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Penny Arcade Turns Ten

By Shamus
on Friday Nov 21, 2008
Filed under:


I missed this the other day, but Penny Arcade just turned ten. Given our (gamers) fondness for both Penny Arcade and base ten numbering, I guess I expected more of a fuss.

I like this one, which was mysterious to me when it first appeared. Then I read it years later – this particular year, to be precise – after having finally played the game in question, and discovered the truth that it contained. That is to say, it took me three years to get the joke.

I am still waiting for the bright new future promised in this one.

Ten years. Amazing. Congrats to Mike & Jerry.

Comments (31)

  1. Kel'Thuzad says:

    I read it in passing, but I think yours are much better.



  2. Factoid says:

    There are many haters and infinite pretenders, but only one Penny Arcade.

  3. DaveMc says:

    Ah, I can help you out with the “this one” of the second link: Dan Hsu is the (now former) Editor in Chief of Electronic Gaming Monthly. He tried to implement a policy of less buddy-buddy interviews than usually appear in gaming mags, and I read the resulting interview with Peter Moore (big-deal publicity guy for Microsoft at the time, now at EA Sports I think?). Penny Arcade summarizes it pretty accurately: the questions have an edgy, confrontational quality to them (“Couldn’t this game have been so much better? Didn’t you really drop the ball on X and Y?”), but the answers are about the same as if the questions were the standard buddy-buddy fare.

    (Unless you were, uh, kidding about not understanding that one. In which case, um, sorry.)

  4. Matt K says:

    Penny Arcade was the first web comic I ever found. Way back in 2000 (my freshmen year of college). I actually picked up the books as essentially ‘Penny Arcade: My College Years’ and it’s funny to see how far they’ve come in a lot of respects.

    The most interesting to me is how having a life of noting but gaming and the capitol to afford everything that comes out has pretty much eroded their standards. I’m not really bashing them but you can definitely see a more cautious attitude to new games in the early days that just doesn’t exist anymore.

  5. lebkin says:

    “I'm not really bashing them but you can definitely see a more cautious attitude to new games in the early days that just doesn't exist anymore.”

    I think part of their caution is also related to their large fan base. Penny Arcade as grown to the point where Gabe and Tycho are the next closest thing as the word of god to many gamers. As such, their opinions hold a great deal of weight. If they say a game is crap, the whole internet notices. That kind of influence should not be thrown around frivolously.

    There is also the nature of simply growing up. They are adults with families. That changes people, in ways that are often unpredictable. I know that I’ve found the older I get, the less easily I am angry and upset by video games. It is possible time has mellowed Penny Arcade as well.

    All that said, they are still the gold standard for video game webcomics. They are always worth a read, with the posts behind the comics nearly as valuable as the comic themselves. I always look forward to what Gabe and Tycho have in store for us.

  6. krellen says:

    Penny Arcade is real hit-or-miss for me, so I don’t read it except when someone links it with context. The central problem, I feel, with PA is that much needed context. Without it, half the jokes just aren’t there.

  7. Kevin says:

    Good for them! I’d say they were fairly inspirational for the world of web comic creators the planet ’round.

  8. Nick says:

    I’ve tried to read some of their stuff, but because I discovered CTRL ALT DEL first, I much prefer that web comic.

  9. Malkara says:

    Oh shit! You’ve gone and done it. You’ve mentioned CAD. That’s like bait for the trolls! PREPARE MY GOOD SIR, PREPARE! They shall be over the hill any moment now! Egads, no one mention Dominic Deegan! Ah, crap I just did… Alright, well, now we’re screwed. It was nice knowing you.

  10. Matt K says:

    @Lebkin: You have a point, like I said after seeing their opinions for 10 years it is interesting to see how their tastes have changed as well as their attitudes. Like I said, I’ve been reading constantly since they started up the web site. Lately they’ve been more miss than hit for me but when it’s good it’s good.

  11. Shamus says:

    Oh sweet mercy – please do not turn this into a CAD flamewar. I’m beggin’ ya.

  12. Nick says:

    My apologies, I wasn’t aware there was even a battle between the two.

  13. Nick says:

    I used to like PA, but lately I really just read it for the comic. Their posts seem to be self serving announcements of events I do not care for, rather than views on recent games or news.

    Or when they DO talk about a game, I almost have to pull out a thesaurus just to digest it.

  14. Vegedus says:

    10 years. And they got a couple million dollars and a game to show for it.

  15. Viktor says:

    @Nick: It’s not a battle between the 2, there’s just a lot(LOT) of hatred for CAD out there. I’m not going to go further into it, but I’m sure that if you googled it you could find any number of essays on Buckley, B^U, Buckley, the plot, Buckley, the jokes, and any number of other issues.
    Suffice it to say, it would have been safer to mention politics or support the Nazis.

