Penny Arcade: Question Answered

March 13, 2011 at 1:03 pm (Book Commentary) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )




This was not the post I planned for today.

But then I was in the library Friday and a book jumped out at me; a pretty, pink book with Unicorns. How could I refuse the temptation to take it home to peruse?


I read it in an evening (it is March – there is nothing interesting to watch on TV.)


At the back of the book there is a question and answer section and I felt compelled to answer one of the questions – thus this post.

What do you think when you encounter non-gamers who are fans of your comic?

M. I think, Whaaaaaa?
J. …And I say, “Boogedawaah?”
M. I say, “Really? Then what do you get from it?”
J. Exactly … what they tend to say is that, if you don’t follow games, a lot of that stuff is just like a non sequitur. It just makes it more surreal if you don’t understand it.
(p. 115)

The Splendid Magic of Penny Arcade
The 11 1/2 Anniversary Edition
By Mike Krahulik and Jerry Holkins
N. Y.: Ballantine Books, 2010

I am a non-gamer. I read Penny Arcade three times a week which is when a new comic is posted. So, Mike and Jerry, here’s why I read your comic.

I am not a gamer. I am barely a geek. I am, in fact, a gray headed, middle-aged, middle class woman.

I am not who I look like. Does that sentence even make sense? I mean, I look normal but I feel different. In truth, I’m a bit strange and kinda goth, a musical buff and a library stalker.

I have eclectic tastes. How do I differentiate? What are the dichotomies? How far apart are The Princess Bride and the Terminator Universe? Is Heart‘s family that different from Burke‘s? As far as books, movies and comics go, all I ask is that you tell me a story that holds up within its own universe/mythology.

I have this unquenchable thirst for information, perhaps even, for knowledge. How much culture do I absorb from the ether because I read EVERYTHING?

I read – everything, any thing. If there are words, I will try to read them. I’m a fan of the strange and the weird. I’ve been reading horror and fantasy since I was a child; Ray Bradbury, Jane Yolen, LeGuin and all the Kings – Stephen, Tabitha, Joe and Owen. I also enjoy faery stories, mysteries and historical works among many other genres.

How do I know what Samurai/Ninja are? What is an Orc? What is d & d? Can dragons fly and why do they keep kidnapping princesses? Science Fiction, fantasy, all things fey, mystery, murder and mayhem reign rampant in most computer games and references as well as in the words I read elsewhere.

Look at the Penny Arcade top keywords list. How many words do you recognize at a glance? I recognize more than I thought I would. Clicking on the links though doesn’t always get me to a comic that I understand.

For example, when I click on the word candy, I get taken to The Breaking Point which was first posted on Oct. 15, 2008. Do I get the whole joke? No, but I can relate to the premise of having to explain Halloween costumes and parents getting between you and treasured candy. The gaming reference is incidental, for now, for me, to the joke.

I can live with not knowing everything because it gives me something to look forward to learning. I anticipate that gaming may be in my future, as well as many other geeky endeavors, like conventions.

I am a late majority adopter (scroll down). The person who introduced me to Penny Arcade is an early adopter. She’s introduced me to many new and fun technologies. I have another connection, as well, to Penny Arcade. I read Whatever, John Scalzi‘s blog – he wrote the amusing foreword to this pink unicorn clad book.

Yes, Mike and Jerry, I am a non gamer. I admire the self confidence it takes many gamer/geek convention goers to dress up and embrace this strange, new world but I’m not there yet. Maybe, one day you’ll see a little old gray-headed lady playing games at PAX and it’ll be me. I already tried LARPing, enjoy reading the musings at Epbot and love the mish mash of technology and Victoriana that is Steampunk. Is gaming next?

P.S. For further reading about this book, by gamers, go here and here.

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