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Penny Arcade

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Here are your 2009 PAX Omeganauts


Aug 07
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
PAX has revealed the 20 randomly selected contestants for the Omegathon competition. Over the course of PAX 09, the contestants will be battling it out in six games: ROUND 1: Mario Kart ® WiiROUND 2: Bookworm ® Advent...
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Penny Arcade's Cardboard Tube Samurai a playable in Tekken 6


Jun 20
// Dale North
The Twitter feed tekkenbob, the official feed for Tekken 6, dropped an interesting twitpic today. Along with a tweet mentioning that he "got a sneak peek at something I can't talk about yet" was the above picture. W...
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Penny Arcade scholarship open for 2009-2010


May 06
// Dale North
The generous folks at Penny Arcade have just announced that their scholarship is now open and accepting applications for the 2009-2010 academic year. The Penny Arcade Scholarship was established in 2007 to give a $10,000 rewa...
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Child's Play CD 2008: great music for a cause


Dec 15
// Dale North
The Child's Play charity was created by Penny Arcade founders Mike Krahulik and Jerry Holkins back in 2003 to combat the negative stereotypes assigned to gamers by the media. Their goal, aside from combating these stereotypes...
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Gabe and Tycho will appear at New York Comic Con as guests of honor


Dec 11
// Colette Bennett
New York Comic Con is already the place to be if you have the hots for toys and comics -- but what about games? This year not only will feature Penny Arcade celebs Gabe and Tycho as the featured guests of honor, but also is b...
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Get your Child's Play charity auction dinner tickets before December 5th


Dec 02
// Dale North
It's almost that time again. The Child's Play charity hosts a swank auction and dinner event this time of year every year to raise money for the chilluns. The whole thing goes down this year on December 9th at the Washington ...

