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Penny Arcade is perhaps the ur-gaming webcomic, created by Mike "Gabe" Krahulik (art) and Jerry "Tycho" Holkins (writing) and updating on a Monday-Wednesday-Friday schedule. From its humble beginnings in late 1998, the comic has inspired countless imitators and grown into a veritable household name; the franchise has its own convention (PAX) and charity (Child's Play), as well as several commissions.

Although most of the comics are connected to Video Games in some manner, it is not exclusively a gaming comic; much of the humor is drawn from real-life experience, as well as character interaction, both with the authors' alter-egos and with their friends.

Notable for being one of the few webcomics to actually divide up art and writing duties between an artist and a writer, with the pretty obvious result that both the art and the writing are far better than most webcomics, which tend to be solo affairs. While the benefits to dividing up the duties are obvious, the pitfalls keep most webcomics from following suit: mostly, it is really really hard to get two people to agree on how their ideal comic should look and feel, and in the rare cases where they do, wildly successful comics can generate enough money to cause problems between them. Gabe and Tycho make it work. Most webcomic creators would rather not try.

Also notable for a relentlessly professional update schedule in a medium notorious for falling victim to Schedule Slip. Penny Arcade will update every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday -- even when Gabe gets swine flu or cuts his thumb to the bone.

The series has now spun off into an episodic game: Penny Arcade Adventures: On The Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness. And now into a reality show. The comic has also spawned the Epic Legends of the Hierarchs and Song of the Sorcelator projects. Two podcast series have also been produced. Downloadable content, that gives some insight in the process of how Mike and Jerry create the comics, and their D&D podcasts, which is a collaboration between Penny Arcade and Wizards of the Coast.


It should be noted that the two have been chosen for TIME Magazine's list of Top 100 Influential People for their 2010 issue under the "Artists" category.

Recently, Tycho has starred along with Strong Bad, The Heavy, and Max in a poker game named Poker Night At the Inventory, and the Fruit Fucker 2000 appeared (renamed Juice Bot) in the Steam version of Monday Night Combat.


This comic is the Trope Namer for:

It also provides examples of:

  Your "Bogey Golf" submission glorified many themes one does not readily associate with the game, such as incest, murder, rape, bestiality, religious intolerance, or crab fishing.

  I will personally burn everything I’ve made to the fucking ground if I think I can catch them in the flames.

 Gabe: What, this? This isn't pee. You startled me, I spilled my...drink, is all.

Tycho: So, you didn't wet yourself. You were just drinking piss.

Gabe: Yes, that's right. No.

 It is not a mischaracterization to say that conversations with the hardcore PC community about software theft follow these tenets:

- There is no piracy.

- To the extent that piracy exists, which it doesn't, it's your fault.

- If you try to protect your game, we'll steal it as a matter of principle.

It's like, who wouldn't want to bend over backward in their service? You need to know it, because nobody else is going to tell you: you guys sound like Goddamned subway vagrants.

{{quote| Thanks a lot.
You broke our website somehow. We are angry.
== An obliterator-class huntroid has been dispatched. == }}

 Tycho: Are you having another one of your Spider-Man dreams? Oh god...I'm not in it, am I?

 Tycho: How do you know this super hot ostrich is from my subconscious?

 Tycho: He's well and truly gone; the Gabriel we knew is dead. He delved too deep and was remade in the hot veins of the Earth. I have heard him suggest that the game is crack, but it's more like all of the ingredients and equipment that you need to make crack, which I'd say is worse. It's like: give a man some crack, and he'll... but if you teach him to make crack, and then... There must be a saying that explains all this, surely.

  Tycho: Oh my god. Oh my god. Please don't leave me!

 Tycho: Let me just ask you this: do you think that "cloud rendering" is something that happens in the sky?

Gabe: Yes.

Tycho: Alright. Check, Please!.

  • Oh Crap: Gabe tries out Minecraft and realises he's gotten into something very addictive:

 Gabe: I guess you punch trees? Which creates... wood? Which I can turn into sticks? And then I turn the sticks into ... Oh no. Oh no. I'm in some real fucking trouble here.

