new Star Wars film. I’d been disappointed before, and didn’t want to get my hopes up. Now though, everyone seems to be enjoying it (it even got 9/10 over on Jimbovision! Which is surely high praise: link to youtube.com).

    However, I don’t think I’ll be able to go and see it until January, and it’s more than a little frustrating that everyone’s talking about it right now and I have to wait!

  4. GernauMorat says:

    Books are the only thing worth owning. I would rather leave a limb than my books

    • Premium User Badge

      teije says:

      Yes, keep the books you love, even if you must put them in a storage locker, because you’ll still have them that way.

      I must have a couple thousand currently on shelves and in boxes and have gotten rid of at least that many over the years. Some I read every year, some occasionally, some I have never read but plan to, some I bought for the title or cover will never read and have no plans to.

      For example, how could one possibly resist buying a book titled “On Sledge and Horseback to Outcast Siberian Lepers” from an intrepid Victorian gentlelady? Turgid muck to read, but that title!

  5. Zekiel says:

    Given that I like the writing of the RPS team, and I like films/TV/comics/etc this new series seems like a Very Good Thing to me. Hurrah!

  6. Arbodnangle Scrulp says:

    For me, the last nail in the coffin for this once great site. I remember years ago I would check back daily in the hope that you guys had written something new, you would write an article because there was something in PC gaming worth writing about. It might have been days or more between updates, but it was always worth reading. Now you have several new articles a day, and none of them are worth shit for a PC gaming enthusiast. You’re in a mad scramble to fill column inches, which means you’ll write about any old shit you can. Why? There are plenty of other sites that cover other interests than PC gaming, and I can and will very easily go to them for that. If RPS is no longer a PC gaming site, then I shall stop visiting. Bookmark deleted. Goodbye.

    • Jediben says:

      I shall not be reading things which are not gaming related. There are reasons tesco does not perform surgery, and why Jensen Button cannot act as a judge in Spain. I would not use a short to tighten a nut when there are tools better suited and proven available.

    • Fomorian1988 says:

      *waves farewell with a handkerchief*

      Bye! So long! Don’t forget to write! Or do! We won’t care either way!

    • Imbecile says:

      Why? Because enough people asked for it? Because pc gaming culture is broader than just pc games. Because the pc gaming stuff you always liked I still here, if you can filter.

      If you go through life wanting everything tailored exactly to you, you’ll be disappointed often, but its your call.

    • Frank says:

      Eh, I have little interest in the stories this week, but I like the concept. I come here to read stuff by RPS’s stable of writers and, on Sundays, for links to elsewhere. This supplement is in line with that. If I strictly wanted PC gaming “news”, I’m sure I could set up the appropriate google news filter RSS feed or something.

      The number of column inches they happen to be producing (which seems about the same as ever) is no obstacle to my browsing.

    • GWOP says:

      I, too, wish RPS would go back to posting important PC gaming writings. Like news about J C Denton’s nude patch,instead of all the worthless stuff they post now.

    • Alec Meer says:

      Simply do not click the single frontpage link every Saturday marked ‘saturday supplement’ and you will never know this handful of extra weekend pieces exist. Nothing has changed otherwise: all PC games all the time apart from that one weekly link.

      • Stijn says:

        This is of course the best advice, and I’m not one to dismiss a whole site just because I’m not interested in some of the articles appearing on it, but it would be nice to be able to get a filtered overview with content that I *do* find interesting. There’s tags of course, but there is no “everything except [some tag]”-tag, so that only helps so much.

        I used to regularly check the front page, but there’s a lot of stuff on there I don’t really find interesting now, and coupled with the high frequency at which new articles appear I don’t check the site regularly at all anymore. Better filtering options would definitely have me checking here more often. Maybe something to consider.

      • Premium User Badge

        gritz says:

        You say that, but for most of Saturday every single link in the header was content for the Saturday Supplement except for the MGSV advent piece.

        Even as of Sunday afternoon, the supplement is 3 out of 6 links in the header.

        Yeah, sure, “don’t click the links” is fine advice, but it’s more about the loud and clear message that PC gaming is no longer what RPS is about. What a shame.

