Community Interview Number #6 with Tycho & Gabe of Penny Arcade

It’s time for Community Interview #6. This time Tycho & Gabe of Penny Arcade have agreed to answer your questions. Here’s how it works — post your question to Tycho & Gabe in a comment in response to this post.

ONE QUESTION PER COMMENT, PLEASE.

If you see another question you think is interesting, moderate it up. If you see something not so useful, moderate it down. We’ll take questions for two weeks, until Friday, September 12th. We’ll send the top ten questions to Tycho & Gabe to answer.

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Xaviar Xerexes

Wandering webcomic ronin. Created Comixpedia (2002-2005) and ComixTalk (2006-2012; 2016-?). Made a lot of unfinished comics and novels.

159 Comments

  1. Paraphrase of bizarre recent assertion made by many: “Penny Arcade isn’t really a webcomic; it’s a blog with a cartoon adjunct to the writing.”

    True? False? Thing people say to feel better about themselves about reading a webcomic+rant?

  2. I’ve always thought Penny Arcade has one of the best business models out there. Between Club PA, your highly specific target audience (and hence, better publicity offer), the special features you make for Gaming Companies and recently, the PA Store, it all seems very well thought out.

    My question is: How did you work this all out? Did it evolve naturally? do you have people in your team with marketing/business acumen? What was the development process from being “just a webcomic” to making a profitable business venture? (take that as one question please)

  3. Are you aware that stripcreator.com uses an image of you Gabe as a default optional character for their freebie strips?

    How does this make you feel?

  4. Are you ever going to publish your Over Easy or Cardboard Tube Samurai comics in a collected dead-tree format?

  5. You both seem to be very verbose and, I am assuming, well read. Now that video games have become an integral part of our generation’s culture, can you see them being accepted as a form of literature in the way films and television have? Do you think your webcomic can help play a role in this?

  6. You once mentioned you get sued monthly.

    How often does Penny Arcade REALLY get sued and how often are the charges serious?

  7. Do you feel you deserve the respect you get from your fans on the subject of the games industry? You are after all just gamers right?

  8. Gabe has publicly stated in the past that they have between 100,000 and 120,000 daily unique visitors. That’s a lot.

    Comparatively, though, Megatokyo has about 300,000 and 8-bit Theater is in the vicinity of 60,000. I think both Ctrl-Alt-Del and Machall are in the 20-25,000 daily uniques neighborhood.

    Their bandwidth bills must be painful.

  9. 1)Tycho,
    Ever consider prozac?

    Gabe,
    Ever consider prozac for tycho?
    Lets face it we all saw how balistic he went on claw shrimp… Yeah..

    2) The tube IS holy… and i thank you for showing the ways to me

    3) Did you Guys ever go to college for PA? if so waht courses did yall take…

    4) how come ive never gotten a reply in email form yall.. are you just so backed up in emails that dont have time to do so?

    5) if Downtown san diego said we wanted to do a memorial park in honor of PA, how big would the Wang statue really be??

  10. I know that, you know that; apparently a bunch of bloggers who “don’t read webcomics” don’t know that.

  11. Thanks for the clarification Gabe (Tycho?). I did wonder about the alexa rankings for Megatokyo.

  12. How do you feel about the forum, and the people that inhabit it? Be honest, we can take it.

  13. heh.. I was just kidding really.. I only made that comic because I’m a jerk. nothing personal

  14. Has the thought of an animated cartoon deal in hollywood ever crossed your minds, I my self would love to see some big screen action, if so who would voice over tycho and gabe?

  15. Sup Guys, I really enjoy listening to The Fine Print. You should put a little more about it on penny-arcade.com. Anywho, How amazing do you think World of Warcraft will be? Any speculation on what you think system requirements will be, maybe in comparison to what Doom3 put out?

  16. how is it that you two boys are so darned sexy after spending all your time playing video games?

    – rstevens

  17. Just to satisfy my morbid curiosity… how big is your audience? Can we have an unique visitors per day stat?

    Love your comic. I’m not even a gamer, but I find it extremely funny.

