Rock, Paper, Shotgun. The content of the site is almost as fantastic as its name. Honestly I don’t know how all these brilliant words can exist on the Internet for absolutely no charge. Surely this state of affairs cannot persist?
It’s made up of some of my favourite people-who-write-about-games. In the beginning they were mainly favourites because I realized they all love Deus Ex almost as much as I, but I have since grown to love the way they write as well as their opinions on games and game design. There’s something very British about the general tone of the site, and I’ve always appreciated a good Britishness.
A lot of the best stuff on there was paid for by other sites or actual publications (more often than not the brilliant PC Gamer UK, to which I subscribe), and it amazes me that they’re allowed to post these commissioned articles on their own blog. But sometimes they do post some completely new stuff that blows me away. Here are a couple of my favourite posts of theirs:
Quintin Smith isn’t technically affiliated with RPS, but he still writes some great articles for them once in a while. He just posted this brilliant little essay about Planetside. All his posts on RPS (click his name right up there) are well worth the read, but especially these three articles about the Russian FPS/RPG/adventure Pathologic must not be missed.
Speaking of recent stuff, Rossignol reposted a piece from Edge (to which I also subscribe, but never get around to reading) about game audio. The idea that many game design students neglect the audio aspect of games infuriates me. As a game designer you have to think about the whole package, you can’t just focus on gameplay and visuals and then completely forget about the importance of sound effects and music!
I’d also like to mention Walker’s fine observations on a particular aspect of Bioware’s RPG’s, specifically a certain mini-quest in Mass Effect. He brought opinions to the fore that I’ve been wrestling with for a while, and made me realize exactly what the problem is. It takes a special sort of article to make you go “Oh, but of course! That’s the problem! Why didn’t I realize that?” If nothing else, the article deserves mention for Bioware writer Patrick Weekes dropping into the comments to explain how that scene came to be in the first place.
I believe I’ve already linked to Rossignol’s rant about exploration, but I feel compelled to mention it again because it quite accurately describes my own love of this, the most purely escapistic aspect of games.
A little closer to home, Gillen once had a great interview with Warren Spector. So great, in fact, that it merited an exclamation point in the title. And in the same general sphere of interest, he reposted a feature about Harvey Smith from PC Format.
Speaking of interviews, I loved their piece about The Witcher, as it explained quite a few things about the game. John Walker also conducted an adorably fanboyish interview with Funcom’s Ragnar Tørnquist about lots of things – it was split into many parts, but I’ll just link to the piece on the meaning of faith in Dreamfall, as it illustrates what sort of dedication we need to show if games want to compete with the stories in films and books. Only… I’d like it if stories in games could generally be a bit less bloody linear than Dreamfall’s. If you like that article, I recommend clicking here, as Tørnquist seems like a very nice guy and has a lot of insights.
Okay, I notice I’ve let myself get carried away a bit with the linkage, but before I press Publish, I’ll just squeeze in two more great articles. One is Jim Rossignol’s repost of his PCG piece The Joy Of Co-Op, the other (and more important) is Kieron Gillen’s psychic essay about the future of games criticism. To the latter, I can only say that I desperately hope it comes to pass, because a world where the enthusiast press exists to point out the more obscure parts of the medium is a world I want to live in. And RPS is remarkable for already largely catering to that need.