The Truth About Rock, Paper, Shotgun

I cannot maintain my silence any longer. As someone who has been working behind the scenes at Rock, Paper, Shotgun since it launched, and seen what’s really been going on here, I have to reveal the truth of this company. How am I supposed to sit back and watch as the website is adulated across the internet, bestowed with numerous awards for the supposed success of its “four main writers”, and celebrated as the site that invented good games journalism. I have recently found out I’m to be dismissed in the next round of lay-offs at RPS, as the company once again fires the “little people” who actually run the site, while the ego of the Big Four grows. So I’ve started this blog, and I’m using the login details I’ve got for RPS until they figure out how to stop me. Like those idiots ever could.

Working for Rock, Paper, Shotgun basically means pretending you don’t exist, and giving the credit for all your work to Jim, Alec, John or Quintin. Their names go at the top of the posts, their names go on the comments below, their names go on the awards after. Anyone who speaks up, who suggests that more credit should go to the actual authors, is very quickly out of work.

So if you want to know what really goes on at RPS, I’ll tell you right now.

First, the Big Four don’t know what they’re doing. Quintin Smith is the cruellest man I’ve ever encountered. All he does is sit in his palatial London apartment, sucking up to the right people. You want to know how he got the job on RPS? It wasn’t because of his writing talent. Let’s just say that with enough money, and enough dirt on the right people, it’s very easy to get a position on the RPS board. He’s never written a single word of copy in his entire career, and instantly fits right in to the “team”.

Alec Meer used to be the decent one. When the company started, he was the one who would talk to the staff writers, the art production teams, and so on. He didn’t actually do anything, of course, but would at least be courteous to those who did. That all changed with time. Now he’s rarely to be seen outside of his offices. No one knows what he does in there, but the stories of screams and crying animals are rife.

John Walker – “The Funny One” as they so hilariously call him – is the biggest arsehole of them all. By far the least funny person I’ve ever encountered, his lack of a sense of humour leads to his misunderstanding anything anyone says to him. The endless rages are legendary in the office, inevitably because he doesn’t get a joke on the site, and starts screaming the place down. I could tell you about the out-of-court settlement that prevented one of his victims bringing to light the incident with the chair. Maybe another time. But let’s just say that he’s got enough money to make sure people don’t need to hear about his violent tendencies.

And as for Jim Rossignol, who thinks he’s the boss of the whole enterprise. It’s pretty sad really. The delusional old man sits in his luxury country cottage, banging away on a keyboard that’s not plugged into anything, while barking orders at his staff to build him ever-more improbable robots. You should see what they have to do, dressing up in tin foil-wrapped cardboard to appease his insane ranting, as he picks up and slams down a disconnected phone. It’s hard to hate such a tragic figure. But it’s also pretty hard to see him receive credit for the book he pretends he wrote.

Want to know more? Keep reading. I can keep ranting.

You’re probably wondering about Kieron Gillen, and the coup that led to his getting fired. Oh, he left voluntarily you say? No, he was fired. The other four, with Quintin the “brains” of the operation, plotted to get rid of him so they could split his salary between them. Quintin saw an opportunity to replace Kieron in the Big Four, and within a couple of months KG was gone and “Quinns” (as he likes to pretend we want to call him) settled in to his position and salary. I bet Quintin is enjoying the sweet new chicken and ham pie he bought after leaving the knife in the man who mentored him.

Kieron was no saint. Promoted far beyond his ability he had to rely on so many underlings to get anything done. And the sycophancy of Jim, John and Alec. It wasn’t until Quintin joined the team that any of them had the guts to try to launch the coup, and blame Kieron for all of RPS’s many failings. Sure, their audience figures may be climbing all the time, but what you’ve got to wonder is where that audience is coming from. There’s only so much money that can come in from all their shady deals with various publishers to pay for those South Korean sweatshops to keep refreshing the front page. Or keep clicking on Alec’s features, as he insists they do.

And what do they all have in common? All of them have barely written a word on the site. The content is generated by faceless drones, trawling the net for stories to copy off of Kotaku, inevitably bawled out by John or Quintin for whatever the write, no matter how many hits it may get. Don’t get enough hits, and you’re gone. Oh, and repeat a post that someone else has already posted, even months ago, and the bollocking you receive is never forgotten.

