Authors@Google: Mike "Gabe" Krahulik and Jerry "Tycho" Holkins


Uploaded by AtGoogleTalks on 16.02.2010

Transcript:
[applause]
>>Jerry Holkins: Ok. Thank you.
>>Mike Krahulik: We're happy to be here.
>>Jerry Holkins: It only takes like 15 minutes to get here so we can do this all the time.
[laughter]
Yeah, I mean where do you wanna -
>>Mike Krahulik: We should start in 1998. You need a fade wipe.
[laughs]
So in 1998 we were living together in Spokane and making really horrible comic books.
>>Jerry Holkins: Hey.
>>Mike Krahulik: No, they were bad. And in fact they were so bad that we would take them
and leave them places, like in stores, hoping that people would just pick them up and take
them and read them.
>>Jerry Holkins: You know when you go to Costco, and there's like you can get little bits of
an enchilada?
[laughter]
Sort of like a sample. Like we had this idea for comics but no one wanted them. So -
>>Mike Krahulik: Yeah.
>>Jerry Holkins: So if you retain the metaphor, it means our comics were disgusting. Oh, hey
what's up.
>>Mike Krahulik: And back then there was a video game magazine called Next Generation.
Most of you probably remember it if you've been gaming for a while, and it was a pretty
big deal at the time. I remember they posted a little blurb saying that they were looking
for a cartoonist to do a comic strip about video games that they would then run in the
magazine.
>>Jerry Holkins: But here we have to emphasize how things have changed. Because we all know
about the Internet. Right?
>>Mike Krahulik Yeah.
>>Jerry Holkins: But this update he was talking about, was on Next Generation online which
was, you know, the online component of that magazine. But it, you know, it being 1998,
this is a gaming news website that updated once a day, only weekdays at 7 pm.
[laughter]
And that was considered a lot of content.
>>Mike Krahulik: Yeah.
>>Jerry Holkins: It is not. It turns out.
>>Mike Krahulik: So it was weird, but it wasn't until that point that we'd even really considered
the idea that maybe our love of games and making comics, we could sort of combine those
two things. And so, I made, I think, three or four comics just on my own about, you know,
the popular topics at the time which would have been George Broussard and Prey.
>>Jerry Holkins: Right.
>>Mike Krahulik: I can't remember what the hell the other one -
>>Jerry Holkins: Truly eternal topics.
>>Mike Krahulik: Yeah. You know, Doom. And then I showed 'em to Jerry and he, he liked
'em and he ended up writing a couple. And so I think between the two of us we ended
up with maybe five comics that we mailed into Next Generation. And we never heard back,
you know, weeks went by and I think even maybe a month or so before I actually mailed them
and said:"What happened with this, you know, this comic contest." And they said: "Oh, you
know, we got your material but we went with a different cartoonist. We picked another
winner."
Another comic never appeared in Next Generation magazine. So I'm assuming that they just wanted
to get rid of us. But we had these comics left over that we thought people should see.
And that's when we decided to turn to the Internet. At the time.
>>Jerry Holkins: That's true.
>>Mike Krahulik: That's your cue.
>>Jerry Holkins: Oh. And so we essentially offered them up. And again, and this is, is
you know, there was a 'zine at the time. I mean this was before the blog nomenclature,
right? And so we essentially started that we offered our comics to a 'zine called Loony
Games, which was at that time an adjunct of Blues News, which was a very, very big deal,
you know, during that era.
>>Mike Krahulik: Years ago.
>>Jerry Holkins: Yeah, yeah. During the, you know, the Mesozoic area.
>>Mike Krahulik: Well we actually offered them to pretty much every 'zine at the time.
Like I remember sending them to Telefrag ?
>>Jerry Holkins: Right.
>>Mike Krahulik: and James Spy and all the big gaming sites at the time.
>>Jerry Holkins: Right. And we, so we sort of felt that, that because it was low to the
ground that this, this 'zine would be a good venue for our stuff 'cause he wouldn't get
in our way as much as a larger site might have. In terms of the creative process. And
that turned out to be incorrect.
>>Mike Krahulik: [laughs]
[laughter]
>>Jerry Holkins: And, so is there a rating for this discussion?
>>Voice off stage: A rating?
>>Jerry Holkins: Yes, i.e., PG, R.
>>Voice off stage: Well it'll be public -
>>Jerry Holkins: Well I don't care. People know that I say bad words.
[laughter]
I'm saying, I'm saying does that make, does that make things complicated for you if I
say the word "fuck."
[laughter]
>>Mike Krahulik: No, see you messed that up. Because ?
>>Jerry Holkins: Oh, I should have done it the other way around.