Destructoid review: Penny Arcade Episode 2

Oct 31 // Conrad Zimmerman
Penny Arcade Adventures: On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness Episode Two (360 [reviewed], Mac, PC)Developed by Hothead GamesPublished by Hothead GamesReleased October 28th, 2008 Penny Arcade's story picks up more or less where the last episode left off. The giant Fruit F*cker is still on the loose, with Gabe and Tycho hot on its heels. The best lead they have lies with a man determined to have invented the prototype for these infernal devices, a scientist named Crozier. Unfortunately for our heroes, his current address is the Cloying Stench Sanitarium.Very little is provided in the way of exposition here. While I personally can't imagine newcomers arriving in the second installment, those who would choose to do so will likely miss many references to past events. Any allusion to what has come before is glossed over in the most perfunctory way. It's perfectly playable without prior experience but it would provide the player with an inadequate picture of the New Arcadia setting and the characters who populate it. Events in Episode Two are considerably less absurd than in its preceding game, which is a bit disappointing. The plot feels much more pedestrian and, while there are moments of creativity that border on baffling, things never get quite as strange. Holkins' writing is often very good, but the dialogue and descriptions often lack the same punch they did last time and rely a bit more on expletives to carry the humor. Puzzles were pretty few and far between last time around and an effort has been made to introduce more of them. While there are certainly some fetch quests at work, there are a few instances where you will be expected to give a bit of thought to what you are doing. As before, none are exceptionally difficult to figure out but they are pretty clever at times. Just as in the previous installment, combat is akin to an Active Time Battle system. Each of the three characters has three meters that fill over time, giving access to their abilities. Item use fills up first, followed by a basic attack and a special attack. A special attack will launch you into a character-specific mini-game to attempt to maximize the amount of hurting it inflicts. When two (or all three) characters have filled their special attack meter, they can (sans mini-game) execute a devastating team-up attack for massive damage on a single foe.  The mini-games are improved upon a fair bit, especially Gabe's. What was previously a pretty dull exercise in button-mashing has become a timing game with commands that must be executed within a small window at an increasing pace. Your character's game involves pressing a button when an spinning arrow lies within a target area, whereupon it moves back in the opposite direction towards the target on the opposite side of a dial and accelerates in speed. Tycho's remains largely unchanged, apart from a shooting range aesthetic. This system worked well in Episode One and it remains largely unchanged here. Enemies still have assorted resistances and weaknesses to assorted forms of attack. There are a couple of new items to meet the higher hit point counts of enemies (which are matched to your character's level fifteen beginnings) but, as before, you probably won't have too much need of them to complete the game at its base difficulty. The enemies itself are what I have a problem with. They suffer from the same issue that the story itself does. Gone are the mimes, hobos and talking trash cans which were so charming the first episode. They've been replaced by asylum patients, wealthy aristocrats and other manner of common, boring foes. They're really quite disappointing by comparison. For those who found the first game to be a little too easy, additional difficulty settings have been added to this installment. Difficulty can be changed at any time from the pause menu. The default level feels even easier than the previous time around, so gamers looking to challenge themselves a bit may want to kick things up a notch if they find themselves getting bored. After completing the game, a brutal, "Insane" mode unlocks. Success on this difficulty requires mastery of counterattack timing, as the most basic of enemies can dish out considerable damage even when blocked. Item use also becomes a necessity and the whole affair is far more strategic in nature. Insane mode demonstrates a depth of combat that the standard game fails to convey simply by providing a need for all of the tools at your disposal. New features are somewhat minimal, but useful. The Startling Developments office now has costumes available on the coat rack which convey bonuses. Of the three, one is only available to players who have completed Episode One while a second is earned during the course of the game. The final outfit can be acquired from chests littered through New Arcadia, chests which will only open in Insane Mode, giving a reason other than masochism to attempt the feat. Another handy addition is a checklist that allows you to follow your progress. It keeps track of statistics such as total number of kills, overkill bonuses earned and collectibles acquired. Nearly all of the information it provides can be found elsewhere, but it makes for a good quick reference as you hurtle towards the inevitable conclusion to make sure you haven't missed anything.The best new feature, however, is the ability to select from multiple environmental objects to interact with. When you are standing in the vicinity of more than one person or object, you are given the option of cycling through them and select the specific thing you want. This is incredibly useful, as it prevents you from inadvertantly inspecting something you've already seen and allows the designers to cram in even more stuff to check out. While On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness Episode Two makes for a better game in the technical sense, the somewhat ho-hum story drags it down. It's still a good game but falls a bit short when it comes to the elements which made the first so entertaining. It's a bit early to conjecture that the team may be running out of steam and I'm still hopeful for the future of the series but this is not as strong of a release. Let's just hope that Episode Three makes a better effort.Score: 7 (7s are solid games that definitely have an audience. Might lack replay value, could be too short or there are some hard-to-ignore faults, but the experience is fun.)
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When Penny Arcade Adventures: On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness Episode One was released, I eagerly gobbled it right up. It was brash, absurd and hilarious, exactly the sort of lampooning that I feel many RPGs which tak...

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Penny Arcade Adventures Episode Two dated for October 29th


Oct 22
// Colette Bennett
I quite enjoyed the first installment in the Penny Arcade Adventures: On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness series, my only beef being that it wasn't long enough (but good episodic content never feels long enough). PSN owne...
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Penny Arcade's Prince of Persia comic launches today, a total tease


Oct 15
// Nick Chester
An online Prince of Persia comic, drawn by the good folks over at Penny Arcade, has gone live today. The Web-based, 32-page comic book will be updated with new pages daily, leading up to the game's December 2 release. At it s...
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Penny Arcade Episode 2 has gone gold


Oct 02
// Conrad Zimmerman
[video]105968:456[/video]Awesomesode indeed!Hothead games has announced that the Windows, Mac and Linux versions of Penny Arcade: On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness Episode 2 has gone gold. No release date has been revea...
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Penny Arcade Adventures Episode 2 coming soon, have some new screens


Sep 01
// Colette Bennett
The boys at Penny Arcade know how to capture both our hearts and our expendable income. After hosting the best open-to-the-public gaming event on the West Coast, it seems a perfect time to showcase some screens from the next ...
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PAX 08: Jerry and Mike class up their hustle