    Maritza
    CRFH.net

  18. after the whole debacle over the strawberry shortcake thing,

    any chance of updating josie and the pussycats?

  19. after the whole debacle over the strawberry shortcake thing,

    any chance of updating josie and the pussycats?

  20. Do you feel you have lost anything along the way? How did your roots affect the devlopment of the great 4 years of webcomic-ing (that’s not right)?

    Keen

  21. When will you release the next book? And if one is not planned why don’t you just put all the comics on a DVD viewable as photo gallerys. Then you could have commentary and a making of video, or day in the life of PA feature.

  22. do you ever read other webcomics out there if so witch ones do you guys enjoy the most!

    BTW penny arcade rocks!

  23. How do you cope with the homosexual tension between you two, and yet still manage to have trophy wives?

  24. Gabe, could you please fill in the blank for me.

    You can’t _________ that!

    FroznReapr

  25. You guys do an excellent job (I think) with game reviews. Have you ever thought about asking and interviewing someone from the U.S or Canada to do reviews on videogames regularily?

    – Matt (That strange Canadian guy)

  26. How does a typical “work” day go for you? As in you don’t have a commute, desk, or boss nagging you all day so what is “work” like?

  27. Do you think that the direction that masses of webcomics are heading is in the right direction or wrong? Do you care?

  28. Rumors abound and the fans want to know:

    Is the Fruit Fucker 2000 in fact Div’s bastard child?

  29. Do you think you’ll ever lose interest in gaming? If so, would you quit or try to go on (while your work possibly suffered from lack of content)

  30. Dear Gabe and Tycho,

    How much do you guys trust each other? And, as a follow-up, how far could you throw one another?

    Thanks,

    opedog
    Norcross, Georgia

  31. Do you feel like you’re leading a fulfilling, satisfying life that you could continue indefinitely? Personally, I’d love to play games all day, but I think that after a time I would become bored with it all. (I know you do more than play games, as comics and rants don’t write themselves, but would I be right in guessing that you spend the majority of your time playing games?)

  32. Have you guys ever put any serious thought into creating a cartoon version of your comic?

  33. So why don’t you guys look anything like the cartoon counterparts you pretend to be?

  34. Are you feeling the change in story style IE Less visits from famous people/Jesus?

    SInce I already know the answer the the cartoon question, can I ask that same question except for video games live action show/film/blockbuster extravaganza and or multimedia experiance and or Dead Tree Comic?

    I like that “dead tree” phrase to describe books but I also like paper books and how they feal and smell. What are your feelings on this popic, ?
    (no I do not smoke crack rock)

    What kind of Cell phones do you guys sport?

    Why don’t you guys make more Video game in-depth reviews?

    Why don’t you guys get more involved in magazine articles?

    Why am I half as Geki but not even as tenth as cool as you guys?

    Why has has the Charles character ever met the Jesus (either in real life or the comic?

  35. If you could do anything else besides being kick ass funny motherfuckers for a living, what would it be?

    The king of all that is good and nice, Ice

  36. To Tycho,

    If you could be any kind of dog what kind would it be?

    from a necrowombicon attendee

  37. I have to know Gabe.. why pac-man? Why is it everywhere?! What is your obsession with him? Would you get Kara to wear a Ms.Pac-Man shirt all the time if you could? Do you plan to have children that will have pac-man t-shirts as well? (PS my favorite episodes are the one where you kill tycho over the pac-man watch, and claw shrimp.. Ahhh claw shrimp.. I don’t know how long I laughed at that) Your comic is awesome.. yada yada.. etc.. etc.. Bye.

  38. How do you sleep at night, knowing that any site you like to will have it’s bandwidth eaten up faster than Pac-Man can clear a maze?

  39. You’ve mentioned once before, rather enigmatically, about a Penny Arcade cartoon nearly being made. Was there any truth in that, and if so, could you elaborate?

