Happy Birthday To Us: We Are 10!

Ten years ago yesterday, four of Britain’s loveliest, most adorable games hacks got together and said, “YES! Our time has come! Our hour is nigh! Our moment is born!” In a ritual that violates all decency, the giant meat-lever was pulled, and Rock Paper Shotgun Dot Com went live. The internet finally had purpose, PC gaming was about to have its day. Happy Birthday To Us.

T’was the 20th August 2007 when, after a secret month of writing the site without telling anyone we were, Jim Rossignol, John Walker, Alec Meer and Kieron Gillen pronounced to the world the site was a thing. A hideous, scraggly thing we’d haphazardly cobbled together in WordPress, but our thing. There was, at the time, somehow no dedicated PC gaming site with a broad remit, and it was that gap we were to prove as fertile soil. We wanted to bring back the style of writing we’d loved since we were wee creatures snickering over a copy of Your Sinclair or Amiga Power, and we wanted to do it about the format we all loved, in a world that was increasingly console-focused.

PC gaming was in something of a doldrum at the time, but we knew, we had faith, and boy were we ever proved right. It’s hard to even remember PC gaming as it was in 2007, where a non-Valve going up onto Steam was big news, when the shops had started reducing shelf space for anything that didn’t play on a plastic box, but online distribution hadn’t quite caught up. But we could smell it. The air was charged with the pre-storm electrical excitement of the imminent indie revolution, Steam was about to explode with the announcement of the Orange Box, and in direct defiance of the naysayers predicting PC doom in the face of the freshly released PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, we knew PC was going to be the place to be once more.

An actual real logo we really actually used

All four of us had a decade or more of experience writing about games for magazines like Edge, PC Gamer, PC Format, Official Playstation, NGamer, and far too many more, but now we wanted to be in charge of something, to create something from scratch and do it right. From the start we set out to be the site that pissed off publishers just as easily as delight them, to write from our hearts instead of our wallets, and after a couple of years when we started making a little bit of money, to pay our contributors better than our competitors. RPS never took on any debt, never had any investment, but instead was built up slowly and steadily by determination and damned good writing. And with a good deal of good luck thrown in, we built something that worked, and in a volatile world, something that has really lasted.

Over the years we’ve made some mistakes, got a lot of stuff right, lost tens of thousands in ad revenue from grumpy publishers, seen some of the best writers in the industry come, go, and stay, and we hope been a voice in gaming different from any other.

Along the way we’ve gathered some of the most amazing writers you’ll find in the industry. We had the enormous pleasure of Quintin Smith joining us full time, now of Shut Up & Sit Down and Cool Ghosts. And then the wonderful Nathan Grayson joined us, now storming it at Kotaku. Next came our current roster, with Adam Smith, Graham Smith, Alice O’Connor, Pip Warr and Brendan Caldwell, each hand-selected to bring their incredible talents and personalities to push RPS in new directions.

Never mind the extraordinary list of freelancers, with the likes of Tim Stone with us from the start. Too many to mention, without forgetting vital names and offending. We love you all.

Big scoop!

First to leave from the original Big Four was Kieron Gillen, who is now perhaps a teensier bit more famous for writing comics for a publisher called Marvel. He’s gone on to write some of their more obscure characters, like Iron Man, Thor, X-Men and more recently Darth Vadar and only the bloody Star Wars book. And he does some piffle about teenagers eating magic music or something. We all get to say that we know him when talking to people. (And how did we ever cope without insightful news stories like this?)

More recently Jim Rossignol packed up all his joysticks and crossed the rubicon to development, running Big Robot and making amazing games like Sir, You Are Being Hunted, and just recently, The Signal From Tölva.

And of course earlier this year we announced the rather enormous news that the original four owners had sold RPS to evil megacorp Gamer Network, who as you can tell have dramatically ruined everything that was ever great abo… oh, it’s exactly the same! Hurrah!

It’s been quite the decade, from a scrappy blog four of us wrote in our spare time, to a proper grown up business staffed by the best in the business, hopefully keeping the constant theme of a unique voice and a sly grin. And we’re not going anywhere, with PC gaming bigger than it’s ever been, presumably entirely thanks to RPS.

So yes, we’re simultaneously 10 and 144 years old, but you can do that when you’ve got an infinite bear as a deity.

Thanks to everyone who’s read us at any point over the last decade (apart from you, Steve) – it’d have been a pointless endeavour if you’d not come along. Here’s to the next ten years!