 I'm given to understand that she has the equivalent of Super Strength in this "trimester" or whatever it is called, and has the capacity to deal aggravated damage. Gabriel informed me yesterday that she lifted a car over her head, and threw that car at another car and then climbed up an office building. After a spectacle like that, your discourse tends to bear the proper reverence.

  • Product Placement: Surprisingly averted. It's a positively massive webcomic, with thousands of readers and big-name advertisers. Yet, if they mention a game in a positive light, they're playing it and having fun. In fact, some companies don't advertise there, simply because the mention of their game in Penny Arcade is publicity enough.
  • Purple Prose: Tycho's newsposts, so much. Avoid them if you don't like words.
  • Putting the Band Back Together: Tycho and Gabe (and Ben) after falling out, and the Troperiffic faux-movie example from "Paint The Line":

 G-man: You're a hard man to find, Mr. Brahe.

Tycho: Not hard enough.

  • Race Lift: Parodied here
  • The Rant
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning:
  • Refuge in Audacity
  • The Rival: Scott Kurtz of PvP. In reality he has collaborated with the boys many times, but in the strip he inevitably gets dubbed 'Scott Kuntz' and Mis Blamed for anything controversial. Scott now lives in Seattle and works out of the Penny Arcade office.
  • Robot Buddy: Div, subverted. Although if you wanna get technical, Div isn't really a robot so much as he is a personification.
    • The Fruit Fucker is arguably a different kind of subversion.
  • Rooting for the Empire: Tycho in this strip towards the zombies of The Walking Dead.
  • Rule of Cool: Why does Penny Arcade think you should get Prototype?
  • Rule 34: For the New Year, the guys have resolved to quit bizarre Internet porn (Tycho... coldturkeys.com?) and quit jacking off to the jellyfishes in the local aquarium (Gabe).
  • Running Gag:
    • How many times have they killed each other and stolen that Pac Man watch from the corpse?
    • The repeated jokes that Gabe is secretly gay (especially for Spider-Man): 1
    • Their comic counterpart's obsession with penises. But not in a gay way. (Examples forthcoming, probably too numerous to list)
    • Punctuation.
    • Stem cell research.
    • Comic!Gabe's obsession with ponies. 1
    • Comic!Gabe's OCD in relation to Star Wars trivia.
    • Their aversion to exercise and/or healthy living.
    • Pokémon as disposable living weapons.
    • Comic!Tycho's weird fetishes: 1, 2
    • Comic!Gabe's cybering adventures: 1
    • Reporter Randy Pinkwood 1
  • Sarcastic Confession: "He's absolutely right. I'm constantly going to the store to buy things I hate."
    • Bearing in mind that it is, to a greater or lesser extent, his job to do so. Comic!Tycho was speaking to a penchant for doing so of his own volition, independent of any sort of obligation.
  • Schedule Slip: Relentlessly avoided. Things that would cause multiple-week delays for other comics cause single-day delays for PA. They ran the first guest strip in recent history, because Gabe was physically unable to move a pen when it was time to draw the day's comic. Specifically, because he had swine flu. And the first guest strip set a precedent for the others by being done by Bill Amend. And just for fun, some of the guest strips were "Gabe gets swine-flu"-themed.
    • In fact, swine flu was the only time Gabe and Tycho were unable to produce a strip since the series began. Tycho did three MS Paint horrorpieces, but in ten years, that's it.
  • Second Law, My Ass: The Fruit Fucker, and Div.
  • Self-Deprecation: Pretty often, both in the comic and Tycho's missives, notably when Tycho explains the nature of Stylistic Suck.

 Tycho: "Making something that is bad on purpose - and not bad inadvertently, which is my usual process - is a whole-body thrill."

    • Tycho and Gabe teach schoolkids how to make comic strips:

 Boy: Miss, what's a cartoonists?

Teacher: Cartoonists are society's waste products.

 General: We call it the Kinetic Ingestion Regulator Bio-Yorganism.

Meta Knight: Yorganism?

