Monday, October 11, 2010

Penny Arcade #1, 1-100 [SEEN IT]

So…Penny Arcade. Kind of hard to know where to start with two of the strangest men on the Internet…

See? They’re pretty weird. They’re not only weird in the scope of that picture, though – they are at their strangest in that they are a twisted anomaly in the world of webcomics. To make a long story short, Penny Arcade is one of the oldest webcomics still running (the only one I can think of that both predates it and is still running is Joyce and Walky), one of the most successful gamer comics of all time, and…hell, the most successful webcomic of all time.

That sentence was in no way biased, or even a guess. It is a bona-fide statement of fact about Penny Arcade’s financial success and influence. The following things are the things that you, a budding webcomic author/artist or team, have to do to match Penny Arcade:

  • Popularize and perfect (to the point of being credited with creating) the “two gamers on a couch” genre, to the point where you can use all of its clichés without any backlash because you were the ones who invented them in the first place.
  • Be both lauded and feared by gaming fans and gaming companies.
  • Be commissioned to do promotional comics for franchises such as Rayman, Prince of Persia, and other names I could drop.
  • Start a highly successful charity that mobilizes gamers to donate money to purchase entertainment materials for children in hospitals.
  • Maintain said charity for seven years.
  • Run TWO gaming conventions every year, one east-coast and one west-coast.
  • Hand out a $10,000 scholarship every year to the applicant judged most likely to make a positive impact on the gaming industry. Meaning that you are not only making a living off webcomics – you are also getting rich off them.
  • Be named two of TIME Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People of 2010.
  • Still manage to post a beautifully drawn and written comic, plus essay-length news posts, every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday without fail.
  • Be married, have children, and play video games.
And that’s just the beginning.

Now that I’ve kissed the asses of Jerry Holkins (the author, or “Tycho Brahe”, the guy in the blue sweater) and Mike Krahulik (the artist, or “John (Gabe) Gabriel”, the guy in the Pacman shirt) like that (it’s worth note that when I first typed this I switched their names around – disastrous, no?), it’s a good time to switch gears and say that I have a love-indifference relationship with the comic itself, what little of it I have read. A big part of this is because I’m not in its target audience. I’m not a hardcore gamer, much less a hardcore gamer from the late 90s or early aughts (to give a sense of scale, I was in kindergarden when the first strip came out), so the strips’ game references are and will probably be incomprehensible until I reach 2007 (which is when I first started dating a hardcore gamer). However, as the comic’s audience expands, the art and writing tighten up and then evolve in fantastic directions, and everything just gets more and more daring, it turns into a comic that’s – there’s no better word for it – loads of fun, even if you’re not a gamer. There’s no real storyline, no real continuity, no real setting. It’s just fun packed in two guys, their imaginations, and a whole lot of video games. That, and I’m in slack-jawed awe/jealousy of their success. That might play a bit of a part in it.

Now, I think that intro was more than long enough, so let’s take a trip down memory lane – if I can call myself worthy – to November 18, 1998, when Clinton was president, AOL ruled the Internet, I was drooling on puzzle pieces in kindergarden, and two gamers in their early twenties decided they wanted to make a webcomic. One more note before we start, though. Penny Arcade strips aren’t numbered, they’re sorted by date (which is pretty common in webcomic-land), so I’ll just count them myself. And…here we go. Go to and follow the magic “next” button!

1. There are a lot of things to see at first blush at a webcomic. One of the first things you think is, “Hey, that looks nothing like the guys in that image you used as a cover!” And you’re right, it doesn’t, because this was the extent of Gabe’s drawing ability in 1998 (notice the simple brown gradient background). Also, it’s really, really outdated. That thing on the back of that computer? It sticks out about a foot. It’s a fan, I think. OLD. I have never heard of Sin and probably never will. About the only thing that keeps this strip funny in the slightest is that long loading times still exist, creating something relatable.