Aug 29
// Colette Bennett
[video]101722:256[/video]If you did not attend PAX or the opening keynote last year, you may have heard word of how Penny Arcade rock stars Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik came out on stage -- to the tune of a little song you...
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PAX schedule is up and Destructoid is on it


Aug 12
// Dale North
The 2008 Penny Arcade Expo is still a couple of weeks away, but it seems that this event is all anyone can talk about here lately. And who can blame them? It's going to be an exciting event, packed with nerdity, Ghostbusters,...
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PAX 08: This is the map of the floor, plan accordingly


Jul 29
// Nick Chester
It's with squeals of delight that I present to you the floor plan for this year's Penny Arcade Expo, set to take place August 29 through August 31. Go look at the calendar ... that's soon! Looking at the map, I have to wonder...
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Comic-Con 08: Liveblogging the Penny Arcade panel


Jul 25
// Niero Desu
It's all said and done, but you can check out the archived logs after the jump. A few photos from the conference and a snapshot of the exclusive Comic-Con poster are also attached.If you missed it, I'd like to announce that t...
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Penny Arcade Adventures coming to PSN


Jul 23
// Colette Bennett
I loved Penny Arcade Adventures: On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness so much that as soon as I finished it, I promptly went back to the title screen and started a second playthrough with hardly a second thought. The type ...
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Penny Arcade Adventures comes to Steam, gets new achievements


Jun 11
// Colette Bennett
So, Penny Arcade Adventures? We liked it. Quite a bit, actually. However, the price and the game's length (I finished in about 8 hours) were somewhat debated after people plunked down their hard-earned dollars for it. Luckily...
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Penny Arcade Adventures takes the honors for highest grossing XBLA debut


May 27
// Colette Bennett
Despite extensive bitching all over the internet that the price of the first chapter of Penny Arcade's new serial title, Penny Arcade Adventures, was too pricey for their pocketbooks, it seems most people got over their crabb...