[laughter]
>>Jerry Holkins: Anyway, here listen now that you know what word I said, understand that
that's where all the problems came from. Because we thought that that was a very funny word.
And I can tell by your reaction that you too were amused by it.
[laughter]
But our quote unquote editor felt that profanity was unnecessary in humor, which is a lie.
>>Mike Krahulik: He told us, he flat out -
>>Jerry Holkins: A black lie.
>>Mike Krahulik: He told us that that word was not funny and that we should not use it
anymore. And that's, I think, when we decided
>>Jerry Holkins: That was ?
>>Mike Krahulik: to get our own effing website.
[laughter]
>>Jerry Holkins: Yeah.
>>Voice off stage: That's better.
>>Jerry Holkins: Yeah. And I made some, you know, I code it as classy.
>>Mike Krahulik: That's how I do it.
>>Jerry Holkins: And I, you know, so we started to host it elsewhere which was, you know,
and at the time was a byzantine process. But I wrote some -
>>Mike Krahulik: The reality is that we gave Loony Games those six comics under the assumption
that he would run those comics and then that would be it. And then, you know, the next
Monday came, he'd been putting them up once a week and said: "Need the comic for today.
Where's it at?" We're like, "Well we didn't sign any kind of agreement to make more of
these."
>>Jerry Holkins: It was never our intention. We simply had made something - it would be
like if you made a delicious meal and then it was just sitting there on the stove. Like
we wanted people to sample our wares.
>>Mike Krahulik: And it was really just us not wanting to disappoint him that made us
keep doing it.
>>Jerry Holkins: It was social anxiety.
>>Mike Krahulik: Yeah.
>>Jerry Holkins: Actually.
>>Mike Krahulik: Um. Yeah. That was it.
>>Jerry Holkins: Oh. Okay. And so we started doing our own thing.
I was able to - I managed to write a set of frames in HTML ?
>>Mike Krahulik: [laughs]
>>Jerry Holkins: which included some incredibly large navigation buttons. And the navigation,
the navigation buttons were so large that the scaling kept creating this huge field
on the left where no content was. And it was agitating to me from an aesthetics perspective.
And so I started writing, you know, essentially news posts to a company, the strip for that
day. Just the different topics that we were discussing and now that's a core part of the
site. Now the idea that the comic includes commentary
that may or may not be about gaming, or you know, it might be about a sandwich that I
had, and thought was great. But all that stuff the way that that works, is that I was just
trying to fill that - there was just a void in the template. And we weren't even, we didn't
even archive them. Like for three years I just, you know, select, delete, -
>>Mike Krahulik: [laughs]
>>Jerry Holkins: right out of the raw HTML file. So -
>>Mike Krahulik: Yeah. Those were good days.
>>Jerry Holkins: Yeah. But, I mean that just, that just is an assertion that we did not,
we had no idea what we had made. I think that other people sensed that -
>>Mike Krahulik: Well, the other people did
>>Jerry Holkins: we were on to something.
>>Mike Krahulik: Yeah. In fact that the next leg of our journey ?
takes us -
>>Jerry Holkins: - At the bar table. Buyers.
>>Mike Krahulik: Yeah. So now we're on the Internet and we have a website and people
are coming to it. And you might remember back in these days the concept of content aggregators.
The idea that a company like a UGO or something might just buy up a couple thousand websites
and then run ads across their entire network.
>>Jerry Holkins: But that suffix the gator suffix and its implications of a reptilian
carnivore will come back.
>>Mike Krahulik: [laughter]
>>Jerry Holkins: Later on. You'll see it.
>>Mike Krahulik: So we actually got approached by a content aggregator named, I forget already.
>>Jerry Holkins: Jackasses Incorporated.
[laughter]
>>Mike Krahulik: Let's just, let's -
>>Jerry Holkins: No. Let's use a euphemism.
>>Mike Krahulik: Who was it? What was the name of them?
>>Male voice off stage: Was it eFront?
>>Mike Krahulik: eFront. Thank you, sir. I try to block that out as much as I can. And
they wanted to, they wanted to add Penny Arcade to their network and run ads and they promised
us all this money and said: "You quit your jobs and you can do this full time and -
>>Jerry Holkins: Oh, and we got stock.
>>Mike Krahulik: Oh yeah, we got eFront stock. Hey.
[laughter]
And so we ended up signing the agreement. And, you know, we didn't realize that what
we were signing was actually the rights to Penny Arcade. So we actually literally sold
Penny Arcade to eFront, for some worthless stock and the promise of advertising revenue.
Right? And basically, that's what we did.
>>Jerry Holkins: Yeah. That's more or less. But I mean the document - it's like we had
a different conception about what that document represented. I mean, for us that document
represented the ability to create comics full time which was an incredible concept. And
it's entirely possible we would have given up almost anything do, you know, to do that.