Well, that, and I don’t understand the last panel at all. What the hell is Tycho doing? Hanging himself? Was he shot into the ceiling by Gabe’s psychic ability? Did Gabe somehow knit that sweater ONTO Tycho and then pull it off? Is it some Sin joke I don’t get? D8

And now for another weird thing…because of the way the site’s script is set up, there are a lot of pages the “next” button directs you to that are blank. This is because back in ’98 or ’99, the MWF schedule wasn’t in place yet. I think. (And don’t bother with the newsposts yet; there aren’t any until February 2002) So, between this and the next comic, there are two blank spots.

2. The best of the old comics are obscure but still leave you something to giggle at. For instance, it took me a while to figure out just what was going on here. This long-haired fellow was (still is? I only see him in old gamer comics) the head of Ion Storm (NOT 3D Realms! Got my old gaming companies mixed up, thanks Shawn D8), which churned out a lot of old classics and then I guess made fans wait a long time for new ones.

But why do I think it’s funny? Because he thinks he deserves a wiener and HE’S NOT GONNA GET ONE. HAH.

Two blank spots, leading me to think Penny Arcade was only updated weekly in the 20th century.

3. And…yep, knew we’d find one eventually, here’s a strip that unfortunately mostly rides on knowledge of the game. What does the “blip” mean? Did the game turn off or is just unsatisfactory? Though of course the sex joke at the end still manages to save the giggles.

Oooh, just three strips and half of Tycho’s hair is already black. (He has black sideburns in most of the art.) The art tightened up quickly, though it still has a LONG way to evolve.

Two blank spots…

4. HOLY CRAP, NOW ALMOST ALL OF TYCHO’S HAIR IS BLACK. And here’s one that’s unfortunately still current – satire of peoples’ reactions to video games! In my opinion it all depends on the person, not the game. Statistics are against the person, really. Gabe, please put those bodies back where you found them…

I’ll announce if the blank spots change drastically.

5. Wait, what now? The art DEVOLVED! Maybe this one was older and they just posted them out of order…anyway I have NO idea what Planet Fruitbat is, but it reminds me of RPG-sites like Neopets. Ah the nostalgia. 8D Neopets was like a legal drug for nine-year-olds. So I’m mentally replacing “Fruitbat” with “Neopets.”

Only one blank spot.

6. WHOA, WHAT. The art REALLY changed! Tycho’s hair now looks vaguely reddish… As you can see they’re making fun of patches, specifically that game companies probably usually sell games with no entertainment value unless you patch them. Reminds me of how The Sims 2 was duller than dull unless you bought four expansion packs.

7. Oh, I see why there were no spaces, it’s a CHRISTMAS comic! Wow, 1998 went fast! OMG, that child’s wish list is adorable. Even if she does not know Pokemon Red and Blue are the same game. (Clearly the other game is for the unicorn!) And y’know, Tycho, I think that was a little TOO much for a child repeating what her mother said about a sociological construct…

Five spaces…Tycho and Gabe must’ve done some extended partying that year.

8. HAPPY 1999, EVERYONE! I’ve waited six commentaries for there to finally be a visible year turnover. So let’s get the new year started with a bang, shall we?

Ah, meanie butt software. The kind that embeds itself in every corner of your computer and doesn’t give up without a fight…xD I think this is the first comic wherein I can say that Tycho and Gabe look kind of like they do now. Vaguely.

Gabe: Oh goody, you’re still alive.

And their personalities unfold as well! See, they hate each other. They’re pretty deep for joke mouthpieces.

Two spaces…

9. This isn’t so much a “two gamers on a couch” comic yet as it is a “one gamer on the computer and the other making smart remarks over his shoulder” comic. I don’t understand a word Tycho’s saying, but he I see does not like Macs. But LOL at Gabe. That must have been quite daring artistically at this point.

Sometimes I ask my friends if they are on crack.

