20 Years of Penny Arcade

A lot can happen in 20 years. Two friends can start a webcomic that finds an audience of loyal supporters who turn it into something bigger than they ever imagined it could be.

No matter where in that timeline you came on board, we have nothing but gratitude towards you for sticking with us. Thank you.

See The Journey

1998

This is where it all began, with a comic about SiN, a game that remains a cultural icon to this day.

The First Comic - Nov 18th, 1998

The SIN Of Long Load Times
The SIN Of Long Load Times - Panel 1
The SIN Of Long Load Times - Panel 2
The SIN Of Long Load Times - Panel 3

The Industry

This was a pretty monstrous year for gamers. Pokémon? Ocarina Of Time? Half-Life? StarCraft?!

1999

A Very Special Penny Arcade was published, in which Mike proposed to his girlfriend Kara O'Donnal. Nineteen years and two children later, we've all gotten used to calling her Kara Krahulik.

Gabe's proposal Comic

A VERY Special Penny Arcade! - Panel 1
A VERY Special Penny Arcade! - Panel 2
A VERY Special Penny Arcade! - Panel 3

Thomas Kemper

This was the first appearance of Penny Arcade's resident kitty, Thomas Kemper, who went on to be the star of many popular pin sets.

Thrashin’ Thresh
Thrashin’ Thresh - Panel 1
Thrashin’ Thresh - Panel 2
Thrashin’ Thresh - Panel 3

The Watch

The watch has been responsible for more character deaths than any other item. This was the first time the coveted object appeared. In recent years, a real life recreation of it has been the prize at gigantic PAX events.

Watch out!
Watch out! - Panel 1
Watch out! - Panel 2
Watch out! - Panel 3

Jerry Draws A Comic

Drawn by Jerry himself this first attempt to name the stars of Penny Arcade met with limited success. Eventually, we settled on Gabe & Tycho.

Names At Last!
Names At Last! - Panel 1
Names At Last! - Panel 2
Names At Last! - Panel 3

The Industry

The Dreamcast, too sweet & beautiful for this world, was released.

2000

Penny Arcade accidentally sells their company & publishing rights.

Whoops

(╯ಠ_ಠ)╯︵ ┻━┻

To celebrate the millennium, we accidentally sold the company and our publishing rights. Don't do that! You need those!

The Industry

The first PlayStation proved pretty popular, so Sony had another go at it with the PlayStation 2.

2001

Aaaand Penny Arcade is back to Mike & Jerry.

Hooray!

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

We got our publishing rights back, which has proved to be a savvy move, long-term.

Necrowombicon

Our first ever fan convention, The Necrowombicon (named after our wombat favicon) was held in Seattle.

The Industry

The original XBOX was released, with a controller whose size was notably compared to that of a fully grown grizzly bear.

The latest Nintendo creation, The Gamecube was released. Between Wind Waker, Metroid Prime and Smash Brothers, we got plenty of use out of this one.

2002

One of the most iconic PA characters makes his first appearance: The Fruit Fucker. He's showed up in many PA properties in some form since then.

The Fruit Fucker

Wow
Wow - Panel 1
Wow - Panel 2
Wow - Panel 3
Wow - Panel 4

Jerry Draws A 2nd Comic

As a test run, Jerry drew another comic. After much discussion, Mike retained his title as the primary artist.

I’m Sorry
I’m Sorry - Panel 1
I’m Sorry - Panel 2
I’m Sorry - Panel 3
I’m Sorry - Panel 4

2003

The effectiveness of cardboard tubes as a weapon system was firmly established in this comic.

The Cardboard Tube Samurai

Chronicle Of Cardboard Tube Samurai - Panel 1
Chronicle Of Cardboard Tube Samurai - Panel 2
Chronicle Of Cardboard Tube Samurai - Panel 3

Child's Play is Founded

Mike started the first Child's Play charity drive, and within days his garage was filled to capacity. Fifteen years later, Child's Play has raised over $47 million to provide child healthcare facilities with toys, games and therapeutic technologies.

Child's Play Logo: 2003 vs 2018

The Industry

The Nokia N-Gage came out, complete with side talking. Yep.