        • Alec Meer says:

          We run around 300 posts per month. In *addition* to those we will now be running 4 ‘Saturday Supplement’ front page posts per month. These appear only on Saturdays. Clicking through to one of these four additional front page articles per month will, if all goes to plan, take you to 2-4 *additional* non-games articles that otherwise are not really visible on the site. The number of PC gaming articles, i.e. around 300 per month, will not be reduced.

          This is a PC gaming site which on Saturdays alone now runs a tiny handful of extra posts that are not about PC gaming, which is happening at least in part because we’re otherwise pretty quiet on Saturdays. The Saturday Supplement posts are an addition, not a reduction. 4 posts added to 300.

          If the knowledge that those additional articles exist upsets you, not clicking on the single, clearly-labelled weekly Saturday Supplement front page post means you will not be exposed to any RPS articles which do not concern PC gaming, and can safely pretend those additional articles do not exist. The site is wholly unchanged otherwise; i.e. 300 monthly posts about PC gaming.

          On weekends, yes, you may see a couple of links to non-PC gaming articles in the header bar, which auto-grabs anything we tag ‘feature’ and as such almost always shows slightly older posts than what is actually on top of the site. We may well tinker with that further down the line because we don’t want to give the wrong impression about the site, but in the meantime please do not look at the header bar at weekends if the knowledge of those additional posts’ existence remains concerning to you.

          The number of PC gaming posts we run each and every day, week or month is not reducing or in any way changing. The Saturday Supplement stuff is a pure, Saturday-only extra for those who want it, and can be ignored without consequence by those who do not. You are not losing anything. You will continue to have approximately 300 posts per month about PC gaming, if you want them.

          If you appear in subsequent Saturday Supplement threads bemoaning their existence, please reflect upon the fact that you have specifically chosen to click on them.

    • Scipio says:

      I think that’s a bit harsh, but I too am disappointed to see RPS’ energies spent on non PC-gaming-related news. I don’t like how many article-based sites end up more generalist.

    • rexx.sabotage says:

      Here to counter the grump.

      I like this idea and have been secretly wishing for it :D

      Video games are fun and all but, I too enjoy other (god forbid!) things as well.

    • JamesPatton says:

      I like it. Gives me something to do on Saturdays. Is fun. Plus, it feels like gaming culture isn’t such a fenced-off scene any more so it’s natural for gaming sites to start opening their borders to non-gaming stuff.

      And if ANYTHING were going to put me off RPS, it would be the endless Fallout 4 posts. My GOD there were a lot of them. But I value their other content and clearly someone’s reading that stuff, so to each their own.

  7. InfamousPotato says:

    I haven’t read any of the above yet (and I’m going to carefully avoid even your non-spoiler impressions of The Force Awakens for the time being), but I’d like to say that I love the idea of you folks doing this. Reading RPS’s words about pc games has been quite delightful, and I look forward to reading their words about other topics as well.

  8. Premium User Badge

    gritz says:

    Not super enthusiastic about this. RPS has been worthwhile for so long because it focuses on its niche and writes the hell out of it.

    Hard to stay interested in yet another gaming AND POP CULTURE TOO site.

  9. alms says:

    Thanks for the forum link, Graham, appreciated.

  10. dangermouse76 says:

    Love this. Great idea.

  11. Premium User Badge

    Hammer says:

    I wish I’d seen this Alice’s books earlier – the Selkie book would have been perfect for my wife.

    We have a similar problem with collecting masses of books, but living in a house, surrounded by them is a wonderful feeling. They make great insulation.

    Alice, have you visited Voltaire & Rousseau in Glasgow yet? Possibly the best bookshop in Scotland.

  12. Alistair says:

    I wonder if the RPS crowd are grasping that videogames aren’t all that and want to move on a bit. Hard to argue if so. It’s not a job I would have wanted for more than a year or two :)

  13. LlamaFarmer says:

    I really enjoyed these articles and think this is a great idea for a once a week format. Look forward to the next one

  14. Buzko says:

    Also here to counter the nay-saying. I love the games writing here – the differing styles and obsessions, the “Don’t Be A Dick” worldview, the hunger for new things balanced with the love for old standards – and I’m happy to support it. However, PC gaming, while glorious, is not all there is, and I’m eager to read what the RPS crew have to say about other things.

    More of This Sort Of Thing.