103 Comments

  1. Darth Gangrel says:

    Oh, the cheek of drawing a Horace cake and cutting out part of the cheek.

    • Zorganist says:

      I for one can’t bearlive they got an infinite cake to bake evenly throughout.

    • Lacero says:

      I want to know if the buttercream of the cake transubstantiates or is merely a representation, and what it would transubstatiate into.

      Maybe I shouldn’t wonder this kind of thing.
      Infinite buttercream though. Mmmmm.

    • int says:

      Turn the other cheek. An infinite bear has infinite cheeks.

      Congrats RPS!

  2. Premium User Badge

    Drib says:

    Well I like the drawing up top looking perhaps a bit like he’s going :V

    But anyway, grats on the ten years.

  3. escooler says:

    Was going to say it feels like just yesterday…but then I thought about it and realised 10 years sounded about right. Maybe it feels even longer for an industry where so much has happened in a decade.

  4. Sin Vega says:

    You’re still not old enough to be playing most of these games. I’m telling mum.

    Well done though, eh? You pretty much held the torch throughout the latter of the Stupid Age, when it basically wasn’t worth reading about games online, indie games were nigh impossible to find let alone decent criticism of them.

    It is still odd seeing people talk about RPS as though it’s the same as the old soulless corporate PR regurgitating sites that ruled the day until recent years, when you’ve known it as the great little blog by proper people more or less since the beginning.

    And I think I got here via John, via Mil Millington and/or World of Stuart, then the only good forum in the world, now a long gone memory of a controversial scotchisher. Barmy.

    • fabulousfurrygingerfreakbrothers says:

      Mil Millington! I’d forgotten all about him. Used to love his stories about Magret.

      I came here through John being the first games journalist to properly make me laugh, when he used to do his games-revision column in PC Gamer. And I’m still here, and RPS is still great. Fantastic community too.

    • Spacewalk says:

      They are 20 in bear years so they are heaps old enough to play any games.

  5. wackazoa says:

    So what is the over/under on Alec leaving next? I mean he already gave John the Steam charts…. Also John isn’t going anywhere and we all know that. He is to curmudgeonly and “anti” everything for anyone else to want him. Plus he’s ours and the other guys cant have him!

    Congrats RPS. And also from the bottom of my heart….. YOUR WELCOME!

  6. Quickly says:

    I probably have some random articles saved from sometime back then on my old machine. Love the site’s writing style. To more good years ahead!

  7. davebo says:

    Well Happy Birthday! I forget when I originally started daily reading this site. I think it was when the Voodoo3d site got taken down or bought by IGN or something.

  8. Hanban says:

    Happy Birthday!

  9. gwop_the_derailer says:

    It was sad to watch Karen, Jim and Quinns go, but it’s amazing how you have managed to keep a steady stream of writers with unique voices (you know an Alice article just from the header image alt-text) but who have all still kept RPS… well, RPS.

    Still miss Marsh, Porp, Richard and Cara.

    • frymaster says:

      “you know an Alice article just from the header image alt-text”

      I always forget to check that, but it’s fairly frequent that I’ll get two paragraphs into an article and go “I bet that’s John/Pip/Alice”, look up, and be right. And it makes a difference. I bought Banished because of the fairly negative review, I bought Thief because I knew I could rely on John’s positive opinion of it despite a ton of other places saying it was no good, and I bought Endless Legend on the strength of the “best of 2014” post because I knew John’s negative opinion of it didn’t matter at all to me, and I’m pleased with all three purchases. Because I know I’ll get honest opinions and the self-analysis of the reviewer to be able to interpret that opinion.

  10. CyberPunkRock says:

    How time flies by…
    Congratulations! I don’t remember exactly when I started to read your site (5 years at least) but since then it’s the first page I open when I start my PC at home.
    What I like most beside writing style and humour is the fact that you never shy away from tackling difficult topics and facing and engaging in a debate with your audience.

    And a big thumps up for the community and commenters! I seldom participate but it’s insightful and civilized (the occasional troll notwithstanding). I played games, listened to music and visited websites I never heard of before if I it weren’t for you.

  11. Peldon says:

    I almost never post anything, but I read. I always read.
    Thank you for so many fantastic, amusing, outright funny, and thoughtful articles.

    Happy Birthday!

    Keep up the good work. I’m loving it. <3

  12. Face In The Punch says:

    Happy birthday!

