The Penny-Arcade Interview — 03.29.03
This weekend was awesome. There is no other way to describe it. I have been a Penny Arcade fan since early 1999 or late 1998. I remember one of my friends, SL_Lactose, sending me a link to a new and funny strip related to gaming. Prior to this I had little interest in online comics, so I clicked the link with little excitement. What followed was something of an epiphany. These guys had a sense of humor that was like some sort of laughing spear that was hurled at me with every comic I saw. It was amazing; this strip had a sense of humor that appealed to me so directly that I could not help but like it. It has always talked of things that I was feeling, or could relate to. In a way, I think most serious gamers can relate to them. Their comics are so universal, yet so specific, to all gamers. And, oddly enough, their sense of humor is very similar to mine.
As you might expect, I had been growing into a very large Penny-Arcade fan. I loved the free comic I was getting, but when they started releasing goods, I started buying. If you’ve taken a gander at my boards; you would know my stance on supporting the artists that supply us with the things we love. So, naturally, I wanted to support them. I got the books, the shirts, an spread the word to anyone I could find.
Sadly enough, I was the only person, in what seemed to be a million mile radius, that liked Penny-Arcade. So, I decided to spread the word. I showed ShadowmanX the "Our flag is not in our base" comic. And then we showed his friend Omar. They both loved it. Soon, the gamers that ShadowmanX was friends with liked PA too. The PA virus was spreading. I then returned to my town, where I was the only PA fan. I met Richie a few years later, and showed him the magic that was Penny Arcade. I also noticed that Penny Arcade had inspired a cult that worshipped their comic gods. Penny Arcade was becoming popular.
But, it was not popular in the normal sense of the word. No, the average Joe did not know who they were. But, more and more gamers were finding the comic, and falling in love with it. (Or learning to hate it as Gabe talks about in the interview.)
Not too long after that, the small personal web page had turned into a massively popular site that received 100,000 hits per day, and could "tube" your site with a single mention. Penny Arcade has grown into a gaming phenomenon; reaching what I like to call a, "gaming celebrity." Gaming has spawned itself a culture, and Penny Arcade is now a big part of that culture.
So, yeah, I was excited to head down to Kansas City to hang out and interview the men behind the phenomenon. I really didn’t know how they would act, and was actually a little nervous going in.
Interestingly enough, if I didn’t know how popular their comic was, you would never know by talking to them. (You would, however, know by the crowd of people talking to them.) They were extremely nice, and not only willing to sign anything and everything, but willing to talk to you. I felt as if I was hanging out with a couple of friends. (Who happened to run an awesome site.)
They were extremely cool about the interview. We decided to do it after the con, but the con people (I like the way those last two words sound, hehe) kicked us out. We ended up doing the interview in the freezing Kansas wind. But, they stayed out there and answered all of my questions. I am extremely satisfied with the interview, and I hope you will be too.
The next day, I went back and played some Linked up GBA with them. I played Puyo Pop with Gabe. If you haven’t played this game, I highly recommend that you do. You can play multiplayer with one cartridge! If you liked mean bean machine, you’ll like Puyo Pop. But, let me tell you, you don’t want any of Gabe’s Detroit Rock City action. (He makes some killer combos and drowns you in rocks.) BreakwomanX played Puyo Pop with Gabe and gave him what he called, "one of the best games he’s ever had." I was very proud of her.
After that I played The Legend of Zelda: The Four Swords with Tycho. That was a lot of fun as well. Pulling those bat things a part, alone, was awesome. It was both of our first times playing this game, and figuring out things together was a blast. If you have a GBA you really should try The Four Swords, but beware, you need a cartridge for each GBA.
If you like Penny-Arcade, and have a chance to meet these guys. Don’t pass it up. They are extremely nice, and just as funny in real life as they are in the comic. They are coming back to Kansas City next year, and I know I’ll be there. You should come too =)
This was a special presentation of the BreakmanX.com Game Show; which is a live radio talk show about Video Games that takes place every Saturday at 6:00 PM CST. Listen live on Saturday or listen to some old episodes now.