10. The art style changes in Every. Single. Comic. It’ll stabilize eventually…

I know this Divx is not what is today DivX, because that comes on the internet, not in a box, and has nothing to do with late fees, but what is it? I don’t know, but the phrase HEWN COLD FROM THE BONES OF THE SILLBORN made my eyes go wide, that I know…

One space…


Yes, these two have steady girlfriends (wives eventually) but they’re rarely (though sometimes) seen in-comic. The moral of this comic is “Tribes is better than girlfriends.” What’s Tribes? I have no idea.

12. AH, JOKES ABOUT GAMING COMPANIES NO ONE HEARS ABOUT ANYMORE. Wait, why are Tycho and Gabe at a sports game? I’m sure that was supposed to mean something at some point…and those people on the sides of the panels are creepy D8 And, yeah, that’s not really an inventive idea at all.

One space. As you can see PA took a while to get on its feet.

13. BaldurDash? I actually kind of like that pun even if (surprise surprise) I am unfamiliar with Baldur’s Gate. And what’s wrong with turn based games anyway? POKEMON is turn-based! And, wait, I thought GABE was the one with the psychic abilities! Perhaps Tycho’s going to exact his revenge for propelling him into the ceiling? I’d like to see that.

14. Is the joke here supposed to be that this guy is dumb as balls? Probably. I was five when this was made.

One space…

15. Oh god, Tycho, are you REALLY that surprised? Roms ALWAYS lie (except probably not so much for N64 anymore). Though clearly it’s sarcasm-

Uh, Gabe, I don’t want you anywhere near any animals…

16. There’s such a torrent of misunderstanding and sarcasm (sorry!) that all I can really understand here is that Tycho looks REALLY awkward in Panel 2. But- HOLY DAMN THAT IS ONE BIG ADORABLE CAT. MY GOD I WANT TO HUG IT. And not let it anywhere near my computer.

One space…

17. There could be two jokes here. One could be that the game sucks. The other could be that it’s so good that it’ll take up the rest of Tycho’s life. I really have no way of knowing. Sorry, old comic! D8

18. Whoa, wasn’t expecting this! This is some detailed drawing! Clearly Gabe is probably already a good illustrator, he just needs to tighten up his style. That and wait for better software to be invented. Tycho’s head looks really big, and the kitty suddenly looks a lot smaller. Somehow this is all I picked up on.

One space and…

19. Wait, wait, what is this? *reads*

*reads some more*



…OASJFOAJSFOJ. This is too sweet for words.

20. So on another note, ooooh, it looks like Tycho’s amping up the drama again! Wish I knew what he was talking about.

21. LOL. Final Fantasy 8? THIS I can laugh at, if only because it’s so old. And a Playstation ONE, too! Tycho, Gabe, I am making you feel OLD. Also, yeah, it’d be hard to play an imported video game if you don’t know Japanese. Good thing there are translating communities now. KUNG FU FIGHT WOO

22. Clipping plane? Gabe doesn’t seem to hear what you’re saying about technical things, Tycho the Dinosaur, he’s too busy holding SEVERAL BIG GUNS.

23. Macromedia Shocked? Oh, does it mean old websites where everything is moving just for the sake of having something moving? Ohgod, those things are awful. And LOOK HOW REALISTIC THEY ARE~

24. There was Linux in 1999? COOL! Every other thing I say about this comic seems to be about its age…sorry guys D8 And whose grave are we digging, here? Certainly not the computer’s, we need those hunks of junk.

25. Well, then, uh.

To be far, Gabe’s name actually is John. Tycho’s name is Tycho. Also, Jack and John are the same name.

26. This reminds me of the first strip of Megatokyo, vaguely! The big fancy ninja outfit reminds me that, like Tom, Mike can draw, he just needs to evolve with his current style. Because I REALLY like that ninja outfit. Especially that neat long scarf. I don’t understand the punchline though.

27. Uh, wow. I’m not sure whether to laugh uproariously at this or wonder whether Mike actually has Pac-Man tattooed on his upper arm. I think laughter is what the strip wanted to incite, so I shall laugh.

