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.