There are lots of good questions in the forum and since only ten of them will get picked for the interview I figured I’d answer a few here.
Do you feel like you’re leading a fulfilling, satisfying life that you could continue indefinitely? Personally, I’d love to play games all day, but I think that after a time I would become bored with it all. (I know you do more than play games, as comics and rants don’t write themselves, but would I be right in guessing that you spend the majority of your time playing games?)
I guess it’s easy to look at Penny Arcade and think that all we do is play videogames all day. Gaming is certainly a big part of our lives. At any given time Tycho and I are probably ass deep in three or four different titles. We have said before that Penny Arcade is a full time job for us and that’s true. What Tycho and I have done over the course of five years is essentially start our own small business. Not only that but we have had to invent a system for making money from our business because no one else had ever done it before. Now PA is a business that employees Tycho, myself and two other people. That sort of enterprise requires a lot of work on our parts to maintain. I am not looking for sympathy or anything, the fact is I have the best job in the world. It is a job though and if you were to ask me how well I liked it one morning while I was up to my fucking ears in QuickBooks I might tell you to fuck off. Penny Arcade is my job and I treat it like a job. We have never missed an update in five years and we have never just posted a picture of a dog on skies and said we were too busy or tired to make a comic. This is my job and I take it very seriously.
How do you respond to the contention that comics cannot stay focused on the topic of games?
Kurtz has made the point many times (as I’m sure he gets a fair amount of email concerning his departure from video-game-centric comics), but you guys seem to have no problem coming up with poignant information for both the cartoon and the posts.
Sure I think a comic strip can stay focused on the topic of games. You have to be a fucking nut about video games but you can do it. Kurtz is a great guy and I like him a lot but he isn’t a gamer in the same way that Tycho and I are. He plays the occasional game in the same way that a guy might play softball on the weekends with his buddies. It’s something he does now and then when he has a bit of free time or he wants to relax. Of course he’s not going to be able to write a comic strip about nothing but games on a daily basis. He simply doesn’t have enough material. Tycho and I on the other hand spend nearly every second of free time we have playing games. It is our hobby, our job, our recreation, our you name it. It’s what we do. Scott’s said on his web site that he just doesn’t play as many games as he used to. There is nothing wrong with that but it doesn’t mean that gaming as a concept can’t sustain a comic strip. It just means it can’t sustain his.
I find, as another online cartoonist, that it’s tough to concentrate on my own work if I read other online comics. Is one more of an online comic fan than the other, and does Gabe put on his blinders when he’s working?
Tycho certainly reads more web comics than I do. The only comics I read on a regular basis are PvP and MacHall. Both of those I read mainly because I appreciate the artwork so much. Usually what happens is I’ll go for a few months and then remember that I haven’t looked at diesel sweeties or Real Life or something like that for a while and I’ll go and hit their archive.
How do you see yourselves affecting the industry? Either from a consumer point of view, or a developer point of view.Would either of you ever pursue more developer-oriented positions in the industry as writer and artist, respectively? What do you think your dream company/project/genre would be to work on?
I would certainly love to be involved in the creation of a game at some point. Doing concept art or something along those lines would be a blast. Like I said above though, I already have the best job ever. I’m my own boss and I don’t have anyone telling me what to write or draw. Working for the man again in any capacity would probably be a tough switch. As far as a dream project, I think it would be designing characters for a Capcom or SNK fighting game. That would be a dream come true.
Okay, now I gotta get back to Otogi.