28. They’re making fun of SOMEBODY, I just know they are…! (Is that their old logo? It actually had a penny in it?)

29. Daikatana? Wasn’t that the game Romero was harping on about in #2? If it ended up being this bad, that’s a bit of a blow to the people waiting for it, isn’t it D8 So, here we are, a comic full of hate! And also a noose. I don’t know what slap-boxing is…any clarification? D8

One Day Later: Just read about Daikatana on Wikipedia. Oh dear.

30. So there’s no way I would understand this unless I knew what WCW/NWO Revenge was. Turns out it’s a professional wrestling game. Okay, first of all, LOL at the cardboard box they’re propping their TV on. Second of all, for shame, Jonathan Gabriel. You’re the one who gets all the homoerotic moments later in the comic! Also, you still appear to be playing the game! 8P

31. Wow. Kingpin must’ve been a pretty sexy awesome game, whatever Kingpin was! Also that is some exceptionally slow-burning fire. Tycho, ever heard of a sink? Also, Gabe has a funny little line under his eye. Very odd.

So far I’ve noticed that these guys are primarily PC gamers. Wonder how that’ll hold up over the years…

32. So so far in this comic I have also not seen a single couch. x3

So, I can’t tell! Do they think this demo is good or bad? I’m leaning toward good. And it’s great to see they still got a joke in xD I wonder if Usenet groups still exist…

33. Oooh, Tycho and Gabe look nice in suits and dark sunglasses! I don’t understand Illiad’s joke much. I also can’t tell if Mike and Jerry liked him or not. D8

34. In the robot’s defense, I don’t know what a S-Video Adapter is either. C:

Ah, geeks’ takes on video gaming stores. How charming they always are. Always either staffed by idiots or poseurs, they are common spots for potshots. Call me young, but I definitely thought the Dreamcast was older than this…


35. Can I be allowed to agree with Pac-Man, Mr. Politician?

36. Okay, forget Sin and Daikatana, I have NO idea what is going on here. I guess Tycho didn’t realize he was dreaming because…he’s stupid? YES, I HAVE FIGURED OUT THE ENTIRE COMIC. On that note, the guy staring at his naughty bits looks like he could be his dad. Oooops.

37. CLUBBING! This is a bit of a change from what readers expect, namely because it is THE REAL WORLD. It’s funny how the two seem so clueless, though. Not only are they still wearing their knock-around clothes, they are standing absolutely still in all three panels. Some of my classmates go clubbing, even if they are not all eighteen. I am not socially connected enough I think.

Curved surfaces? Bump maps? Don’t you two have girlfriends? C8 (yes, yes, I know, I know)

38. I love the coloring in the first panel here – it does well to illustrate a bad webcam. Mayo is gross. Also, I have determined that Gabe is some sort of exhibitionist, whether of his chest or of his Pac-Man tattoo I do not know. Probably the Pac-Man tattoo. x3

39. CHUCK! Chuck is the resident Apple geek of the series. This is him in his nerd year(s). Tycho and Gabe, as you see, are not Apple geeks. I don’t get the bit in the end about his cat – it seems like an anti-punchline. I thought only Cyanide and Happiness could pull that off!

40. Oh god, here it is. For the comic credited with jumpstarting the Two Gamers On A Couch genre, we have gone exactly 39 comics without a single scene of Tycho and Gabe playing video games on a couch. Wooow.

And here’s a girlfriend! I don’t know which girlfriend it is (probably Brenna, I think she’s the one with the red hair). But clearly she is unused to Batman’s pets.

41. Philosophy Arcade? Let’s see if I can understand this!

Hm, he could have a point! It’s a neat idea and all, though 9 out of 10 English majors would likely disagree, highly offended. (I’m not one of them. :P) The only thing I have trouble believing here is, how do they hear each other on a roller coaster?