Destructoid review: Penny Arcade Adventures Episode One

May 22 // Anthony Burch
Penny Arcade Adventures: On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness, Episode One (PC, Mac, Linux, XBLA Reviewed)Developed by Hothead GamesReleased on May 21st, 2008I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised when I finally put down Precipice of Darkness after a nonstop eight-hour playthrough last night. I expected it would be reasonably amusing, and I'd hoped the gameplay would be at least passable; I wasn't expecting one of the funniest, most oddly enjoyable XBLA games I've yet played, but that's exactly what I got.The Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness follows Tycho, Gabe, and a customizable Penny Arcade-ified avatar in your own likeness. After Fruit Fucker Prime crushes your house beneath his iron feet, your character runs off with Gabe and Tycho (founders and only members of the Startling Developments Detective Agency) to unearth evil conspiraces, solve phantasmagoric cases, and beat mimes to death. Upon starting up the game, you'll run into the character creator which, while nowhere near as robust as I would have preferred, has a much larger effect on your enjoyment of the game than you might expect (especially if you're a PA fan). Your avatar, in addition to showing up in the regular 3D gameplay, also appears in the gorgeous 2D cut scenes and dialogue windows, right alongside Gabe and Tycho. As you can see from the various images of my Penny Arcade avatar sprinkled throughout this post, your customizable character fits perfectly with the other images and, depending on how happy you are with the customization choices you're given, can look awfully badass.But therein lies the problem: there's a definite possibility, given the modest number of customization choices, that you won't be able to render a version of yourself you're happy with. I'm reasonably happy with my own avatar (though I'd contend that my nose is much less penis-shaped in real life), but my attempts to create PA versions of my close friends and family were sometimes in vain: in the world of on the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness, there are evidently no blacks or overweight people. There are only three different kinds of torso clothing the player can wear (perfectly content to emulate David Tennant, I settled on a brown trenchcoat), and almost all of the noses players can choose from are startlingly huge. There is, sad to say, a significant potential that players might not be able to create a modestly true-to-life version of themselves. The players who can, however, will find the cut scenes to be nothing less than visually spectacular. To watch a gorgeously animated version of myself running to and from danger right alongside Tycho and Gabe inspired a sort of egocentric happiness in my gut that I haven't felt in a long, long time. It's different from creating an avatar in Mass Effect, who just looks like a slightly uncanny valley-ish version of yourself; Mike Krahulik's art style leaves just enough room for inference that I often felt my player looked exactly like me, and was just pleased as punch to see myself inserted so seamlessly into the world of New Arcadia. Jerry Holkins ("Tycho") wrote all the dialogue for the game, and it shows: the words are often several syllables longer than they need to be, highbrow comedy is frequently and lovingly mixed with lowbrow, and every other word is in italics. If you like Penny Arcade's sense of humor, you'll laugh out loud on innumerable occasions throughout the game's eight-hour running time.Where actual gameplay is concerned (yes, I was getting to that), the game consists of a streamlined, quasi-turn-based RPG combat system the likes of which I've never quite seen before. It's not that the combat is anything revolutionary; it's that it's so intuitive, so accessible, and so involving that it ends up being more than the sum of its parts. Each character can perform three actions: they can summon an item (A), execute a regular attack (X), or perform a special attack (Y). These commands can only be used once their circular icons light up after an amount of time (modified by the player's speed rating), and only if the commands below it are lit up as well. In other words, the item circle lights up first, then the regular attack, then the special attack; you can't use a special attack until the regular attack command is available, and you can't use a regular attack until the item command is available. Because of this, the battle system is very much based around time management: do you wait a little longer in order to pull off a devastating special attack, or do you go for a regular bludgeoning while you've got the chance? There are no limit breaks, no mana, no action points and no item shops; you can use your special attacks as frequently as you want, you've just got to make time for them. You can find the items you'll need through combat, or by whacking various boxes and trash cans scattered throughout the world.  Speaking of special attacks, each of the three characters' unique moves are activated in the form of a minigame -- Gabe's requires the player to hammer the A button repeatedly before making a final, timed button press, Tycho's is basically DDR with the face buttons, and your character's is a weird reflex-based sort of thing. These little minigames help keep the player totally involved in the combat, rewarding skill and good reflexes with damage bonuses. It's sort of like what you might have seen in Super Mario RPG for the SNES, only cranked up to eleven.As intuitive and unique as the battle system is, however, it suffers from a rather irritating flaw which will present itself about halfway through the campaign: the difficulty curve. Or rather, the difficulty rollercoaster. Once the player is let out into the world, the fighting is satisfyingly difficult; the Fruit Fuckers will eviscerate the player rather quickly unless he manages to time his blocks correctly and use the right status-affecting items. Eventually, the player learns the skills and strategies necessary to overcome these enemies, and is ready to face progressively more difficult challenges. The problem is, these challenges never arise. The game is very hard near the beginning, then gets progressively easier until its midpoint, at which time the difficulty almost becomes laughable. For instance, you do a lot of backtracking in the game, and though you'll be sent back to somewhere like Hobo Alley five hours into the campaign, the enemies will be just as weak or tough as they were at the two-hour mark despite the fact that your characters have levelled up at least three or four times in the meantime. Once the player's party becomes so powerful that none of the regular enemies present a threat, the latter half of the game begins to plod a bit as the party runs to and fro, engaging in too-easy battles and collecting quest items. It's still hilarious and the combat remains fun and involving, but that wonderful challenge -- that nerve-wracking stress and intensity that colored the first hour or so of playtime -- is missing. Only when the player reaches the final boss does any sense of true difficulty finally return...but by then it's a bit too late. I could nitpick at a few smaller problems Precipice has (I'd really, really like to control the camera, or indeed move it at all, during fights), but to do that is to miss the point. Penny Arcade Adventures: On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness, Episode One is a hilarious, immersive, and goddamned fun gameplay package. If you're thinking about whether to get it for the PC or 360, I'd suggest the latter; as you can probably see from the PC demo, mindlessly clicking the ground over and over just to move from place to place can get pretty old, pretty fast. Not to mention that seeing my own Penny Arcadeified self on an HDTV gave me a three-hour erection.The $20 price tag may seem a bit steep compared to other XBLA games, but we're talking about eight solid hours of gameplay, here. That's even longer than Portal. Unless you don't find Penny Arcade remotely funny, or if you demand that your action-RPGs be really deep and really challenging, then I'd highly recommend Episode One. Here's looking forward to episode two.Score: 9.0 (Fantastic. Negligible flaws. Otherwise very, very good; a fine example of excellence in the genre.)
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I'd like to start by explaining my opinion of Penny Arcade as a comic strip, because your enjoyment of On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness will be, either partly or in whole, dependent on whether or not you buy into Jerr...