And you know what they’re most proud of? This is the kicker. They are most proud of their Captcha system. They boast about how effective it is, its ease of use, and how it’s changed the site for the better. They spent $300m on it. It’s the only thing the four of them have done on the site in at least a year.

So there it is. Firing the competent. Rewarding the incontinent.

I say it anonymously so I can keep my next few pay cheques coming.

So I’m a louse. A big fat RPS louse.

Want some more questions answered? Ask away.

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23 Responses to The Truth About Rock, Paper, Shotgun

  1. It’s what I always suspected. And seeing them at the expo in real life, upset they got their megaphone taken away… well what can I say. I didn’t see any evidence of the guys playing any games, except for Kieron, and he was on his way out of course.

    Dear RPS Louse, how does one become a completely uncredited, exploited and abused writer for RPS? Do you have to submit yourself to a regime similar to that depicted in Banksy’s intro for the Simpsons?

    Thank you for bringing us the truth.

    • rpslouse says:

      They place various ads in papers and on websites, preying on enthusiastic young writers who are keen to get work online. People accept the conditions at first, simply because they think it will be the bottom rung of a ladder. But there’s no ladder at RPS. You just stay there until you’re fired.

  2. =) says:

    Nice parody 🙂

  3. bbot says:

    Oh you guys. So silly.

  4. Jarmo says:

    Mute cherry blossom
    Squirming in condemnation
    The itching endless

  5. Hey Nonny Mouse says:

    “Quintin Smith is the cruellest man I’ve ever encountered.”

    I’d say that, out of the RPS crew, only Walker would use the phrase ‘cruellest man’.

    Kudos for resisting the urge to use ‘big smelly’ at any point though, that would have really given it away.

    • Byth says:

      Obviously, this is just one of the people who wrote some of “John’s” better-known articles. Another uses “Big Smelly”–they are clearly different people.

  6. Rosti says:

    Curious as to why there seem to be so much distance put between RPS and PC Gamer? As a long time reader of PCG, I found RPS was almost following another paradigm. Certain aspects of RPS seemed to honestly be a poorly edited version of PCG, almost as if the current editors had never experienced ‘Gamer and what made NGJ such a success for Future. Was there a decision to not model their journalism after PCG and more curiously, why? Reason I am asking is during the launch, Tom Francis had asked people not to post about PCG.com/RPS comparisons and if they did, they would find their forum account closed.

  7. RPS MAN says:

    So, Louse, why do RPS hate boobies?

  8. golden_worm says:

    Dear Louise,

    What a sham.

    If they can’t look after the staff I am worried they may not be looking after Horace. Animal cruelty is so much cruel-er than people cruelty. Please say it ain’t so.

    Shalled and Appocked.

    Golden Worm.

  9. Ansob says:

    It seems I have to ask my extremely important questions here, for fear of censorship.

    What can you tell us about Quinns’ facial hair, and why is Phil Cameron so obsessed with penises? It’s unnatural and highly suspicious, is what it is. It’s almost as if Phil Cameron exists only to draw attention away from Quinns’ shovel-shaped shlong by mentioning other dicks, but then that makes RPS all about the penises, thereby explaining Karen Gillan’s interest in Hey Baby.

    I’m also not sure where Jom Rissignol fits in all this, but you someone has to find out.

  10. fistfull says:

    BASTARDS!

  11. celtickender says:

    Brilliant parody is brilliant

  12. So will Banksy at least storyboard on how RPS really works now?

  13. Low Down says:

    ..I used to be one of Alecs “robots” and the stuff he made us do. /shudder. I still havn’t got all the sprinkles out of my hair.

  14. Lacero says:

    Somewhere there’s a private board where the RPS four and other world leading businessmen are posting how all their stupid, talentless, over promoted underlings keep ruining everything.

  15. Jack says:

    Thank you for your words.

    And for your courage.

  16. Rosti says:

    RPS Louse: Do you know where the tortured, shaking voice of the CAPTCHA comes from? Should we be worried?

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