42. Three attacks? I only see two, on Monolith and Sega Saturn. OH, the N64 too. Why did it have to be held up? Either way, it looks like Tycho’s doing perfectly fine with his PC.

43. And so start the E3 sketches! There are several every year, and there are often more than one each day. I’m bewildered as to why these guys were allowed at E3 – did they get this popular that fast? I’m not an Internet historian, but these sketches are still neat!

Gabe, get away from round objects immediately.

LOL, ROMERO. I did finally see a picture of him, and I have to say, he’s the only man I’ve ever seen, ever, that could have hair that long and not look like a complete idiot. (He's in the middle.)

44. More E3 fun! They have RAVES at E3? Daaamn, I want to go to a rave…

The terrible thing about souvenir sacks is that you have to hold them all day even though you’re not going to look at them. But I’ve never seen a case as bad as this, no pun intended! D8

And how could EITHER of them lose that bag if it was wound around Gabe like that? Truly these men are unusual.


Wait, this actually DOES exist? Maybe I should go dumpster diving and find it someday. :3

Poor John Gabriel. No one loves him. ;__; And thus concludes the E3 sketches. They are followed by two blank spaces.

46. And also a blank canvas. I don’t know if the comic is established enough to parody itself, but it elicits giggles. C:

AND AGAIN. AN OBSESSION WITH GABE’S ABSENCE OF SHIRT. Though this time I don’t see the tattoo. This comic is followed by SIX blank spaces, before…

47. WOO, FANCY ARTWORK! For that I’m able to excuse that the panels are just cut-and-pastes with the mouths redrawn! Oh, Gabe, you sly Jedi you.

48. I think this might be a little harsh. So what if this guy doesn’t know who they are? Unless of course these questions actually are that stupid, or the guys live here. Ah, the great unwashed.

49. YOU HAVE LOST THE LEAD. I remember seeing something like this in a Megatokyo guest comic, and I didn’t understand it, so I went and looked it up – and can’t find anything! So, help? D8 Either way, yes, Gabe is da man! Though he better watch out or he’ll lose the lead.

50. The first thing I noticed is that the art is tightening up – I don’t see any JPEG fragmenting anymore. I also notice that Tycho is still mortified by Divx, which I now know was something of a precursor to DVDs. The third thing is THE DIVX WHY IS IT STANDING UP AND TALKING.

BECAUSE IT’s DIV! Div becomes a recurring character in later strips. He’s a very rude and alcoholic device. For shame.

51. I need to stop writing these in class, because I got the giggles in a MAJOR way rereading this strip. Mostly because it reminds me of when I was seven, and my entire existence was focused around getting a Game Boy Color (a yellow one, which I still have – and it still works!) to play Pokemon Yellow. If I could have sold my sister into slavery for one I probably would have. (Sorry, Anna, if you ever read this! I love you!)

52. I think this is what the current community would call “casual games,” yes?

Gabe: God, I’m hot already.

I think that everything a man can do is mostly done to broadcast the size of his penis. Yes. And who buys these games? People who don’t want to fish. Duuh.


Also, Div’s little grey bar on the bridge between his eyes looks kind of like a mustache. So now I’m imagining him as someone’s mustachioed, drunken uncle.

54. Why so much moral policing, game store? Now I’m wondering if there ever was a time you actually did have to fill out surveys. Ah, the pain and suffering.

Now we skip four more days…

55. Yay, it’s Gabe’s girlfriend/fiancée! Meet Kara, everyone! Can I say that this comic is both ribald and adorable? It’s ribadorable! Poor Gabe. He can’t tell a lie. (Heehee, Honest Gabe.)

56. AND THE ALL IMPORTANT DAY HAS ARRIVED, THE NEW AND SHINY DREAMCAST IS HERE. I’ve never really seen the concept of renting game consoles as popular. I know my local Blockbuster did it, but my local Blockbuster went out of business a year ago…

Goodness, I think Gabe and Tycho should take care that those aggressive tendencies don’t get them into trouble…not that this is a comic that counts on status quo anyway. (Funnily enough, GC is the only story comic I’ve done so far…)

57. This looks like an accurate portrait of insanity to me! Though I have to wonder if this is because the Descent series was good or bad. I may never know.