General: Y is kind of a tricky letter.

  • Single-Issue Landlord: The premise of "That's so locust!"
  • Slasher Smile: Gabe gets a horrifying one when the comic's popularity happens to cause trouble for Ocean Marketing.
  • Slice of Life: In more recent years, as the guys have started having families, these sort of strips have started to happen occasionally. An example.
  • Snap Back
  • Snarky Non-Human Sidekick: Div.
  • Sophisticated As Hell: Some days, it's some of the most erudite commentary on videogame culture out there. Other days, it's a series of knob gags. That's not even when it's "Semen Week".
    • Tycho. For a man with that big of a vocabulary, he sure does love using the F word. For example, "Things, Part Two".
    • In "The Verdict": "On the charge of manslaughter, we the jury find the defendant, Jonathan Gabriel, not guilty. Furthermore, the jury believes the deceased totally had it coming to him, on the account of the bogus shit he said about 'Jesse's Girl'."
    • All of "The Case Of Texas vs. CryoLord".
  • So Long and Thanks For All the Gear: Referenced in this strip
  • Something Completely Different: Here.
  • El Spanish-O: In "The Ruse", Gabe tries to use this as part of a Paper-Thin Disguise.
  • Species Surname: You'd think that Catsby was the dapper cat, yes, and thus the demon Twisp? Subverted.
  • Spin-Off: They attempted to make a Jim Darkmagic comic arc, which seemed to involve him and his stage performances going horribly wrong. It was however, voted down. Probably due to the fact that "That wasn't Jim Darkmagic! Jim Darkmagic only ever rolls natural 20s! He's seven feet tall with red hair and eyes like the sun!"
    • Also due to the fact that, as great as the Jim Darkmagic's (of the New Hampshire Darkmagics) strip was, the even more amazing alternatives -- Automata and Lookouts -- crushed it in in the voting, with Lookouts winning by a small margin (all three concepts are going to be revisited anyway, they just wanted to know what order readers would like).
    • They've since presented another round of potential spinoffs like Sand and Queen of Bells. One, The New Kid, has already been optioned for a movie.
  • Springtime for Hitler: Twisp and Catsby, which Gabe and Tycho intended to be so horrible that nobody would enjoy it. They became immensely popular instead, much to the creators' disbelief, and remain a favorite when they want to do something surrealistic.
    • One of the appearances of the Victorian duo was a children's book written for one of their kids, in fact.
  • Stealth Pun / Visual Pun : This strip. It's a riff on the show "Hoarders," and they're members of the Horde.
  • Stylistic Suck: L. H. Franzibald.

 Making something that is bad on purpose - and not bad inadvertently, which is my usual process - is a whole-body thrill. It goes hard against every natural instinct to write this way. It has the delicious and irresistible texture of sin.

  Gabe: "Check it out! Spider-Man gave me his blood! I got a blood transfusion from Spider-Man!"

 It's like when you download something off BitTorrent - something legal!!! - and the client begins by creating an entire empty file to contain the wholly legitimate, fully licensed content you are grabbing from an authorized source.

  • Take That: Among the usual ones to specific video games, most biting uses are usually towards the likes of Jack Thompson and Tim Buckley.

 Tycho: I think Tim Buckley is the antichrist, and I think that miscarriage storyline was the first horseman of the Apocalypse.

 How about all of you that hate me get together and have your own conference. I need you to decide if half naked girls are empowered or exploited because I’m doing my fucking best here and it’s apparently always wrong. I swear to God I don’t understand how I’m supposed to know if I’m promoting the patriarchy or criminalizing the female body.

 Tycho: There was always one thing missing from your tabletop journey: a new version to revile, and an old version for you to cling to like a drowning man.

Gabe: I don't know what you're talking about, but D&D sucks now. I'm going to go online and argue about it.

Tycho: Godspeed. Brother.

 Gabe: Imagine it's like a really classy Dave and Busters, like with dark hardwood bars, glass rooms full of high-end audio and video equipment ... Khoo said not yet.

Tycho: He said we didn't have a million dollars.

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