Yeah, it's kinda like that.Penny Arcade
is undoubtedly the original 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, even while enjoying wild success.
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 which 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
. There was also a reality series done on what it was like to work in the Penny Arcade office, which offered further insight into their creative process, as well as introducing fans to the other people who work behind the scenes at PA. In collaboration with Bionic Trousers Media
, they have also started a reality talent search web series entitled Strip Search
The two were chosen for TIME Magazine's list of Top 100 Influential People for their 2010 issue under the "Artists" category.
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
. The Merch
, is now an unlockable pet in the upcoming game Fire Fall.
This webcomic provides examples of:
- Abusive Parents: Tycho's childhood was often a living hell.
- Accidental Misnaming: Scott Kurtz of PvP, portrayed as The Rival in some strips, is invariably called "Steve Kuntz" by Gabe and Tycho.
- Accidental Truth: In "Stewardship" Scott Kurtz comes to the guys with a list of topics to avoid while writing PvP in his absence. As it happens, he had considered doing exactly that.
- Actually Pretty Funny:
- Adjective Animal Alehouse: the Silver Unicorn in The Vault Of Winter, Part One
- Aerith and Bob: Or so Gabe has been led to believe.
- Aluminum Christmas Trees: At least one level in Scribblenauts can actually be solved this way.
- Ambulance Chaser: Spencer Halpin in this strip.
- The Annotated Edition: The printed collections have text commentary.
- Answer Cut: Annarchy decides that E3 is "an elaborate scheme to suppress rational thought" and wonders what kind of "pea-brained monkey man it's supposed to appeal to." Enter Gabe.
- Art Evolution / Art Shift: Jokingly used when referencing ancient history. The ten years of practice really shows.
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: From the rejection letter the duo supposedly received from Golf Digest for Bogey Golf, their series of golf comics:
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.
- Author Appeal:
- Author Avatar: Retroactively so — Tycho and Gabe were not originally meant to represent the creators, but too many readers assumed that they did and eventually Jerry and Mike just went with that. Jerry's posts sometimes mention that while Tycho draws from Jerry and Gabe from Mike, their characters are distinct from their creators and the real story is redistributed to the appropriate character. For instance, he was the one that wanted to give away free waffles at their convention booth, but it wasn't something Tycho would do, so their roles were switched for the comic.
- Awesome McCoolname: Mike named his Dungeons & Dragons wizard "Jim Darkmagic" (of the New Hampshire Darkmagics).
- Immediately called out by Scott Kurtz, who demands, "Why don't you call yourself Chet AwesomeLaser?"
- The group also suggested "Jim Fellmagic," "Fell DarkJim," "Jim Felldark," "Fell Darkevil," and "Ominous Darkfell Magic-Bad."
- Also, Doctor Raven Darktalon Blood.
- Fail O'Suckyname: Jim is a callback to when they played Final Fantasy XI.
- Also all characters/creatures by Franzibald. (Grimm Shado, Witchaloks, wolfoids, the Shadowdark. Granted, some of these names aren't as much "sucky" as they are "horribly uncreative".)
- A Wizard Did It: Used to explain "reverse necromancy". As well as where babies come from.
- Bare Your Midriff:
- Anne does this in the earlier strips.
- As have both Kara...
- ...and Brenna.
- Badass Adorable/Little Miss Badass: Annarchy in Armadeaddon, and doubly so in Penny Arcade Adventures, where she plays a Gadgeteer Genius.
- Badass Boast: Mike Krahulik gets one while talking about Ocean Marketing.
I will personally burn everything Iíve made to the fucking ground if I think I can catch them in the flames.
- Badass Santa: In the 2012 Christmas strips featuring Acquisitions Incorporated. Ho-ho-holy crap! And they gave him stats.
- Bestiality Is Depraved: There is a Running Gag with Tycho having sex with all sorts of animals, including giraffes. It squicks out Gabe whenever it comes up.
- Specifically, animals with long, slender (sexy) necks.
- Big "NO!": Too late, Gabe realizes the awful truth in "He Who Fights With Nerds". More gruesome examples are here and here.
- Bindle Stick: Gabe has one here.