58. Wait, Halo came out in 1999? I thought it was an early aughties invention…I also don’t know what reverse kinematics are, but Tycho…seems to…like them.

59. Wow, was Mortyr THAT evil? These demos must’ve been, anyway! I don’t see too many complaints about actual games…maybe the demos are really hard to uninstall no matter how hard they are.

60. WOO. BLENDER COMPUTER. Can I have a computer that looks like a blender? Pleeease? I’ll feed it and wash it and take it for walks…

Neither of them seem to have very good faith in any demos…

61. This demo must’ve been UNIMAGINABLY bad. Penny Arcade is scathing…wooow.

62. Heehee…it’s probably funny to note that from this comic on, Tycho’s eyes go red whenever he gets angry. He is quite an odd person in that regard. This is also the first strip I’ve seen with some continuity to it, in that it seems to continue from the strip about Satan.

63. I don’t quite understand what “free comic” means in this context…but it looks like someone got a “free” Athlon! Ohoho. Oh those gamers. But at least that hanging plot thread is resolved. Closest thing to continuity this strip could have.

64. Whenever I go to look for my favorite comic (search “beard” in the archives, it’s the second one that comes up), I always find this one in the search results. Sometimes it’s easy to tell whether PA liked a game, sometimes it is not. This time, it is easy to tell that Tycho loves this game. Oh Gabe you tosser.

65. This comic is strangely sweet! Gabe’s mean to Tycho when he thinks he took his chips, but then is sweet to Zombie, who for some reason is wearing a Tycho sweater. (Is he wearing the extra sweater Gabe knit in #1?) Also, why is Them capitalized? Are the potato chips that sacred? *_*

66. Ah, here we go, a strip unfortunately full of in-jokes I don’t get. D8 This guy’s art style looks very familiar; I’m pretty sure I should know who he is…and they still don’t like this Illiad fellow.

67. I want to be able to make my own clothes. I have never heard of a girlfriend-measuring contest. It’s kind of awesome.

68. Reaver? Is that kind of like Reaper? Has Tycho become that guy from Bleach? I don’t really get it 8D;

69. I don’t know if there’s some sort of poetic justice in a religiously-focused strip as strip 69…but I don’t know, I’m spending more time laughing at the hilarious way they interpret it. Dreamcast. Luul.

70. LOL, MORE JOHN ROMERO JOKES. I think this is the last one, unfortunately…this guy’s not been in the video game business for 5 years. I will contend that John Romero has very pretty hair. That is all I have to say on this su- WAIT, PLAYBOY??

71. Was Warcraft something like what World of Warcraft is now? Probably. Poor Gabe. He keeps getting hurt and falling on phallic objects.

72. This strip makes me giggle to no end. DREAMCAAAAAAAST.

73. LOOL. No money, housing or employment seems like a common patter in Nihon…just move back in with your parents and become a NEET, duuh. But I guess the PS2 is that awesome…? Wait, didn’t they think it wasn’t going to be awesome? Confuzzlement reigns.

74. LOL, Tycho has anger issues. x3 I wish I knew what these games were, so that my understanding of jokes could go beyond “yea” or “nay.” As we head into the 21st century I should get better about this…uh…

75. I saw the title of this one and was like WHAT. Then I realized it was about something else entirely, and was like “oooohhh.”

I guess a grappling hook is important. “Is it Friday already?” Ohhh you.