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Penny Arcade promotes their game with flamebait from their biggest critic


May 21
// Niero Desu
Denis Duckfat hates Penny Arcade ... and they're loving it. The ads (see gallery below) are the direct opposite of what you'd expect -- instead of using positive review quotes from gaming publications (11/10! -Cashwh0re), the...
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PAX 2008 to feature Ken Levine, Jonathan Coulton, and the OneUps


May 20
// Dale North
We had a blast at PAX 2007, and Destructoid is already gearing up for a repeat performance in August of this year. The guest list is also looking pretty hot for PAX 2008.Ars Technica reports that BioShock creative director, 2...
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Penny Arcade Adventures hits XBLA next week!


May 13
// Colette Bennett
We've been talking about Penny Arcade's upcoming game On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness since way back last year, long enough ago that I had actually forgotten about it a little. After all, six months in real-life time ...
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Penny Arcade announce PAX 10, an indie games showcase


Mar 03
// Colette Bennett
Last year, the Destructoid team felt like PAX offered everything we could possibly want when it came to having fun at an event from screenings of classic (if slightly painful) gaming films to the opportunity to hurl threats a...
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PAX 2008 tickets on sale now


Jan 29
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Tickets for the Penny Arcade Expo have just gone on sale. This year's show takes place from August 29th to August 31st and three-day pass tickets are going for $40 right now for the early birds.Last year's PAX was epic. It wa...
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Child's Play beats their $1 million goal


Dec 31
// Dale North
The videogame chairty Child's Play had a really good year. It seemed like gamers and game makers did their best to get behind the cause, and that has paid off. The Child's Play Web page reports that they were able t...
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Cheap Ass Gamer raises over $17,000 for Child's Play in a week!


Dec 18
// Dale North
Cheapy D and the fine folks at Cheap Ass Gamer have managed to pull together over $17,000 for videogame charity Child's Play. They started their own CAG Fund for Child's Play in the hopes of raising $10,000, but now Cheap D s...
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Child's Play Charity Dinner pulls in over $225,000


Dec 17
// Dale North
If you didn't know already, Child's Play is a charity organized by the fine gents behind web comic Penny Arcade back in 2003. Mike Krahulik and Jerry Holkins created it help the kids of the Seattle Children's Hospital, but it...
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Charity auction for an epic date with an Epic Games programmer


Dec 07
// Dale North
Are you a charitable female that resides in the greater Raleigh/Durham area of North Carolina? Are you free on the night of December 9th? No, I'm not trying to pick you up -- I'm trying to hook you up with an Epic Games progr...
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Penny Arcade, IGN enter verbal kumite, provide idiotic filler for Ol' Nexy


Nov 28
// Earnest Cavalli
There's nothing I like more than kinky sex in dangeous situations, like fellatio in a lion's cage or bondage play with jars of scorpions and firecrackers. Since that has nothing to do with this story though, let's assume I sa...
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Child's Play charity drive officially open


Nov 02
// Dale North
One of the coolest charities around (and the world's largest game charity) has just kicked off for 2007.If you didn't know already, Child's Play is a charity organized by the fine gents behind web comic Penny Arcade back in 2...

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