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  • Exclusive Extract From Warcraft Movie Script

    With the film's reviews appearing a week early, we can see no reason to hold back this exclusively leaked extract from the forthcoming Warcraft movie.

  • Visionary Crazy Golf - Potentially Digital?

    Supporters only: Visionary Crazy Golf - Potentially Digital?

    Hole in £120,000

    I've been keeping an eye on the Visionary Crazy Golf Kickstarter for a while now. The idea is that a number of designers created crazy golf course holes to be placed in Trafalgar Square as part of the London Design Festival. You can see Paul Smith's signature stripes in the image above.

    I started following its progress because one of the holes was by the late Zaha Hadid, but from the initial funding amount pledged by backers I didn't think it was going to be successful. With a fortnight to go it's scraped together just a sixth of the necessary funding so I'm thinking it's pretty much dead in the water at this point (sorry for being cynical). But, something I've been thinking since I initially read the Kickstarter, is that perhaps it would be a cool digital project/golfing game.

  • The Pleasantness Of Confounded Expectations

    Supporters only: The Pleasantness Of Confounded Expectations

    When a bad game turns out to be good game

    I admit it: I genuinely, but secretly, believed that DOOM would be a wretched game. It was not.

  • A Survival Game But...

    Supporters only: A Survival Game But...

    I'm a survivor

    A survival game but set in flower meadows and one of the bars you have to manage is hayfever

    A survival game but you are surviving a long car journey where your brother is CLEARLY on your bit of the seat and his elbow is in your air space and who just farted and why are we listening to Enya?

  • My Favourite Game Trailer: Deus Ex Human Revolution

    Supporters only: My Favourite Game Trailer: Deus Ex Human Revolution

    You didn't ask for this.

    I love game trailers. When they're at their best they can be tiny films that in just a few minutes reflect the themes, story and mechanics of a game, and when they do those things well I find them enjoyable entirely separate from whether the eventual game is any good.

    In the case of my favourite, however, the game was good. It's the extended CGI trailer for Deus Ex: Human Revolution.

  • Three Things I Get From Galleries Not Games

    Supporters only: Three Things I Get From Galleries Not Games

    Physical attractions

    Here are three things I get from art shows that I don't get from regular PC games. That's not to say games need to or should adopt them somehow, more that they're absences which form part of the pleasure I find at galleries.

  • Slowing The Conversation

    Supporters only: Slowing The Conversation

    Let's play games together.

    If you've been playing Dark Souls 3 over the past couple of weeks, chances are you've also been reading about Dark Souls 3, talking about Dark Souls 3, watching videos about Dark Souls 3, slurping Dark Souls 3 slushies and wearing Dark Souls 3 pyjamas. But if you don't have time right now, if it'll be months or (gasp) years before you will have time, then all those conversations and videos and night clothes will have long since turned to dust. What once might have been a communal experience will be rendered lonely and cold and, perhaps, in some way less vital and essential.

    Maybe we can help each other, though. Maybe we can slow the conversation down.

  • Criticism Outside The Comfort Zone

    Supporters only: Criticism Outside The Comfort Zone

    Three critical oddities

    Working as a critic, it's important to expand your horizons. Since I started writing about games on this here website, I've played releases I'd never normally touch with a barge pole, eased out of my comfort zone, and I've enjoyed the whole experience. The joy of playing and loving something that I'd initially dismissed, or that I'd begrudgingly accepted would be landing on my to-do pile, is much greater than the satisfaction of having good times with a game I'd always expected to love. The latter is a lovely thing, of course, but the former is glorious.

  • Cracking The Dark Souls Nut: What Happened Next

    Supporters only: Cracking The Dark Souls Nut: What Happened Next

    A funny thing happened on the way to the High Wall of Lothric

    When I decided to try and finally crack the Dark Souls nut, it was primarily for work purposes – it seemed simply unprofessional to be so in the dark about such a well-respected series. I also noticed a sort of snobbery was developing in me, presuming that people who professed to love the game were just time-wasting grinders, trying to justify their relentlessly samey actions by claiming there was something more profound to it than hacking away at health bars. That, too, is not a healthy position for a haha professional games critic to take. I wanted to break that down; I wanted to understand the game far more than I actually wanted to play it.

    Here’s how that worked out – a hamfisted novice plays Dark Souls III. Then a funny thing happened.

    Last night, I booted up Dark Souls 1. For fun.