- Berserk Button: For the love of God, don't insult ''Jesse's Girl''. Or mention those claw shrimps. Or imply that Warhammer and Warcraft are the same thing near Tycho.
- Black Comedy:
- Black Comedy Rape:
- Bland-Name Product: Most products are named and mocked, but in two strips they were under a non-disclosure agreement, and decided to illustrate how silly the whole NDA thing is. There have been store and restaurant names such as GameShop, Taco Hole, and Wang's Chinese Restaurant, though Tycho once did refer to Barnes & Noble by its real name.
- Blatant Lies: "Gabe, sometimes in order to hurt someone very badly, you have to tell that person terrible lies."
- Bold Inflation: Frequently, both in the comic and news posts, usually in places where one might naturally emphasize a word when speaking aloud. The tendency was lampshaded in one post where Tycho admits he "might have a problem with italics".
- Book Ends: a textbook example of this trope.
- Bowdlerize: Gears of Conflict Resolution
- As mentioned earlier, the Fruit Fucker was renamed "Juice Bot" when appearing in Monday Night Combat. Also, in Poker Night at the Inventory, the Fruit Fucker appears on an unlockable table, but it is referred to as "Fruit Friend" (and even if you have the swearing uncensored, it still appears as "Fruit Friend").
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: Parabolic, a comic where Gabe and Tycho argue over The Stanley Parable, ends with the real life versions of themselves commenting over how real it was getting.
- Bribing Your Way to Victory: Somewhere between this trope and Revenue Enhancing Devices is the Visa Crucible (for Everquest II).
- Gabe cannot resist this in "premium content" model games such as League of Legends, often leading to him walking around in top-tier gear days into a game.
- Brick Joke: Most people forgot about the Pac-Man watch, what with it not being mentioned for years. Then came the announcement that it's a Team Fortress 2 Spy unlock through Poker Night at the Inventory.
- Bring My Brown Pants: Happens to Gabe upon being scared by Tycho while playing FEAR. He then tries to deny the fact that he pissed himself.
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.
- Bullying a Dragon: Anyone who tries to push around Jerry and Mike. Penny Arcade has a huge following, and most of them are very internet-savvy. Do not attempt to threaten or bully its creators or their friends. You will be destroyed. Ocean Marketing and Jack Thompson found this out the hard way.
- Call Back: The comic from July 14th, 2010 has Tycho use the made-up racial slur "chuwero", first mentioned three and a half years ago. He will also use it on occasion in Poker Night at the Inventory.
- Character Blog: The corresponding blogs on the strips. More prevalent a few years ago, when the two would often argue on the front page, something that almost never happens anymore.
- Characterization Marches On: When the strip started, Tycho and Gabe were more or less interchangeable, with Tycho serving slightly as a Straight Man to Gabe's enthusiasm. As the strip moved on, they experienced wildly different development, with Tycho evolving into his current sexually depraved intellectual persona, while Gabe became dumber, more unhinged and randomly violent.
- Check Please: This strip.
- Chest Burster / Puppeteer Parasite: The Broodax, in spades.
- Christmas Special: Oh so subverted.
- Closer to Earth: Tycho and Gabe's wives Brenna and Kara come across this way, more for providing an outside perspective on their geeky madness than just being more grounded.
- The Cloudcuckoolander Was Right: In a joke about him being egotistical, Gabe thinks his birthday is an internationally recognised festival celebrated by everyone. Turns out that it is.
- Complaining About Things You Haven't Paid For: This newspost reveals that this is how Gabe feels about winning Nocturne in a competition. "Even when he gets your game for free, it would appear that you still owe him."
- Confusing Multiple Negatives: It doesn't not work.
- Contemplate Our Navels: In-universe; what is delicious[sic]
- Continuity Nod: Fairly odd for a webcomic that features the main characters dying horrible deaths on a regular basis, but one comic introduced us to the idea that Tycho can't deal with the sun. More than six years later, Tycho is again seen trying to protect himself. And once more.
- Cosmic Horror: The recurring concept and species known as the Deepcrow.