76. That’s funny, you guys, I thought you LIKED the outside. It has curved surfaces and bump maps! Still, this makes for a good advertisement for the outdoors. Not that anyone can make a profit off that, but…

77. I’d have to say I agree with this definition of survival horror. Usually you will not let either monsters or dinosaurs walk in your front door to have some tea…

78. Chainsaw Dave? That’s a pretty weird title for this comic, considering there are no chainsaws. Call me stupid but this reminds me of that one Spongebob Squarepants episode where Mr. Krabs pulled this on Patrick. Also, second comic to make a Sierra joke! Are we cool or are we cool?

Also noticed the art is getting more dynamic. Nice.

79. THE MATRIX: Killing twentysomethings since both the future and 1999! And I do believe those are your teeth, Gabe. x3

80. Hm, Kara cut her hair! And was Spawn really that bad? I’ve never heard of it…

81. I wonder if I should be happy or in utter mourning that, as of early this year, my local Blockbuster, and thus late fees, are no more. Fare thee well, Blockbuster. I’ll remember you every time I go into the new Petco.

With the tiger that’s strangely appropriate.

82. The scariest thing? This defines gamer geeks PERFECTLY. I would be VERY SURPRISED if any of them notice the stripper at all before continuity resets itself. And, hey, who are those other two guys? I don’t recognize them…

83. I can’t tell if Tycho is lying, or if the makers of Tomb Raider know why people play the game.

Gabe: You mean wall candy?

Forget it. Tycho’s DEFINITELY lying.

84. And here we have the first case of Tycho’s eye freakouts! And I have to say I’m pretty impressed at them word parallels. Good work, Jerry.

85. ZOMBIEE!!! 8D LOL, their bodies are super short. TATTOO! HI TATTOO! Why am I so amazed at his tattoo? And –

Huh? There are TWO comics? Didn’t notice that the first time…HAH. Tycho, whatever you do, counter Gabe’s murderous tendencies with your own murderous tendencies!

86. Is the Dreamcast drinking about the PS2? Because if so, it certainly had a very short shelf life…poor thing, beat out by the PS2. D8 And I definitely do not want to get on the wrong side of that tender. He means business.

87. Tycho: Let me guess. Gabe, you’re a young man questioning his sexuality. Div, you’re an obsolete piece of home theater equipment.

Happy Halloween, everyone! That’s the first and only time I’ve seen all the Ho Yay moments Gabe gets directly addressed (I’d say he’s definitely into guys as well as girls). Neither Gabe nor Div take this very well. Div should be careful; with all the alcohol he consumes he’ll light himself on fire.

88. HA HA HA. Every time the phrase “true fan” enters a conversation, you know there’s going to be trouble! 8P Though, with both of their anger issues, perhaps Tycho was asking for it…either way, Gabe, here’s everything vaguely shaped like a disk in my house. You go on your merry way. 8D

89. OH MY GOD. This comic gets a LOT funnier if you’ve read the more recent one about Duke Nukem Forever, or noticed that the game is still not out. (Though they are actually finally working on it!)

Those two men look a lot like Tycho and Gabe. Any resemblance is probably coincidental.

90. It looks to me like Gabe was copy-pasted into Panel 1 from Panel 3, which is why their facial expressions are exactly the same, but there are subtle differences…eh, I won’t go too deeply into it.

RELEASE PARTIES. Don’t worry, Tycho, I don’t get invited to them either. Gabe, you are a meanie.

91. Too violent?! Maybe a little later in the game, but here? Absolutely not! I mean, other than the thing about killing Tycho for his watch…but, in standard Penny Arcade fashion, we are completely disregarding complainers and also making fun of them.

I don’t like poison flowers. They stand against everything a flower should be.

92. I am super jealous of Gabe’s neat drawing table. Loonygames’s new content looks kind of like most of the projects I have taken on.

93. Ah, testicular humour! I don’t think we’ve had that yet. I wonder if this comic is just a vehicle for Tycho and Gabe to get back at each other. :P

The idea of motion capture is pretty weird. And usually on the camera it looks kind of…fake.