  40. Question: With regards to Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle, in relation to Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity, would you content that there is in fact a considerable amount of anti-wang occupying the supposed “empty space” between Penny Arcade and the average visitor on the Internet?

    Thank you.

  41. How do you see yourselves affecting the industry? Either from a consumer point of view, or a developer point of view.

    Would either of you ever pursue more developer-oriented positions in the industry as writer and artist, respectively? What do you think your dream company/project/genre would be to work on?

    Thanks!

  42. What the hell is a Little Mermaid poster doing on the wall at your FF:CC marathon?

    I bet it’s Tycho’s.

  43. Some people feel that your comic has changed focus in recent years from more openly accessible jokes to more obscure “inside” jokes that generallly require an explanation along with the mornings column.
    Is this a noticable change from your perspective, and would you ever consider intentionally swinging your focus back to creating more audience-friendly strips again?

    Thanks!

  44. It looks like you have got your fan base (it’s growing nicely) and your exposure is wonderful. What’s next?
    Can you pitch a Penny Arcade show to any of the networks?

    If it’s a pay for cable network, you can even have unedited animated bits that intro and outro the show. What’s in the animation depends on the network. This can lead to a full outright Penny Arcade cartoon, and then the Movie and then to full pimp out… Whoops, got ahead of myself there.

  45. I find, as another online cartoonist, that it’s tough to concentrate on my own work if I read other online comics.

    Is one more of an online comic fan than the other, and does Gabe put on his blinders when he’s working?

    -Zach

  46. I think that I (and most readers) enjoy familiarity the most. Such as the infamous Pacman watches, the frequent use of the word “wang”, the world renown Cardboard Tube Samurai, amoung many others. With the exception of CTS, what has become of the majority of these trends that we’ve all come to enjoy?

    JP

  47. I’ve read each and every one of your comics, and I’d like to congragulate you. You are probably the only two people on the planet who could pull off such a feat. What I want to know is, how did you two get the idea for Penny-Arcade, and how did you start it up?

  48. Considering that there are only 24 hours in a day, 7 days a week, etc… How is it that you two get to play SO MANY games for many hours a day?

  49. I know this would never happen, but theoretically if you two fought to the death in real life, who would win? Tycho or Gabe?

  50. What ever happened to the pathetic fat bitch that owned pennyarcade.com? Why don’t you guys buy that domain from whoever owns it now?

  51. What would it take for a convention to persuade you to attend, and is distance a factor (ie, would a certain distance require including transportation in the enticement)?

  52. I saw some photos of you guys on one of your interview pages and I was expecting you’d look like your drawings. But neither of you seem to look anything like your cartoon versions. What’s up with that?

  53. My wife tells me I’m damn sexy. I won’t describe myself but I will say that I would fit in at any computer nerd convention/lan party. Should I believe her? Am I damn sexy?

  54. I have a question I want to ask that I’ve been thinking about for a while now. Given that I’m straight, married, and happy, is it wrong to play games as a female? I do not wish to BE a female, nor do I role play the femaleness. It is just in any third person game, I prefer to look at a female body all the time instead of some guys ass. Would Tomb Raider be what it was if Lara Croft was actually Larry Croft?

  55. I know this is kinda lame question but: If you could have any super power, what would it be? bonus points for originality (in answer).

  56. What is your best guess of what the future will be like? (in large terms, I don’t meant what you are doing tomorow)

  57. Hey….

    What’s with the Little Mermaid poster, and don’t go blaming your wife…

  58. Hey….

    What’s with the Little Mermaid poster, and don’t go blaming your wife…

  59. Based on the increased attendance at the last LanWerx event, do you have contingency plans for the inevitable fire code violations that will occur as word of mouth makes each successive event bigger? Think Great White in a small club with computers and consoles instead of guitars and pyrotechnics.

  60. If you could put three Penny Arcade strips in an art museum for all future generations to see, which three would they be?