- The nameless entity that possesses Tycho after his nightmares about Hell in the late 90's, which occasionally manifests itself during moments of rage, most memorably here
- Contrived Coincidence: Tycho buys a Zune, Microsoft's ill-fated answer to the iPod, based on the selling point that you can trade songs with other Zune users, yet he's the only one who has one. He eventually runs into another Zune user... Bill Gates.
- Crossover: Telltale's Poker Night at the Inventory, sure it's typical for them to crossover a Video Game seeing that it's a gamer webcomic, but its really unlikely for them to crossover a Web Original and a Comic Book.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Gabe. Not only is he the Cardboard Tube Samurai - whose skills may carry over in some form to his civilian persona - but he has received a blood transfusion from Spider-Man, and may be Darth Vader's son. Taking all this into account, Gabe may have the potential to be a web-slinging force-adept with the ability to slice things to shreds with a perfectly round tube, to say nothing of the potential synergy between spider-sense and force awareness. He's also the Beta Whisperer.
- Crowd Song: This.
- Dada Ad: The Seinfeld Windows Vista ads, as seen here.
- Dada Comics: Twisp & Catsby.
- The Dark Age of Comic Books: Parodied with a Dark Age-style Comic Jumper◊ comic◊ done by Gabe, and the subsequent Rob Liefeld pose contest for an Xbox with the Dark Age-style Comic Jumper, which Rob Liefeld even entered but lost due to using photoshop and this one◊ won the contest for being 'disturbing and confusing' just like a real Liefeld artwork.
- Dark Age of Supernames: Parodied with Doctor Raven Darktalon Blood.
- Death Is Cheap: Both Tycho and Gabe have died a number of times in the comic's run. They're still doing fine.
- Delivery Stork: The Talk, By Abby Howard offers a... unique spin on this.
- Digital Piracy Is Evil: From the rant for October 26th 2009;
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.
- Don't Explain the Joke: This strip.
- Disproportionate Retribution: "I'm getting into my car, and I'm driving to Barnes and Noble. If that is the name of a real book, I'm going to kill myself. Others may die also. I'm going to play this thing by ear."
- Driven to Suicide: Apparently one shouldn't read the entirety of Gabe's thoughts for two years put down to writing.
- Early Installment Weirdness: The presence of some of the PA staff such as Batjew and Safety Monkey in some of the early 2000's strips, as well as them having their own posts on the front page, something which hasnt been seen in years.
- Dual Wielding: With Ping-pong paddles.
- Elmuh Fudd Syndwome: This strip invokes it for laughs. Subverted since Gabe does not actually have Elmer Fudd Syndrome.
- Epic Fail: Gabe and Tycho use Kinect.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Gabe and Tycho may do horrible things to other people and one another, but they do in fact have limits.
- Even Nerds Have Standards: Gabe does not approve of his son LARPing.
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Tycho's explanation of a Mind Flayer.
- Expy: L. H. Franzibald appears to be some unholy combination of Tim Buckley and either L. Ron Hubbard (creator of Scientology) or R. A. Salvatore (creator of Drizz't)— mostly Tim (and yes it's based on an outfit he wore, sunglasses and all).
- Escalating Punchline: Nintendo's 2010 E3 announcement...
, New GoldenEye
, New Kirby
, New Metroid
, New Kid Icarus
, New 3D shit
, no glasses, Santa Claus
is real, he's in our booth, and he's giving out fucking handjobs.
Nintendo, bitches! We out.
- Eye Scream: THIS IS INCREDIBLE
- Fantastic Racism: Their "Spin-Off" series Automata is set in a 1920s noirish universe where racism is saved for robots rather than other humans.
- Filler Strip: The Sketchbook-like updates that happen when the two are at various conventions.
- Fingore: Gabe once legit cut his thumb clear to the bone without even realizing it. In the accompanying strip, Tycho was less than concerned.
- Flat Earth Atheist: Tycho knows that Gabe often hangs out with Jesus (literally; they play video games), but is an atheist.
- The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You: their "Error 500" message is as follows:
- Four-Fingered Hands: The norm, though subverted in one strip specifically for an extended pinky.
