Rock, Paper, Shotgun

Rock, Paper, Shotgun (RPS) is a UK-based blog operated by Gamer Network and authored by Graham Smith, Brendan Caldwell, Alice Bell, Alice O'Connor, Katherine Castle, Matt Cox, Nate Crowley and Sin Vega, and formerly also Alec Meer, John Walker, Kieron Gillen, Jim Rossignol, Adam Smith, Philippa Warr and Quintin Smith. It was launched on 13 July 2007.[2] Launched as an independent website for reporting on video games, primarily for personal computers, the site was acquired and brought into the Gamer Network, a network of sites led by Eurogamer in May 2017; with this acquisition, Gillen and Rossignol will move on to other ventures, but all other staff will remain.[3]

Rock, Paper, Shotgun
Rock, Paper, Shotgun as of 19 July 2018
Type of businessPrivate
Type of site
Video game journalism
Available inEnglish
Area servedWorldwide
OwnerGamer Network
Key peopleAlec Meer, Jim Rossignol, Adam Smith, John Walker
IndustryVideo games
Alexa rank 2,864 (February 2019)[1]
Launched13 July 2007 (2007-07-13)
Current statusActive


Kieron Gillen, a co-founder of the site, was a regular contributor until 30 September 2010, when he announced that he would no longer be involved in posting the day-to-day content of Rock, Paper, Shotgun, focusing more on his work with Marvel Comics, but would continue to act as a director and occasionally write essay pieces for the site. Quintin Smith replaced Gillen as a writer in October 2010 before also leaving in July 2011. Nathan Grayson was another former main contributor to the site before stepping down in July 2014.

Rock, Paper, Shotgun also features less frequent contributions from several other writers, which have included Tim Stone, Phill Cameron, Lewie Procter, Robert Florence, Richard Cobbett, Craig Pearson, Duncan Harris, Lewis Denby, Porpentine, Cara Ellison, Cassandra Khaw and Leigh Alexander.


Rock, Paper, Shotgun reports on upcoming major releases and independent esoterica, and includes reviews, previews, features and interviews related to PC gaming and the PC gaming industry.

Some of the frequent categories of stories posted on Rock, Paper, Shotgun include:

  • Diary: Impressions of a game presented in 'diary' form, often from the perspectives of many writers, and over the course of many parts or updates, such as Solium Infernum: The Complete Battle for Hell, or Diary Of A Nobutoki: Sengoku. These articles are differentiated from reviews as they do not seek to objectively evaluate a game, only to present the experiences of the writers playing.
  • The Fixer: A column featuring guides on tinkering and fixing games.
  • The Flare Path: Weekly news and impressions of simulation and war games written by Tim Stone.
  • Kickstarter Katchup: A weekly round up of PC game Kickstarter projects.
  • RPS Bargain Bucket: A weekly round up of discounted gaming downloads available from third party gaming websites.
  • The Sunday Papers: A weekly round up of gaming related news.
  • Wot I Think: Review of a particular game including what the reviewer thought of the game based on their first hand experience.
  • Live Free, Play Hard: A weekly round up of free indie games written by Porpentine.
  • Hard Choices: A column on PC hardware releases and purchasing recommendations written by Jeremy Laird.
  • Cardboard Children: News and reviews of tabletop board games written by Robert Florence.
  • Have You Played: A weekday series of gaming retrospectives.


Fox News and Bulletstorm

On 8 February 2011, the game Bulletstorm came under scrutiny by Fox News through two articles by journalist John Brandon, describing the game as the worst game in the world.[4][5] The game was targeted because of its profanity, crude behaviour (examples of which including the game's skill-shot system, which has a move that rewards players for shooting at an enemy's genitals), and sexual innuendo. Alongside the panel of Fox News anchors was the psychiatrist Carole Lieberman, who remarked: "Video games have increasingly, and more brazenly, connected sex and violence in images, actions and words. This has the psychological impact of doubling the excitement, stimulation, and incitement to copycat acts. The increase in rapes can be attributed, in large part, to the playing out of such scenes in video games." Other claims included that the game could reach audiences as young as nine years old, and that the gore and profanity could seriously traumatise a child of that age group.

These claims were largely ridiculed among gaming websites, including Rock, Paper, Shotgun who ran a series of articles discrediting the reports by Fox News. The articles analysed Lieberman's claims and found only one of eight sources she provided had anything to do with the subject at hand. Fox News acknowledged that they had been contacted by Rock, Paper, Shotgun and responded to their claims on 20 February 2011 through its article, stating that the game still remained a threat to children.[5]

Public domain article

In 2014 a Rock, Paper, Shotgun article by John Walker about the existence of orphaned classic video games and the suggestion to let them enter the public domain after 20 years, raised a controversial public debate about copyright terms and public domain[6][7][8] between game industry veterans John Walker, George Broussard, and Steve Gaynor.[9][10]


  1. " Site Info". Alexa Internet. Retrieved 18 July 2018.
  2. RPS (13 July 2007). "The Website That Saved The World". Rock, Paper, Shotgun.
  3. Pearson, Dan (3 May 2017). "Gamer Network acquires Rock, Paper, Shotgun". Archived from the original on 3 May 2017. Retrieved 3 May 2017.
  4. Brandon, John (8 February 2011). "Is Bulletstorm the Worst Video Game in the World?". Fox News. Fox News Network. Archived from the original on 13 June 2016. Retrieved 26 June 2016.
  5. Brandon, John (20 February 2011). "Bulletstorm: Censored in Germany, Coming to America". Fox News. Fox News Network. Archived from the original on 11 August 2016. Retrieved 26 June 2016.
  6. Walker, John (29 January 2014). "GOG's Time Machine Sale Lets You CONTROL TIME ITSELF". Rock, Paper, Shotgun. Archived from the original on 2 November 2015. Retrieved 30 January 2016. As someone who desperately pines for the PD model that drove creativity before the copyright industry malevolently took over the planet, it saddens my heart that a game two decades old isn’t released into the world.
  7. Walker, John (3 February 2014). "Editorial: Why Games Should Enter The Public Domain". Rock, Paper, Shotgun. Archived from the original on 16 April 2016. Retrieved 30 January 2016. games more than a couple of decades old aren’t entering the public domain. Twenty years was a fairly arbitrary number, one that seems to make sense in the context of games’ lives, but it could be twenty-five, thirty.
  8. Why Games Should Be In the Public Domain Archived 17 June 2016 at the Wayback Machine on
  9. George Broussard Archived 1 April 2014 at the Wayback Machine on Twitter "@wickerwaka The whole thing, really. But especially that. Whoever allowed that to be printed should be fired."
  10. Copyright, trademark & money in a creative industry Archived 2 May 2016 at the Wayback Machine on by Steve Gaynor "There is some argument going on about for how long a copyright holder should be able to charge exclusively for their own work, before it enters the public domain. John Walker argues that perhaps a good cutoff would be 20 years before an "idea" enters the public domain." (February 03, 2014)
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