  13. zeep says:

    I’m always bored with your “witty” writing, but i like your pictures. Thanks and happy 10th! :)

  14. Hilloh says:

    Happy birthday!

  15. TotallyUseless says:

    10 years. 10 YEARS!!

    I was still on my 2nd year college back then. But damn, 10 years of writing PC gaming news, that’s amazing, and to keep writing well for the past decade, RPS, you guys are awesome!

    No wonder I have always loved RPS articles, how they are easy to read and understand; how these articles piques the interest, there was literally a decade’s worth of experience behind these news.

    Cheers to RPS. Here’s to another 10 years. Or maybe 20, or even 30!

  16. shocked says:

    Many chuckles were had here! Happy 10th!

  17. Premium User Badge

    Spottswoode says:

    Happy Birthday RPS.

    <3

  18. LennyLeonardo says:

    I still miss the comma.

  19. Jac says:

    Congrats RPS. Have been reading your words since 2007, can’t believe it’s been 10 years yet we are both still so young and terribly handsome.

    Here’s to another Horace amount of years more.

  20. cpt_freakout says:

    Happy birthday!! I started visiting RPS like 5 years ago (I don’t even remember how I got here), and thanks to you I’ve come to realize how great videogames can be. Always was a PC-oriented gamer thanks to my dad and his old point n’ click adventures, and it’s funny because while I never stopped gaming on my PC entirely, there was definitely a period that coincides with RPS’ foundation in which I mostly turned to consoles. Later moving to a different country meant leaving all that behind and trying to find old and smaller games to continue my hobby with (I only had a laptop), and as I grew up (ha) I increasingly found articles from Gamespot, et al, to be unsatisfying in certain ways. RPS filled a niche in my brain that wanted to know why this silly hobby is so significant, and I’m very grateful for everything I’ve found here. So thanks – and happy birthday once again!

  21. Michael Johnson says:

    Happy birthday! I don’t remember how I came by this place, but it brought me back to actually being interested in games writing after having pretty much given up. I’ve made good friends through the forums who I play games with most weeks, you even published some of my opinions and bits, which was a thrill. Here’s to ten more!

  22. Captain Narol says:

    Happy Birthday to the Hive ! Live long and prosper !

  23. dahools says:

    Happy Birthday. May the next 10 be as imaginative, interesting, inovative and inspiring.

    Think I just invented a new 4i gaming/reading genre there…

  24. apa says:

    HBD! During the last ten years I’ve READ about games roughly 100x more than I’ve played games, and I do read a lot of RPS. Not sure if this is healthy 😀

    • Premium User Badge

      john_silence says:

      Same goes here. I read about games, mostly here and at EG, I also buy them by the dozen, and in the end play but little. I am generally disappointed in those I do play – I never am when I click Read the rest of this entry.

      À votre santé, Pierre Feuille Fusil !

  25. Chevette says:

    Happy Birhtday, RPS! I almost always start my day with a cuppa joe and an eyeful of RPS. Keep up the good work!

  26. Mi-24 says:

    Happy Birthday RPS!
    Thanks for all the fantastic reads and funny stories, keep up the good work and good luck.

    Long live the Horrace

  27. Vandelay says:

    Happy birthday RPS.

    Scary thing is, I must have stumbled upon this site near the beginning, perhaps a year or two after its inception. The first article I read was by Quinns, a 3 part epic deep diving into the themes of Pathologic, a strange Russian game that I hadn’t heard of until that point (I realised as I read the articles that a younger me had actually seen, was intrigued by and was terrified by the game’s trailer on an old mag’s cover disc.) I was thrilled to see someone was out there thinking and writing about games in such a thoughtful way.

    Plus, you occasionally brought the funnies.

    Fortunately, despite becoming more popular and expanding your horizons, you haven’t changed from being the intelligent and witty little blog I stumbled upon all those years ago.

    I look forward to another 10 years.

  28. phendrena says:

    10 years eh? Impressive, most impressive. Happy birthday! Sometimes, sometimes its like reading the old Crash magazine, you have the same wacky humour with quality writing. Here’s to the next 10.

  29. mrskwid says:

    what an auspicious day.
    RPS and bioshock turn 10 and my fellow USAers get to see an eclipse.
    happy birth day to my favorite gameing news site.

  30. Vanderdecken says:

    All the joy of PC Gamer, none of the paper. We love you RPS.