- Freudian Trio: Notably absent. Tycho typically fills the Superego role and Gabe is pure Id, but there is no Ego. The two are constantly fighting, and nobody cares enough to moderate. Their former roommate, Jim, was explained as filling the role before his death (canonically predating the comic's entire run).
- Fridge Brilliance: Parodied here, for a Take That at Halo.
- Funny Background Event: Inverted here where the event is in the foreground.
- Fun with Acronyms: While presenting dynamic story-telling in Ghost Recon Future Soldier, with the Variable Automated Global Intrigue Narrative Agent.
- For Gabe's "Gamers Against Exercise" initiative, he had T-shirts printed out. This one may not be so quick to catch on, though.note
- Gadgeteer Genius: Their cat, apparently. Earlier strips had Tycho and Gabe with some extremely futuristic device, with no explanation other than "The cat helped".
- Gagging on Your Words: Gabe in this strip.
- GIFT: The Trope Namer.
- Gilligan Cut: One covering twelve years and an Art Shift.
- Girl-on-Girl Is Hot: Heavily implied here.
- Glowing Eyes of Doom: Often seen when the characters, especially Tycho, are angry. Here's just one of many examples.
- Godwin's Law: Tycho runs afoul of this.
- Gonk: A somewhat more "realistic" drawing of the authors, though exaggerated for comedic effect.
- Go Ye Heroes, Go and Die: The motto of the Lookouts in the eponymous strip is "May We Die In The Forest".
- Groin Attack: Here, here, here and here.
- Gross-Up Close-Up: Gabe's mouth is not a pretty sight.
- Grumpy Bear: Tycho.
- Guest Strip: Rare enough to stand out; one example (necessary because of Gabe's swine flu) was done by Bill Amend.
- Handy Feet (Skilled Feet): Gabe is pointed out to have monkey-like feet in one strip.
- Happy Ending Massage: This strip.
- Heel Face Door Slam: Lampshaded here.
- Hell Is That Noise: The Patapon soundtrack apparently.
- Heroic BSOD: Tycho goes into one when he sees an ad for a place called "Gamez N Flix", which made the always elegant Tycho go mad.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: Tycho and Gabe, because they seem to spend a lot more time with each other than with their wives and children, and their periodic forays into sexual experimentation never seem to lead them together.
- In fact, whenever one of them is stripped down to his skivvies or less, the other is outright disgusted.
- Seems to apply to the series creators, too. In case we needed any confirmation, Jerry described Mike in a news post as "He's not my friend; he's more like my arm". He does jokingly make fun of this trope in one newspost where he mentions that "he and Jerry are not together, and only rarely have sex.
- He Who Fights Nerds: "Look at yourself. Look at what you've become."
- Hilariously Abusive Childhood: Tycho is occasionally mentioned to have had one.
- Hold Your Hippogriffs: Gabe gets pissed off at one of the Star Wars Expanded Universe's worst examples.
- Homoerotic Dream:
- How the Character Stole Christmas
- I Call It "Vera": EB Games management in Penny Arcade is BAD ASS!
- I Know Mortal Kombat: Parodied here and here.
- I Like Those Odds: "This ain't really fair now, is it? I mean... there's only two of them."
- Imagine Spot
- Impossible Item Drop: Spoofed in this comic.
- Informed Obscenity: One strip showed Microsoft using the Precog-system from Minority Report to predict words that are about to become profanities. The word that gets pulled down is 'Ham Doctor'.
- Interspecies Romance: Sexy, sexy giraffes. Also, jellyfish, birds and aliens.
: How do you know this super hot ostrich is from my
- Irony: The team hates game piracy, but both the real and comic Tycho openly admit to torrenting TV shows. And yes, they're self-aware.
- Jesus Is Way Cool: And also "fucking metal". He likes hanging out and playing video games, brings great food to Thanksgiving dinner, and buys christmas presents for his friends.
- Just One More Level: World Of Warcrack reclaims Gabe as he knew it would. (Eventually Tycho succumbed as well.)
- "Just So" Story: What the tooth fairy does with teeth.