94. Bob is very much a meanie. I think he needs a girlfriend. (Though most definitely not me. Or any people I like.)

95. If I’m right, this is the first screenshot we’ve seen of a game these guys are playing! It looks so…hokey! :3 Though the pixel-Gabe is pretty neat. I wonder who made that. And I wish I could find out what was so funny about Age of Kings. Does he get massacred?

96. Oh, hey, it’s Jesus. And Jesus likes the Quake 3 demo. Thus, therefore, and ergo, Quake 3 is godly.

I wonder how much controversy this strip generated. You have to be careful with your treatment of Jesus…

Oh, almost forgot to mention – as of this strip, Penny Arcade is a year old! Wooo~

97. Yep.

98. I’m not sure what BIOS is, but, uh…thanks for that, Tycho. Now you just have to wait for very pale people to come into style in about *checks watch* eight years.

99. Dude, I want a ninja tooth fairy. They’d be in and out of there before you knew it. Maybe tooth fairies get special ninja training… 8]

100. Corrupt save games are a bitch, I do agree. I know that in The Sims 2, the save games start corrupting themselves about the minute they start existing. I think the king of the demon locusts would be even MORE terrified of those.

I can never get the names of the people on Friends straight…

So, let me get this out of the way – I really like Penny Arcade, but I can’t really fully appreciate the oldest strips because I’m not part of the culture they were written for. Still, though, I can start to see the seeds of the genius in the newer strips I really like. So, I hope you enjoyed this look through Penny Arcade’s Comic Sans MS past!

Mike and Jerry have lots of things to look at on the site, the most important of which is definitely the charity. Please take the time to donate to Child’s Play, because kids’ smiles are more valuable than gold! Also candy, and I can think of very few things more valuable than candy. Penny Arcade also has a very extensive catalogue of merchandise, which I will highlight a few pieces from. Most of them are in-jokes from newer strips, predictably, and also have art done in the newer style, but I’ll find the funniest to show you. Let’s see…there’s this very silly Erode the Soul tee, this tee detailing the history of man, many T-shirts concerning Jesus, neat stylized Tycho and Gabe tees, and would you believe it, women’s versions of two of them! There is also a bundle of all six of their strip collections, or each of the books individually, including an “11 ½ Year Anniversary Book.” And as if that weren’t awesome enough, you can also order a laser print of that picture up there.

So, I hope you enjoyed that and go on to enjoy a lot of things! Wednesday marks the return of Gunnerkrigg Court commentary, which I know people actually like! 8D


  1. Even if you aren't quite a part of the old gaming culture, it's nice to see you're quite open-minded about it, and do research if really necessary (coughDaikatanacough). I'll be looking forward to seeing your future commentaries. C:

  2. I have time to read everything now, so Notes!

    #10: Divx was basically a player for DVDs that would expire after a certain amount of time. Needless to say, didn't really catch on.

    #23: Back in the day, there were both Flash and Shockwave plugins. Obviously Flash hasn't been used any more wisely...

    #32: Yep. Usenet still exists.

    #33: Illiad does the comic User Friendly, I believe.

    #58: Inverse kinematics! Basically, instead of a character moving their arms/legs according to a scripted pose, they move them according to where they're actually needed. So a character actually grabs a door handle to open it, instead of waving their hand in an opening fashion near the door. (This was hot stuff in those days!)

  3. Late Princeps is late.

    In response to 58, Halo did not come out in 1999. The game was released in 2001. However, the first Halo trailer was released in 1999 - at that time, it was a planned game for the Mac. Ironic, because 2 years later it would become Microsoft's killer app for the Xbox.

    Also dating from 1999? Cortana herself first appeared in a series of emails.

    Just... throwin' that out there.

  4. I'm not really a fan of Penny Arcade, largely because I don't take video games very seriously, but I did chuckle quite a bit at the comic and a lot more at your commentary. Tycho naked at the arcade was probably the highlight of the comic for me, I love Gabe's nonchalance.

    Keep it up Carth, this stuff is gold! :D