  16. Adeon says:

    @Nick: It’s not so much that there’s a battle between the two as the fact that CAD is a very polarizing comic, people seem to either love it or hate it.

    Regarding Penny Arcade I’m in a similar situation as krellen I do read it from time to time but it’s never really clicked for me. I recognize and respect all that they have done but I don’t feel the strong desire to see the next episode that I do with other comics.

  17. Nick says:

    Uh oh, appears there’s two Nick’s in this comment post.

    I’m the Nick @ 13 that used to like PA before they became aloof. I have no real preference of webcomic (at least for games, XKCD is so damn good), as I discovered CAD much later after PA.

  18. Adeon says:

    Fortunately the software tracks something (cookies or email addresses?) and assigns you different avatars.

  19. Nick C says:

    I’ll go by Nick C from now on. Didn’t mean to stir anything up. I have great respect for both, just find CAD a bit funnier, like a modern day Calvin and Hobbes. Pants.

  20. Nick C says:

    I’m really curious now, and I’m not trying to start anything. I’ve been reading CAD now for about 2 1/2 years. I never had any idea that people out in internet land hate him. I just did some googling as an above poster suggested, but didn’t find much. My web filters block things. I did see a bit of hate for Tim Buckley and his comic, I just can’t figure out why. Can anyone fill me in?

  21. krellen says:

    Supposedly Buckley has propositioned a minor. It’s all a bunch of rumours and internet hearsay, but there are many who believe it and hate him for it.

  22. Adeon says:

    I hadn’t heard the rumor krellen references. As I understand it the problem is that he has a somewhat abrasive personality which has upset a lot of people.

  23. Bryan says:

    So, what game is the comic referring to? I don’t get it either.

  24. Viktor says:

    Several issues, and Shamus can scrub this post if he wants to, but I’ll try to be polite.

    1:B^U. The art style in the comic is fairly bad. He uses the same basic facial features for everyone, copy-pastes them, and it makes reading annoying.

    2:The cliche nature. Read the following and see how much they coincide.

    3:A lot of the plot issues. The miscarriage, the fat chick storyline(insult every female, ever), the current ‘what I wish had happened :( /wrists’ storyline. I just can’t stand reading it.

    4:The main issue: Buckley apparently did the whole ‘post nudes’ thing to a girl who was 16. Fine, whatever, not a big issue to me, though some people hate him for it.

    5:Someone posted screenshots of Buckley’s post to the girl on the CAD forum. Buckley went ballistic. Banned the OP, banned anyone who had viewed the thread, banned anyone who commented on the bannings, banned everyone. That’s what I don’t like.

  25. Derek K. says:

    So. Penny Arcade, eh?

    I love that PA forces thesauruseses on people. Amuses me.

    I have to take issue with:
    “Their posts seem to be self serving announcements of events I do not care for, rather than views on recent games or news.”

    The majority of their posts lately that aren’t about games have been about Child’s Play, which is a bit not self-serving.

  26. DaveMc says:

    Whoops, I completely misinterpreted the meaning of the sentence “I am still waiting for the bright new future promised in this one.” If my response above appears to be a complete non sequitur, that’s because it is. Heh.

  27. John Saflo says:

    Overshadowed by a slightly more important gaming birthday.

  28. Matt K says:

    I have to say the best thing about Penny Arcade is their Child’s Play charity. It’s nice how they were able to use their popularity to make a difference.

  29. Dragonbane says:

    I have to admit I tried Penny Arcade for awhile, because so many people recommend it… and mostly it is complete boring gibberish for me. I don’t see it as a comic because it is almost never humorous to me, and in fact only occasionally makes any sense at all. I don’t know if they realize just how much they FAIL to set up their commentary. I assume that avid and voracious gamers must sometimes find humor, else they wouldn’t be popular – but seriously, for those of us who play only a few games, they have nothing to offer.

    Shamus’s game strips are generally funny even if you don’t know the game (not AS funny, but still funny), and I will often learn something about the game, instead of just being lost and confused. :)

  30. Nick says:

    I never claimed Child’s Play was self serving or even selfish. But for me who doesn’t feel like attending PAX, or looking at pretty paintings, or reading about new T-shirts they want to sell, or their new video game, or how their comic got made into a CCG game, or how they got YET ANOTHER promotional item and are selling it to their fans (for charity, and always at a high price), etc.

    How about a bit less self-promotion and more game stuff?

  31. Paul Spooner says:

    Links broke. New format requires zero padding.
    Currently: …2005/8/12/ and …2006/1/20/
    Needs to be: …2005/08/12/ and …2006/01/20/

    PA certainly is something special. While I have issue with much of the creators philosophy, I can’t help but admire their openness, sincerity, and devotion to calling it like they see it. Impressive long lasting resolve on their part.

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