- Kill It with Fire: Effectively the MO of the Gabe's Dungeons & Dragons wizard Jim Darkmagic (of the New Hampshire Darkmagics) in their podcast on the Wizards of the Coast website. Scorching Burst was used to set fire to everything from goblins to zombies to vampires to berserkers to priests to Binwin Bronzebottom, the party's Dwarven Fighter.
- Last Name Basis: Gabe's first name is Johnathan, but this is of course rarely used.
- Least Rhymable Word: Acquiesce.
- Leave the Camera Running: The guys have described their pacing as a comic adaptation of this idea; many strips have punchlines in the second panel, and the frame will simply stay on the characters a little too long. The third panel will either be a One-Two Punchline, Overly Long Gag, or Reaction Shot
- Less Embarrassing Term: Doubly subverted in this strip where Gabe takes offence to his belt-mounted carrying bag being called a fanny pack, but then calling the second bag he's wearing a fanny pack.
- Life Embellished
- Limited Wardrobe
- Looming Silhouette of Rage: Found here, along with a Shadow Discretion Shot.
- Lovecraft Lite: Several Eldritch Abomination like beings exists and are taken lightly.
- Luke Nounverber: Jim Darkmagic (of the New Hampshire Darkmagics)
- Man on Fire: "I'm not sure that's an effigy."
- Merchandise-Driven: Lampshaded. See The Merch, above.
- Mercy Kill: As seen in The Unhorse.
Game: First select the pistol, and then, select your horse.
- Gabe pulls this on Sonic in "A Ring And A Prayer" by shooting him in the head, at the latters own request.
- Mermaid Problem: Addressed quite directly here.
- MST: Admonishments, found here.
- Multiple Choice Form Letter: Tycho writes one comic this way as he wants to write a comic about the E3 convention before he attends. It results in some pretty hilarious Mad Libs Dialogue.
- My God, What Have I Done?: The first part of the story arc Ripped From Today's Headlines has Tycho accidentally killing his wife when trying out a move from Splinter Cell, and feeling bad for it.
Tycho: Oh my god. Oh my god. Please don't leave me!
- Named After Somebody Famous: Tycho Brahe.
- Nerf Arm: The Cardboard Tube Samurai, which has spawned more than a few instances of the deadly tube showing up in some games.
- Never Say That Again: Gabe evoked this response from Tycho.
- Nightmare Fetishist: Tycho is one. Apparently this trait extends to his real-life persona...
- Ninja Log: Though it is uncertain if Gabe can choose what he leaves behind or if "the log [is] an inextricable part of the process".
- No Sell: The main character from Sand has survived every attempt to execute him so far apparently without feeling any pain or taking any damage at all.
- Non-Indicative Name: See Species Surname below.
- Non-Lethal Warfare: Really weird, considering how often they do Sugar Apocalypses.
- No Medication for Me: Tycho spends a week off Lexapro, and is impressed with what he produced. There was the downside of "wrestling with demons of the mind" though. He contemplates this idea, in The Rant before rejecting it as misinformed. And even if the peaks are still attractive, they don't compensate for the troughs.
- Not What It Looks Like: Tycho jokingly asks if the stains on Gabe's pants are semen. Gabe rebuffs him him by saying these are his painting pants, for an autobiography... which he's painting entirely in his own semen.
- Odd Couple: The bread and butter shtick of the comic. Tycho mocks Gabe's ignorance, Gabe derides Tycho's pretensions. Rinse and repeat.
- Oh, Crap: Gabe tries out Minecraft and realises he's gotten into something very addictive:
- Online Alias: Annarchy is of the "hacker" variety. Many MMORPG strips use the "Xtreme Kool Letterz and numbers" variety.
- Our Monsters Are Different: Parodied with the works of L. H. Franzibald, where there are "Hermaphroditic Androgynite" Witchaloks and "Half-wolf, half android" Wolfoids.
- Out-Gambitted: A hilarious example.
- Out of Focus: Div. He still hangs around, and still occasionally gets lines, but the strip doesnt have much use for an alcoholic, obsolete piece of home entertainment hardware anymore.
- Overly Narrow Superlative: Here, Kolibri is described as "arguably the finest hummingbird-based shooter available for the 32X". This becomes something of a Running Gag during the early 2000's.
