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Penny Arcade review

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Penny Arcade review

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I 've been reading the webcomic Penny Arcade for a couple of years.

I actually read a fair number of webcomics, but PA isn't a natural for me; I'm certainly not a gamer, and some of the game-related gags are lost on me. However, I have spent enough time with gamers to grok the basic concepts, and a fair number of the strips don't require any prior gamer-specific knowledge at all; I get a high enough percentage of the jokes to make reading it worth my while.

Penny Arcade is a concatenation of extremes. While the punchlines are reliably funny on their own, the characters are such caricatures that I often find a meta-humor in that as well - and it's clear that that's part of the intent of the creators. It's also maxed out on crudity and hyperviolence, mated with cleverness, pop culture references, odd moments of sappiness and a tendency toward a vast geeky self-indulgence; the end result is an entertainment, neatly tailored for their target consumers, that still feels like an incidental byproduct of play. That's part of the draw for other geeks, that feeling of, "They'd be talking about this stuff even if they weren't making money from it; they're like us." This is the exact same set of strengths upon which Kevin Smith plays (though the ratios are wildly different).

Earlier today I read a Wired article about Tycho and Gabe from August of this year. Apparently, though still far from mainstream, they have become a huge power base in the world of gaming. It's a nifty article, but the best part about it for me was the news that Ubisoft, one of the sponsors for their con, PAX (because they have their own con! Damn!) "will host a contest in which some lucky fan of the anime Naruto will win their weight in ramen."

That cracks my shit up.
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