  • The Fourth Of May Be With You

    Supporters only: The Fourth Of May Be With You

    Homophones are magic

  • Seven Reasons Why VR is DEFINITELY DOOMED

    1. Every single VR game is really just that bit at the end of the Crystal Maze where they're locked into a glass box then flail around like idiots trying to grab weightless junk. This is not necessarily irredeemable, however - all that's needed is to get Richard O'Brian to narrate every single VR game.

  • An Interview With A Man Who Won't Play Games

    Supporters only: An Interview With A Man Who Won't Play Games

    Mailing it in

    My chum Nick Mailer is one of my bestest friends, someone who's taught me more than any other person, and someone with whom I get on extraordinarily well. And yet despite this, he has no time for video games. Not just for playing them himself, but seemingly for them as a concept. We routinely argue about this on our podcast, Rum Doings, but I thought I'd interview him today to find out some more.

  • Personal Ads: A Dystopian Noah's Sex Ark

    I recently moved house so I've been trying to do things that make me feel more at home, trying to hasten the process of feeling settled. First up was unpacking as quickly as possible, finding homes for my stuff and getting rid of the boxes which would otherwise have lingered for months. Then stocking the fridge and cooking meals - some kind of connection to a place because you have leftovers and leftovers represent some kind of domestic continuity. I also bought a local paper. I've not done that in years, not since I live in a different semi-rural locale and half kept up with local gossip and half sniggered at the ridiculousness of it all - the man arrested for simulating sex with the city wall, for example.

    But the thing I used to do, and still do today is try to match up the people in the personal ads. That's my own little newspaper game, and far more fun than the actual puzzle page.

  • What I Missed About Games

    Supporters only: What I Missed About Games

    When a baby pinned me.

    I just spent the last month on paternity leave, during which I did not play a single game of any kind. In fact, during that period I only sat at my PC once, for an hour of writing emails. I've been thinking about the things I missed about games during that time. The list is different than I expected.

  • The Timeless One-Man Sausage-Fest

    Supporters only: The Timeless One-Man Sausage-Fest

    Sizzle sizzle in the pan

    Just a small post from me about the weirdness of reviewing a puzzle game, or even simply playing one for work.

  • YES I'M WORKING!

    Supporters only: YES I'M WORKING!

    No I'm NOT on a break!

    There is nothing that crystallises the ridiculousness of my life like a person with a proper job coming into my house. Today we are having a few windows fixed or replaced, windows fitted by previous owners that are either illegal or useless. And that means I'm sat in my study doing my silly job while people who know how to actually do things, mend things, carry things without tearing out chunks of paint from walls, keep walking past my door.

  • I'm On My Way To The Rapture

    Supporters only: I'm On My Way To The Rapture

    The Chad who loved me

    I was hoping to finish Everybody's Gone to the Rapture [official site] by late Friday night or early Saturday morning, so that I could share some thoughts with you all. It's now Sunday morning, as I begin writing this, and I'm still not done. It's not that the game is particularly long, I've just been repeatedly distracted by other responsibilities. So, rather than bringing a second opinion, following Pip's review, I've made some notes about the village of Yaughton.

  • The Finite Infinity Of Winchester Mystery House

    The official story of the Winchester Mystery House, the one the tour guide will tell you, is that the 160-room sprawling Victorian mansion was an architectural attempt to appease the spirits of those killed with Winchester rifles. A team of carpenters worked 24/7 for almost 40 years, building room over room around room inside room. Sarah Winchester believed she was cursed, a delightful chap who once played the dastardly Abanazar in an Aladdin pantomime will explain, and sketched her ideas for new rooms in seances. That's the official story, anyway.

    I visited the Winchester Mystery House after GDC this year and would like to tell you about it. It's certainly the most exciting house I've toured, mysterious or otherwise.

  • Smallfilms: The Delights Of Noggin, Bagpuss, The Clangers And More

    This weekend I spent part of my Sunday at the V&A Museum of Childhood reduced to squeaks of excitement by their Smallfilms exhibition. In case you don't know the name, Smallfilms is the company consisting of Oliver Postgate and Peter Firmin which is responsible for Bagpuss, The Clangers, Noggin The Nog, Ivor the Engine and more.

  • My Eyes Hurt, Or: Should I Be Scared?

    I've been using VR a lot lately. More for movie and TV-watching than for games - partly because little Vive-specific software had been released until a few days ago, partly because I haven't got quite enough floorspace - but nonetheless, I've had a a plastic box strapped onto my face for a few hours every day for the best part of a month.