- Overprotective Dad: Anne's parents say she can't date boys until she's married. Wait, what? She also brings out the Overprotective Uncle in Tycho.
- Pals with Jesus: Quite literally. Jesus seems to swing by the house frequently and gets along well with Gabe. He's polite to Tycho, but apparently the writer's nonstop blasphemy and questionable morality has already doomed him to Hell.
- The Password Is Always Swordfish: When Gabe's Guild Wars 2 account is hacked, Tycho asks if he used the password "password" again.
Gabe: No. Jeez! I put in a four instead of an A. High security. See? Four isn't even a letter.
- Perfectly Cromulent Word: Killographic, used also in Real Life, and stuponfuicous.
- Such words are often used by Tycho when he writes the news posts that accompany comics.
- Perverse Sexual Lust: Displayed with "Polygonous Polygamy".
- Poke the Poodle: Tycho, here.
- Potty Failure: The result of Gabe wearing his pants backwards like Kris Kross. (see Answer Cut, listed above)
- The Power of Hate: Gabe tells Tycho, "I wish I could hate you to death." And then his nose starts bleeding.
- Pregnant Badass: Gabe's wife Kara, as least according to this post by Tycho:
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: Sometimes, Tycho's newsposts fly off into a world of imagination and word-crafting.
- 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: One for each of the duo.
- Real Life Writes the Plot: Where half of the stories and humor come from. A recent example being the July 1st, 2013 strip where Gabe insists on building a retro video game arcade in his and Tycho's garage. In real life, Mike Krahulik has been doing just that in his garage
- Red Eyes, Take Warning:
- Refuge in Audacity: Some of their more out-there content falls under this.
- Retconning the Wiki:
- The Rival: Scott Kurtz of PvP. In reality he has collaborated with the boys many times, but in the strip he inevitably gets dubbed 'Steve 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:
- 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.
- Second Law My Ass: The Fruit Fucker, and Div.
- Secret Santa: Organized by Div... except that the only name in the hat is 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.
- Serious Business: Ping-pong.
- Leaches into real life, as Penny Arcade Company frequently hosts ping-pong tournaments at their offices against game developers and reviewers. This has led to some instances of calling out that have backfired. Especially with regards to SOE.
- Also, Warcraft games. One of the strips has Gabe mentioning having a glass eye as the result of a Warcraft 2 game that got out of hand.
- Shadow Discretion Shot: Found here, along with a Looming Silhouette of Rage.
- Shell-Shocked Senior: Frank.
- Shoehorned First Letter: In this comic about Kirby.
- Single Issue Landlord: The premise of "That's so locust!"
- Single Malt Vision. A variant. Gabe starts seeing multiples of things not because he's drunk, but because he cut his hand open.
- Slasher Smile: Gabe gets a horrifying onenote when the comic's popularity happens to cause trouble for Ocean Marketing.
- Slice of Life: As the guys have started having families, these sort of strips have started to happen occasionally. An example.
- Snap Back: Quite frequently, what with the Negative Continuity.
- Snarky Nonhuman 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. It almost works on the clerk. And somehow works on Tycho.
- Species Surname: You'd think that Catsby was the dapper cat, yes, and thus the demon Twisp? Subverted.
- Spin-Off: By now, Penny Arcade has spun off a bunch of side projects. Some were jokes from the strip that took on lives of their own, others were the creators taking the chance to do something different:
- The Cardboard Tube Samurai, one of the oldest, got started when Gabe started waving a cardboard tube around like a katana, pretending he was a samurai. The character now gets pulled out whenever the creators feel like telling a serious samurai tale, never mind that the thing's made of cardboard.
- Twisp and Catsby was a Stylistic Suck Dada Comic mocking It's Not Supposed to Win Oscars. ("I'd bet you'd love to criticize that, wouldn't you, you Critics! But you can't." "It's not for you.") Ironically, fans loved them.
- Paint the Line, an Eighties Cold War Ping-Pong story.
- They eventually put together a event week where the strips were pitches for new projects, and the fans voted on what they'd focus on first: Lookouts, Automata, and Jim Darkmagic.
- 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.