2004

The very first Penny Arcade eXpo! 1337 people pre-registered for the event, which proved to be a good omen.

The First PAX

The First PAX

Twisp & Catsby

Twisp & Catsby joined us for the first time. Note: Twisp is the cat. Catsby is the demon. Common mistake.

Twisp & Catsby in: The Birdsea
Twisp & Catsby in: The Birdsea - Panel 1
Twisp & Catsby in: The Birdsea - Panel 2
Twisp & Catsby in: The Birdsea - Panel 3
Twisp & Catsby in: The Birdsea - Panel 4

Child's Play Charity Dinner

The inaugural Child's Play Charity Auction! This is now the centerpiece of the Penny Arcade and Child's Play calendars. (Tickets for 2018 are available now!)

The Industry

WoW completely took over both the comic and the office for a long time. The addiction still lingers.

2005

The infamous Jack Thompson reared his head this year, backing out of an offer to donate $10k to charity. We did it in his stead.

 Jack Thompson 

The ESA Foundation Check

The Merch & The Fleshreaper

The first appearance of adorable blue monster The Merch, and his diabolical alter ego, The Fleshreaper.

The Merch & The Fleshreaper

The Industry

The Nintendo DS is released. At the time, two screens seemed like an extravagance. Now of course, a handheld has a minimum of 16-18 screens.

The XBOX 360 is released, bringing such great games as Perfect Dark Zero and The Red Ring Of Death.

2006

Child's Play reached an all-time high of $1,024,400.31 in its third year.

Child's Play Charity Auction

Child's Play Auction

The Industry

Perhaps the most exciting console launch ever, the Wii had us all queuing around the block.

We're already three PlayStations deep. That's crazy, even in the context of the 361 different XBOXes.

2007

The ever-growing PAX moved to the Washington State Convention Centre for the first time, with its inaugural keynote given by nerd icon Wil Wheaton.

PAX Moves to WSCC

Wil Wheaton's keynote at PAX West 2007

The Industry

The iPhone was launched, irrevocably changing our culture and the way we interact with technology. I guess.

2008

Wizards Of The Coast invited us to play some D&D with Chris Perkins to promote the launch of D&D 4e. It went pretty well! We made a few more of these.

First Acquisitions Incorporated Podcast

Penny Arcade Adventures: On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness

Our first video game was released, in collaboration with Hothead Games! The series spanned four episodes and was completed in 2013, with the help of Zeboyd Games.

Paint The Line

Ping Pong has historically been a pretty big deal at PA, and it inspired the Paint The Line series of comics and this tie-in card game.

2009

PA: The Series was launched as an experiment, to give fans a glimpse of life inside Penny Arcade. It was one of the most popular things we've ever done, and there's still nothing quite like it.

PA: The Series

Penny Arcade: The Series

Automata

Automata was one of three properties we introduced at the same time, putting their future to a public vote. In the end, we couldn't resist doing all three.

Automata

Lookouts

The very first Eyrewood story! Lookouts captured our imagination (and yours) more than any other PA property.

Lookouts

The Fremont Office

After a little over ten years, we were outgrowing our tiny office space in Northgate. Fremont beckoned, with enough space, surely, to last for eternity.

2010

By this time, PAX had become too big to be contained to a single coast. The first ever PAX East was held in Boston!

The First PAX East

The First PAX East

The Time 100

Mike & Jerry were included in the Time 100, a measure of the growing influence of video games in our culture.

Jerry & Brenna Holkins on the red carpet

The First Acq Inc Live Show

It turned out that people enjoyed our Acq Inc podcasts, so we tried a live show for the first time. People seemed to enjoy it, so we kept doing it. That's a good practice, we've found.

The First PAX East

Sand

We revisited Sand, one of the first projects a pre-Penny Arcade Mike & Jerry ever worked on together.

Sand

The Halls Below

We released our sixth book, notable for being The One That Was A New York Times Bestseller.

2011

Twitch has become a huge part of what we do here, and it's amazing to think that it's only been around since 2011.