    And I don't feel so good. I'll be damned if it's stopping me, though.

  • My Adventures In Reality Reality

    Supporters only: My Adventures In Reality Reality

    Extraordinary refresh rates

    I've taken some bold steps into the world of Reality Reality this week, and can report back my experiences of the "real world" experience that comes with this latest technology.

  • The Problem Of The PC Gaming Nest (Or Lack Thereof)

    I haven't had a moment to sit and read this week - or at least to take in information - so instead of a return to the Pipwick Papers I'll just share a snippet about a mood I've been in and how it's sent me ping ponging back and forth across my game library.

  • Early To The Party: Playing Games Before Release

    Perhaps it's because I was always a PC person and didn't follow any Japanese studios as a youngster, but the only game I've ever imported is Grim Fandango. I was desperate to play the game having seen a preview – probably in PC Gamer – and when I saw that it was available in the US a few days earlier than the European release, I jumped online and found a place that would send a delivery over the water.

    It was ridiculously expensive, as I remember, mainly due to the shipping costs, but I didn't care because I'd be playing the game while everyone around me was still waiting for it to show up in the shops.

    Because I'm an idiot, I hadn't factored in how long it actually takes to send a skellington overseas and I ended up receiving my copy of the game – which had presumably traveled on board the SS Limbo – slightly after the UK release. So I paid more, played later and had nothing but a slightly attractive disc sleeve to show for my troubles.

  • The Three-And-A-Half April Fools Which Did Not Make Me Want To Scream Or Resign Or Yank Out My Internet Connection And Go Back To Bed

    It is April Fools' Day. I hate April Fools' Day. You get one or two good pranks or jokes if you're lucky but in general it is this awful slurry of lazy lies and boring memes masquerading as humour. If I wanted that I would phone my sister. She sometimes just tells me that she uses teabags instead of bath salts or that you need to set the oven to a temperature the oven doesn't go up to as the pre-heating instructions for dinner and then laughs and laughs when you are confused. And at least she's not marketing a videogame.

  • A Moratorium

    Supporters only: A Moratorium

    Imagine More

    A thing I do every couple of days is look through all the new releases on Steam. I scroll through the full list (still cruelly hidden a few clicks deep by Steam, and still requiring you remember to tick the "Games" box to prevent seeing 590 DLC releases for a visual novel that sold four copies), hovering my mouse over game titles to read the brief summary, clicking through to anything that might be interesting. It's how I've caught quite a few fantastic games that would otherwise have disappeared in the ludicrous churn of Valve's store.

    By doing so, I see a lot of phrases a lot of times. Phrases that make me far less inclined to click on that game. And so I'm calling for a moratorium on a whole bunch of these hoary old tropes - not their inclusion in the games, but their inclusion in the game's description.

  • The Witness: A Sort Of But Not Quite Confession

    So this is sort of a confession but also a kind of "lesser of two evils" musing about The Witness [official site]. I can't guarantee no spoilers because The Witness is the kind of game where something might look or sound or seem innocuous and then you end up posting a spoiler. Do you have any idea how fraught it is trying to find a screenshot that won't upset people?

    With that in mind I'm going to say if you want to guarantee absolutely no spoilers for The Witness MOVE ALONG THERE IS NOTHING FOR YOU HERE.

    And for the rest of you...

  • Tiny Robot: A Couple More Sneaky Android Reviews

    Welcome once more to my hidden Android reviews. I've discovered a couple of proper crackers of late, games to play in those oh-so-awful moments when your arms aren't long enough to reach the PC. This time it's The Room 3, and Prune.

  • San Francisco Without GDC

    While I was in San Francisco for GDC I saw a lot of games, game developers and related events. But I also made an effort to step outside that space and see a little of the city. It's because if you aren't careful you end up stuck in this weird bubble of unreality for a week, just looking at screens and spending a lot of time away from natural light - more so given virtual reality headsets were a big part of the event this year. I didn't get as far as the Winchester Mystery House which is out in San Jose but I did see an indoor rainforest and an octopus so I figure Project Other Things was still a success.

  • A Fireside Chat About Supporter Emails

    Since we launched the supporter program, there have been two features requested a great number of times by you, the lovely supporters. The first is an auto-mailer that sends you an email when your subscription is about to expire. This now exists!

  • Collaborative Gaming In Social Spaces

    This isn't a story about football. Honestly. After last night's embarrassment, I'd rather not think about football for the next few weeks.

    This isn't a post about football but it begins at the National Football Museum in Manchester.