- Staging an Intervention: In one comic ("Just When I Get Out"), Tycho assumes that his "friends" are staging an intervention. He makes an emotional confession of his drinking problem and of thinking that nobody cared, and is grateful and optimistic now that they're rallying around him. Actually, they're there to pressure him into something else, and explicitly don't care about his problem.
- 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.
- Superhuman Transfusion: After a car accident on a snowy mountain pass:
: "Check it out! Spider-Man
gave me his blood! I got a blood transfusion from Spider-Man!"
- Suspiciously Specific Denial: From this post by Tycho:
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.
- Swapped Roles: For the Rule of Funny. Gabe plays the Straight Man while Tycho does a faux Cloud Cuckoo Lander impression, but they immediately revert back by the third panel.
- 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.
- Earlier than that, they created rampant plagiarist and egotistical hack author L. H. Franzibald as a facsimile of him. (examples: 1, 2)
- "For Jack Thompson, because Jack Thompson won't."
- But subverted here - "I don't know what the fuck you're talking about."
- PAX 2011 was criticized for allowing Duke Nukem Forever booth babes (who were playing, more or less, actual women from the game), on the grounds that it was demeaning and objectifying. PAX 2012 was criticized for asking a scantily-clad official cosplayer playing the main character of Lollipop Chainsaw to tone down her outfit, on the grounds that the organizers were threatened by female sexuality or were "anti-fun" or were hypocritical because they allowed scantily-clad cosplayers. Mike's response was not positive.
- Interestingly, the commentary for the print version of a 2000 strip insulting Daily Radar suggests a lampshading on the petty and somewhat ineffective nature of this trope.
Take that, gaming website! We certainly showed you not to, well, do the jobs that you get paid to do, I guess. Anyway, you were shown!
- The Talk: Unsurprisingly, Gabe screws it up.
Tycho: You told him a wizard did it?
Gabe: I don't know! I panicked!
Tycho: My mom told me my body was rotting because God had abandoned me.
- Tears of Blood: In response to a slideshow.
- They Changed It, Now It Sucks: In-universe; Gabe disapproves of D&D Essentials:
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:
- Toilet Humor: Quite a few strips, but here are some of the most notable examples.
- Also, in this strip, Tycho appears to be sitting on the toilet.
- Too Dumb to Live: Geez, Tycho. Did you have to use a sharp knife to cut a banana?
- Too Much Information: A common complaint in the strip. To boot...
- True Companions: Gabriel is not my friend, he's more like my arm.
- True Meaning of Christmas: It's not actually that complicated.
Jesus: "Christmas is like my birthday, only instead of buying presents for me, you buy them for all your friends."
- Trust Me, I'm an X: "It's okay, I'm a dentist."
- Two Gamers on a Couch: The Ur Example. However, as the comic goes on they're rarely sitting on the couch unless they're actually talking about the game in front of them. Instead, they'll be shopping, raking leaves, lying in prison beds, dumping a body, emerging from hideous cocoons...
- Unexpectedly Realistic Gameplay: There was a strip where Gabriel experienced this problem with Tomb Raider (2013), trying to figure out a way to get across a gap when Tycho suggests simply jumping over, which works, to which he responds "I don't think this is a puzzle room".
- The Villain Sucks Song: Open Mic Night.
- Virtual Danger Denial: As this strip shows, there was initially some reluctance to deal with Real Money Trade related scams, thanks to a perception that the goods weren't "real" anyway.
- Vomit Indiscretion Shot: Combined with Overly Long Gag in this strip about Gabe having motion sickness when playing Mirror's Edge.
- Wall of Text: I Hope You Like Text. The comic strip is a Shout-Out to Back to the Future.
- What Measure Is a Non-Human?: The basis of the Automata storyline
- When I Was Your Age: Gabe rants about the Anti-Frustration Features incorporated into Pokťmon X and Y, such as getting the rollerblades before the first gym, and the new Exp Share.
- Wild Mass Guessing: Combined with Intercontinuity Crossover here.
- With Friends Like These...: Gabe and Tycho.
- X Days Since: here.
- Xtreme Kool Letterz: Tycho does not like these.