Twitch Streaming

Streaming on Jerry's birthday

The Industry

The DS was an incredible success for Nintendo, leading to the addition of a third dimension for this follow up. Thankfully, they left it at just the 3, for now.

2012

Pinny Arcade was launched! For some people, collecting and trading pins is their entire PAX. It's an entire, dedicated community all of its own.

Pinny Arcade

Pinny Arcade pin trading at PAX

Lookouts Graphic Novel

We collaborated with Cryptozoic writer Ben McCool & artist Rob Mommaerts on the first ever Lookouts comic series.

The Industry

The handheld wars continued with the release of the PS Vita.

The Wii U was released, ushering in a new age of playing games in bed.

2013

PAX left North America for the first time, traveling all the way across the globe to Melbourne for the inaugural PAX Australia.

The First PAX AUS

The First PAX Australia

The Tithe

The Tithe was one of the first major expansions of the Eyrewood mythology, introducing both The Daughters Of The Eyrewood and the Thornwatch.

The Tithe

Strip Search

PA tried our hand at reality TV, with a show designed to find the very best comic creators in the land. The eventual winner, Katie Wallander, has gone on to be a tremendous force in the comics and cartooning industries.

The Redmond Office

Even noble Fremont proved too small for us eventually, and we moved to our current digs in Redmond. So far, they have been able to contain us. So far.

15 Years

For our 15th anniversary, Mike redrew the very first Penny Arcade comic. Thankfully it's as relevant now as it was in 2013, thanks to the enduring, indelible nature of the SiN franchise.

The SIN Of Long Load Times: 2013 Edition
The SIN Of Long Load Times: 2013 Edition - Panel 1
The SIN Of Long Load Times: 2013 Edition - Panel 2
The SIN Of Long Load Times: 2013 Edition - Panel 3

The Industry

The PlayStation 4 was released, bringing new sharing features that we all made fun of and now use constantly.

The XBOX One was released, but it was the third one which was very confusing.

2014

The first PAX AUS was intense, but it was also in tents, which seemed like something we could improve on. For the second event, we moved to the Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre, a much more permanent building.

PAX AUS No Longer "In Tents"

PAX Australia 2014 - New venue

The Industry

Twitch Plays Pokémon: A conglomerate of Twitch users managed to collaboratively play the first ever Pokémon game from start to finish.

2015

A mere three PAXes proved insufficient for the hordes of prospective visitors, leading us to expand deep into the heart of San Antonio, Texas.

The First PAX South

The First PAX South

Nightlight

The first Nightlight comic was released, detailing the true nature of the monsters that hide under the bed.

2016

We released Acq Inc: The Series, a 12-part series that paved the way for future filmed endeavors.

Acq Inc: The Series

Acq Inc: The Series

Lookouts Short Film

RedGate Films released a short film based on the Lookouts universe, and we were blown away by both its quality and faithfulness to the source material. Check it out if you haven't, it's a treat.

Lookouts - A Short by RedGate Films

The Streaming Studio

Josh completed work on the PA streaming studio, which quickly became a cornerstone of Penny Arcade.

Ummm, It's Called PAX West Now

PAX Prime was officially retitled PAX West! Needless to say, we all got this right with a 100% success rate immediately.

2017

The unstoppable rise of tabletop gaming created a need for a fifth, quieter PAX in its honor.

The First PAX Unplugged

The First PAX Unplugged

The "C" Team

In an attempt to quench your thirst for more Acq Inc content, we launched The "C" Team, a weekly D&D stream live on Twitch.

Behind the scenes on The "C" Team

The Industry

The Nintendo Switch was released, and we all hustled to find a rooftop party to be invited to so that we would have somewhere to play it.

2018

Following a successful Kickstarter campaign, Automata was adapted into a mini-series starring Basil Harris and Doug Jones.

Automata: The Series

Automata: The Series - Behind the scenes

Thornwatch

After years of work, the Thornwatch board game was finally released!

LEXCALIBUR

Jerry released his first ever poetry collection, LEXCALIBUR, which sold out in record time.

20 Years - Nov 18th, 2018

To celebrate these 20 years, we have some special releases coming up over the next few weeks. Keep an eye on our Twitter or sign up for our newsletter for more updates!