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NYCC 09: Interview With Penny Arcade’s Gabe and Tycho

Posted by Sarah LeBoeuf On February - 9 - 2009

After being a fan of the webcomic for years, enjoying the first two episodes of Penny Arcade Adventures: On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness, randomly shouting things like “I wish I could hate you to death!” to my loved ones, and bragging about how I “painted the line” any time I score a point in ping pong, I finally had the chance to chat with Penny Arcade’s Mike Krahulik and Jerry Holkins (you know—Gabe and Tycho) at New York Comic Con on Sunday. We talked about gaming, D&D, GameStop employees, and whether or not Gabe should draw on my hand during the interview. Hit the jump to find out what happened.

You guys spent years trashing video games before releasing your own game. How has having your own video game changed your perspective on the video game industry?

Tycho: It hasn’t… I think it’s kind of expanded my idea about the video game industry, in that I know more about some of the processes that go into making a game. I know better what the different roles of the people involved are, I know where problems can develop. So I think I have more sympathy for the people that make games, but I also have an understanding of where the failings can occur. So I think it just made my understanding of the process a lot more complete.

Gabe: Yeah, I agree.

What’s in store for Gabe and Tycho in Penny Arcade Adventures Episode 3, and when can we expect to see it?

Tycho: We actually aren’t quite sure about that. We’re looking over the design document for the third episode right now, trying to make it as good as possible, and we’re not exactly sure when it would come out.

I’ve noticed that one of the biggest challenges of playing Dungeons & Dragons is getting a regular party together, what with everyone’s various commitments. How do you get a group together regularly, and make sure everyone gets to play all the time?

Gabe: I don’t accept no for an answer. I require them to show up every week. And if they can’t make it for some reason, I’ve gone so far as to send wives flowers on their behalf; I ask them to video chat, they have webcams; I simply don’t allow them not to come.

How surprised were you [Tycho] when he [Gabe] finally started getting into D&D after making fun of it for so long?

Tycho: Well, I knew that he would like it if he gave it a try. As you know, it’s a lot of fun, and people in general like to have fun. So I felt confident that he would come around.

And what was it that finally got you [Gabe] to start playing?

Gabe: We actually played D&D as part of an ad campaign for Wizards of the Coast. They wanted to run some ads on the site, and along with that they wanted us to do the podcast. I ended up taking the role of sort of the new player, and I ended up having such a good time that I decided I didn’t want to stop playing after the podcast, I wanted to keep playing on my own.

In the panel on Saturday, you guys talked about a turned-based ping pong game based on Paint the Line. What are the odds that it will ever see the light of day?

Tycho: Well, it’s not impossible. We’re still young men.

[Gabe pokes my hand with a Sharpie.]

Tycho: Don’t write on her!

You can write on me, it’s okay.

[Gabe proceeds to draw a heart on my hand.]

Tycho: We’re still young men, and there’s plenty of time to do a project like that. But I think it would be a much simpler thing. Like, it might be for the iPhone or something like that. We would want to bite off a project that we could actually chew.

Tycho, your birthday was on Friday, happy birthday. If you could have any object from any video game for your birthday, what would you want?

Tycho: Any object or item?

Use your imagination. The sky’s the limit.

Tycho: Phoenix down is a pretty good option. I think I could enjoy that.

Gabe: Just one?

Tycho: Well, I only get one. But it’ll be fun to decide who I use it on.

Also at the panel, you talked about how the Fruit Fucker was only one Fucker object that Fucker Co. makes. Is there any chance we’ll see an entire army of Fuckers, perhaps in a sequel to Armadeaddon?

Gabe: Wow, that could be a cool one. An Armaddeadon with all Fucking robots?

Tycho: I like it. That’s a strong concept. That’s a strong concept. Re-Armadeaddon! You did it. Very nice.

A lot of your fans don’t know your real names, or like what happened [at the panel] may call you by the wrong names. How do you feel about having so many fans that know you by names that aren’t even your real names?

Gabe: I really have sort of come to think of Gabe as my name. I answer to it as I would my real name, so it doesn’t bother me at all.

Tycho: Yeah, I mean they were our handles when we were playing Quake and stuff like that, so we’ve answered and identified with those names for a while now. It isn’t that weird. And if someone gets it wrong, well, how would they know? It’s okay.

I’ve noticed that you’re often hard on GameStop employees in the comic, and as a former GameStop employee, I’ve often felt the need to defend myself.

Tycho: Go right ahead.

That’s okay, I don’t work there anymore. Thankfully. Do you have any sympathy for GameStop employees, or do you hate them all?

Tycho: Oh no, it’s just corporate policies. There’s no question that they are just stuck in a system that makes them behave that way, it’s not their fault by any means. What happens is they send us the documents, we actually get scans of the documents that they send out from the corporate headquarters that tell you it’s okay to sell scratched-up games and all that kind of stuff. So we know where the problem is.

Thanks again to the Penny Arcade guys for making time to talk to me. I look forward to the next episode of Rain-Slick, and hope that Fucker Re-Armadeaddon thing works out.

1 Response so far
  1. » Blog Archive » NYCC 09: Sunday Recap Said,

    [...] morning started off with an interview with Penny Arcade’s Gabe and Tycho, followed by some hands-on time with Wanted: Weapons of Fate. Then it was time to hit some panels: [...]

    Posted on February 9th, 2009 at 2:25 PM

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