    • SaintAn says:

      Don’t disrespect them by bringing up that horrible fake news site.

  31. klops says:

    Happy birthday RPS!

    This is about the only information source I have on PC gaming for past couple of years. First: RPS is very good. Second: I have no time to read through all major/good/decent PC gaming sites so I concentrate on one I like the most.

    A funny thing in that early screenshot from 2007 is the Age of Decadence trailer. The game finally came out …last year? Or 2015?

    • Carra says:

      Was wondering the same. The Age of Decadence came out two years ago. Been in development for 11 years…

  32. Premium User Badge

    teije says:

    Well done chaps et al! A lovely site to peruse, the finest in its field. The only one worth reading regularly (besides the CRPG addict, but that’s a different kind of beast)

    PS – Love that last screen with the Age of Decadence trailer – 8 years before its release.

  33. X_kot says:

    RPS is my favorite glorified blog.

  34. heretic says:

    Happy birthday RPS! :)

  35. Premium User Badge

    Bluerps says:

    Oh my, those are a lot of years.

    I was not a reader from the beginning, but I have been here for a while. I remember that I started to read this page regularly around the time when Mr Smith left. Since then, RPS has shown me so many amazing games to play and given me so many interesting articles to think about.

    Recently, I do not have the time anymore to read this page regularly, but I still love to do it when I can.

    Happy Birthday, RPS!

  36. Premium User Badge

    The Almighty Moo says:

    Pleased to be here for this. I shall raise a glass to you all this evening in thanks. Cheers RPS

  37. Zorgulon says:

    Ten more years, please! (and then another ten, and then… )

  38. Premium User Badge

    Fallingbadgers says:

    Thank you, gang, for continuing to be such an excellent site.

  39. Cochise779 says:

    Happy birthday, RPS! I remember coming here 5 years ago from the PA Report to read Jim writing about DayZ just as that took off. Crazy to think just how much games have changed since those “what a clever little mod” days. I’ll never forget how different and refreshing the writing was.

    I was in a dark, console place then and it was the constant exposure to this site’s PC games coverage that finally brought me back to our most capable platform. To 10 more years!

  40. sagredo1632 says:

    Happy 10th! Ten internet years is something like 10,000 people years, yeah? And only 9 years younger than Google, too! Yes, the internet existed pre-Google, young ones. It was very… messy.

    Since people seem to be sharing war stories on how they happened to trip upon RPS, I’ll share mine too. If I recall, there was an article somewhere that had highlighted John being curmudgeonly. Namely, how games journalists were bottom feeders in bed with industry, good relations being bought off with industry raffles, tcotchkes and giveaways. I was glad to know that someone out there remembered that journalism contains something like a code of ethics, and wasn’t willing to let the name of “games journalist” become equated to “corporate bootlicker.” Of course, now that you’ve sold yourself to The Man ™, feel free to abandon all ethical restraint.

  41. eeguest says:

    Here’s to another 10 years of CS:GO and GTA V in the Steam weeky charts!

  42. KindredPhantom says:

    Oh 10 years old. How time flys.

    Happy Birthday, RPS.

  43. LennyLeonardo says:

    HBD, RPS!

  44. captaincabinets says:

    Many happy returns, RPS. Hip hip, Horace!

    Funny, but I wrote a forum post on this exact topic yesterday (still in moderation), not even knowing that yesterday was the exact birthday.

    I’d really like to see a “Have You Played?”-style retrospective of all the classic articles over the years. Kind of a “Have You Read?”, one a day, for all the folks like me who don’t have the time to trawl through all the archives, but also want to look fondly back on the RPS gems. Can Ian Shotgun make this happen?

  45. DantronLesotho says:

    Happy birthday! We’re all better for you being here, and I’ve been reading almost daily for the last 10 years so I am a true authority on the subject. Here’s to another 144 years!

  46. Premium User Badge

    Mahaku says:

    You like hearts on the SoundCloud podcast, so I guess you’ll like ’em here as well:

    <3

    Keep going strong folks!

  47. JB says:

    Happy birthday, congrats, and here’s to another decade of RPS!

  48. Artiforg says:

    Happy Birthday RPS.

  49. blind_boy_grunt says:

    And you look just like when you were born. Not even an evil megacorp can change that.

  50. plume says:

    I presume this is the part where you tell us Jonathan Nash is joining the team, natch? Also, Happy birthday you lovely eggs!