Hello, friends, best friends and frenemies. Our new-fangled Supporter Program has been in full and healthy swing for a little while now, so I thought I'd encourage even more people to join the thousands who have already signed up, and elaborate a little more on all the lovely things the scheme offers.
The Supporter program is an entirely optional way of getting extra-involved with RPS, and while it doesn't take anything away from the main site, the idea is that proceeds from it will fund the additional exclusive articles we write for Supporters, selected highlights from which will appear on the main site later on, and enable us to commission out more ambitious features, from great writers, which will appear on the RPS's front page for everyone.
The idea behind the supporter project came from people already supporting the site with their own money. We had over a thousand people signed up to our old Paypal subscription system for no reason other than they wanted to support RPS. We set that up because people asked to support us. That they did that is amazing, and we wanted to do something palpable to reward that generosity. Make no mistake: this - the sheer gallant enthusiasm of RPS readers - is the main reason for doing this. Now that far more people are supporting we can do *even more*. An extraordinary virtuous circle that we can only be astounded by. People are amazing, kind, and brilliant.
So, here's exactly what happens behind the Supporter-only veil:
Every weekday we publish one new, feature-length post, written by an RPS full-timer, that only supporters can read (for the time being, at least). These are going to cover all sorts of things in all sorts of ways over time, but the likes of Wot I Thinks, impressions and interviews will always appear on the main site (with the possible exception of gag posts. Maybe I'll write Wot I Think: My Cat's Infuriating Toileting Habits for supporters one day).
Having listened to feedback from Supporters and non-Supporters alike, we're going to periodically open up access to a fair few of the more popular and/or interesting articles after a little while. In fact, we've done so already with the following:
- From last week, the first part of my own quasi-memoir, Raised By Screens, in which I share how my young eyes responded to the first game I ever played, The Hobbit on Spectrum. Earlier this week, Supporters got Chapter 2, which contains my maudlin recollections of Repton 3: The Life of Repton and how it seemed to tie into teenage loneliness.
- Last week Graham wrote of the gaming monument he's most proud of, and how it involved 439 FIFA 13 matches played against the same friend.
- Alice has written about 'dreamy' games, and how the likes of Mountain and Glitchikers helped her get a handle on her own thoughts during a difficult time.
- Also John made a big flowchart which proves definitively that videogames make everyone violent.
Remaining in the Superfriendszone, for now at least, are pieces about the enduring terror of Silent Hill 2, how to the be bad at games, the RPS Book Club For Games, why games involve a special and vital form of solitude and more. Each week, supporters will be able to read five brand new examples of That Sort Of Thing.
The main site will continue to see the same quantity and quality of posts regardless of what's going on in Supporterland. (In fact, we're currently increasing the number of posts on the main site each day). Proceeds from Supporters enable us to go the extra mile and write these bonus subscriber-only posts, but they also mean we can spend more on freelancers for the main site, for everyone to read. There’ll be an Elite Dangerous diary from Brendan Caldwell starting up very soon, as well as big stuff from RPS chums Tim Stone and Richard Cobbett. Better still, we're able to spend money on work from completely new writers, which is always an exciting thing.
That's why we're doing this - to make RPS even better. Again, more selected supporter posts will be made public on a regular basis too.
Another thing we want to use the Supporter Program for is to talk more directly to our most dedicated readers about what they'd like to see on the site, both for supporters only and for everyone. There are some threads in which we're all chewing over such things already.
Of course, as well as bonus words, joining the Supporter Program also gets you a bunch of gifts, including an exclusive Team Fortress 2 hat which depicts the sacred face of RPS's deity Horace The Endless Bear, and discount codes for GoG. There'll be new gifts over time, for Supporters old and new. We'll let you know when the next ones are ready to go.
We'd absolutely love it (and you) if you signed up, but if you'd prefer not to, please rest assured RPS-prime will continue to be as good a PC gaming site as we can possibly make it.
Oh, also we made that special Supporter badge for commenters a whole less ugly. Phew!