  61. Dear Gabe ‘n’ Tycho,

    Do you ever worry that one day you’ll stop being funny? That perhaps someone with humour of my calibre will run over you guys and leave the ol’ Arcade a smouldering heap of junque while I cackle to myself on the horizon (in between cocktails and an assortment of devastatingly handsome but emptyheaded men, of course)?

    Love from Katie. xxxx

  62. Have you ever thought about drawing more realistic versions of yourselvs in the comic?

  63. I don’t actually play that many games. I work a lot. Penny Arcade is a full time job that employees four people and it’s a lot of work to maintain that.

  64. I don’t ever really think about other web comics. I don’t think of PA as a web comic.

  65. PA gets an average of 150,000 unique readers a day. I have no idea what other web comics do because I do not rate PA against other web comics. I know that PA is the number 5 ranked gaming site on the net after sites like IGN, Gamespy and Gamefaqs.

    If Piro said he gets 300,000 I think that is probably hits and not unique IP’s. We have linked back and forth to each other and it would be obvious if he had that kind of audience.

  66. Dear Gabe and Tycho,

    what is your opinion on the topic of romance with your coworkers?

  67. Have you guys ever considered taking a road trip and just setting up dates to show up at different arcades around the country? Or just Columbus, OH?

    -NSNick

  68. Tycho’s a pretty funny guy. I’d be really interested to know who his favourite authors are, and what influences they had on him during his soft, impressionable years.

  69. Tycho: with your newfound ability to enjoy terrible movies, what are you most looking forward to at the cinema?

  70. Are you ever going to hit the East Coast sometime, as Tycho keeps lamenting you haven’t? I can vouch for at least 100 fans here that it would be well received.

    -onelkid

  71. Could you categorise your email as percentages of spam, crazy people, people who you think might not kill you if they met you and other.

  72. Two part question:
    How do you respond to the contention that comics cannot stay focused on the topic of games?
    Kurtz has made the point many times (as I’m sure he gets a fair amount of email concerning his departure
    from video-game-centric comics), but you guys seem to have no problem coming up with poignant information
    for both the cartoon and the posts.

    Do you plan on making any more trips to the East Coast? My wife supports my LAN party habit here, but
    I think she would draw the line at weekly flights to Washington :).

    -MuggleX

  73. What attracts me ferociously to anything is the art of story. If it has a sustainable plot, intriguing characters and a tangible source of conflict sign me up. We are lucky enough to live in a world were a story is transmuted through tons of accessible mediums: we’ve seen shining examples in prose, poetry, theatre, cinema and comic. Video games, I believe, have the potential to weave insurmountable amounts of magic into a tale, and while we have seen some great examples (Xenosaga, FinalFantasy, Eternal Darkness, Grand Theft Auto, etc.), I believe the video-gaming medium for telling stories is largely untapped.

    Are you content with the story-lines of modern gaming, or do you find yourself hoping for something more? Do you think video games have the framework to tell a tale of our times (or do you think one has already done so)?

  74. Kurtz does not like videogames very much. That is why he can’t write a comic strip about them. I’ve spoken to the guy a bunch and he’s super nice but he’s not a gamer.

  75. I’m just wondering how the hell you came up with the fruit fucker?

    im not compaining, cause I think its hillarious, but I was just curious.

  76. Looking back on your time doing PA, is there any one strip or business decision that, with your experience today, you regret having done?

  77. When did you first realize that PA was a business, and not just a hobby? Was this a concious decision on your part, or did it just sort of happen?

  78. Do you two ever have differences over what to do the comic on? If so, how often, and who usually wins?

  79. Does Gabe do any other kinds of art besides the sort of thing he does on the computer in photoshop and such? Or is the GabeArt site a pretty good collection of his works? – Nils

  80. I wasn’t expecting something like that in the post of the day…

    My initial question was actually referring to strips like the “duck cocks” strip. Funny, but nonesensical and having nothing to do with gaming.

    Sorry to have offended you.

    P.S. Please leave my retard friends out of this, they’re very upset right now.

  81. Didn’t people other than Tycho n Gabe post news for a bit? What happened to them? Just curious…

  82. Dear Tycho and Gabe

    Will PA go indefinetly or will you guy plans to it someday? If so do you have any plans of doing a diffrent kind of comic? Or at least have a few ideas going about in your minds?

    Thanks

    Rabid Fan Girl

  83. Who did I bully? You made fun of us in your comic but we’ve never said anything about you. You seem to have kind of a chip on your shoulder for no reason.

  84. This is just me. But the dividing factor between hobby and occupation. Is if you earn more money than you put into it. It is not simply a hobby.

    In short. Money.

  85. Eventually, Penny Arcade will end, and probably before you are of retirement age. Do either of you have thoughts about what you will do for a living A.P.A. (After Penny Arcade)? I once e-mailed Tycho about this; his answer was basically, “I don’t know yet.” I am curious to know if he or Gabe have come up with anything since that time. Where do you see yourselves in the year 5 A.P.A.?

    Adam Nelson

  86. But first I’ve seen some messages here, and elsewhere, that I’d like to pre-emptively answer as a fan. The questions always go something like this :

    PA spends too much time making inside jokes, and jokes about games. Why can’t the jokes be more accessible, for those of us who aren’t part of the gaming/PA community because we prefer to spend our time smoking wang?

    I’ll admit, many of the comics don’t make sense to me either, like when pac-man was obsessed with demons … why would pac-man be obsessed with demons? But then I realized (with some help) that it was actually about some guy who hunts demons in a game that isn’t pac-man! Zing!

    Anyway, there is a comic out there that’s exactly like PA without all the inside jokes and obscure gaming references. It’s called “garfield”, and it’s about an overweight cat. HA HA! Many PA characters have direct parallels to characters in “garfield” :

    PA :: garfield equivalent

    Tycho :: “garfield”

    mac guy :: “odie” (more of a real life parallel)

    fruit fucker 2000 :: “jon arbuckle”

    guy with knife :: “person who’s allergic to cats”

    That should give you hours of enjoyment. And when you’re done smoking wang, you can read the garfield comic and enjoy that too. (HA HA!)

    On to my real question … often I find myself recounting a wang joke to my brother. I say “I read this great wang joke on penny arcade by … ” and then I forget who originally wrote it. Even if I had, do I correctly attribute to the actual person, or the comic figure? Which is which? And which matches to which? Which is the writer and which is the artist? Which is the skinny one and which one is (like myself) “preparing for the revolution”? And which goes with which wife? What are the wives’ names again? One is “Brenna”, what is the other one? (Marcy? That can’t be right.)

    And then the wang joke is blown (no pun intended), and I am often forced to resort to subpar wang jokes with easier attribution, e.g. “my parole officer told me this great wang joke.”.

    I could use your “archives” to “research”, but have only limited capacity for such dry facts, and your search engine doesn’t work for your stories, anyway. I was wondering if there is some sort of mnemonic, if you will, that will help me remember. Maybe in the form of a poem, or, if a poem is not your thing, maybe a song, to the tune of a national anthem or something kickass by GnR.

    – Fruit “Fellow”

    (please don’t yell at me, I got a little carried away)

  87. I love your comic and the rest of your special features, but what ever happend to love and hate with kara and batjew?

  88. “PA is a business” — Gabe

    Its stuff like that that makes owners of idle domain names start twitching and drooling. =(

  89. what type of games you guys enjoy most? FPS? etc.
    and what names you guys normally play under 😀

  90. How hard is it it to set up a succesful profit model for Penny Arcade? Are the profits that it is currently earning enough, if not what other things are you thinking of implementing into the site to help with this issue?

  91. Brenna goes to Tycho, Kara goes to Gabe.
    Tycho (Jerry) is the writer, Gabe (Mike) is the artist.

  92. wow……..is this true; and if so why havent I seen these tapes up for sale with all the other excellent PA merchandise?

  93. hmmmm…………one could probabaly devise a paradigm to so you the direct correlation between your lack of understanding of new strips and the rapid dissipation of your IQ due to smoking crack……..but what good would it do?

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