And we did. But it was inadvertent.
>Mike Krahulik: Yeah. [laughs] And you know, and they actually made good on the promise.
For the first couple months they did send us checks and, you know, I did quit Circuit
City.
>>Jerry Holkins: This is that period when the Internet was just totally rad -
>>Mike Krahulik: Yeah. People were just throwing' money at 'ya. And so I remember it was like,
you know, Christmas Eve and I think my manager at Circuit City told me to go do wire maintenance
on the laptops and I just said: "F you." And I walked out.
[laughter]
And, you know, it was pretty much right after that eFront stopped sending checks.
[laughter]
So that was poor timing on my part.
[laughter]
But yeah, so they stopped sending the money and then when we asked them where the money
was, they said that they needed to put more ads on the site. And so eventually it got
to the point where it was just ads on the site, and I think at one point if you go back
through the archive you'll see a comic very early on that is just an ad. That was our
sort of, us fighting back like we thought "Well you've taken over every other part of
the frickin' site, you might as well -
>>Jerry Holkins: And we also introduced a character named, Mr. Adbannerhead.
>>Mike Krahulik: [laughs] Yeah.
>>Jerry Holkins: Which was just a subtle dig at that policy.
>>Mike Krahulik: We were frustrated at the time. And so we said: "Listen this isn't working.
We'll just take our comic and go." And that's when we realized that we couldn't just take
our comic and go, because it was their comic. [laughs] It was bad. And they were actually
gonna fire us.
>>Jerry Holkins: Yeah. Oh and see 'cause and this is great. So you knew about eFront, but
I mean do you know that all the ICQ, remember ICQ -
>>Mike Krahulik: [laughs]
>>Jerry Holkins: There were all the ICQ logs that came out so they used a lot of ICQ in
upper echelons of eFront. And all their conversations about us came to light after the company started
to have trouble; and it's really strange reading about yourself in the third person. Like,
you know, it's like opening a book and like finding out that you're actually incorporated
into some grand drama.
>>Mike Krahulik: [laughs] Yeah.
>>Jerry Holkins: Because they had every intention of firing us from our own comic and then having
other people produce it.
>>Mike Krahulik: Yeah, in fact if you, if you do a search for ICQ logs eFront, you can
still find the logs and they're incredible. But the conversations about Penny Arcade,
I mean, were very far along - they had a new artist. They had comics done and they were
ready to fire us. Had their president not been under investigation for, like some kind
of like racketeering -
>>Jerry Holkins: Yeah. He had to flee to country -
>>Mike Krahulik: Tax evasion.
>>Jerry Holkins: Yeah.
>>Mike Krahulik: And ended up leaving to Africa.
[laughter]
>>Mike Krahulik: We were, we were that close. And, and so it was at that point that the
company sort of dissolved under all these legal problems that we said: "Okay, listen
you guys owe us a ton of money. Instead of giving us cash, which we know you don' have,
just give us our comic back." And that's the only way we were able to get out of it.
>>Jerry Holkins: Right.
That's true. I'm sorry. I'm like sweating, like my -
>>Mike Krahulik: [laughs]
>>Jerry Holkins: My heart rate has increased as a result of that retelling.
>>Mike Krahulik: That was, that was a very scary time.
>>Jerry Holkins: [sighs heavily]
>>Mike Krahulik: It was also the time that we accidentally sold the book rights - for
five years to a man who took all our money and moved to Alaska.
[laughter]
So, I mean, that's a different story though, and we made, we made a lot of bad decisions.
>>Jerry Holkins: Right. Early on.
>>Mike Krahulik: We made bad decisions until we found someone to make good decisions on
our behalf.
>>Jerry Holkins: On our behalf. Which is who, who is now sort of, he sort of runs Penny
Arcade. Like the business side of Penny Arcade. We eventually realized, you know, due to the
stories that we have just told you, and other stories which we have not yet related -
[laughter]
we decided that we were not business people. That the best we could do, the best we could
do, in this life was to create three jpegs a week. That was the extent of our capabilities.
[laughter]
and we decided not to reach for the stars.
>>Mike Krahulik: At this point, you know, so eFront stopped paying us - we've both quit
our jobs - we're at the VA.
>>Jerry Holkins: We're -
>>Mike Krahulik: Yeah. And I remember having a conversation with Jerry where I said: "Okay.
Well, do we go back to our jobs and quit doing Penny Arcade or do we, do we try to figure
out some other way to make this work?" And it just so happened that literally that day
I had gotten an email from a reader who was telling me about the Amazon honor system.
And it had just come out that week and it was a system where readers could donate money
to you for nothing.
>>Jerry Holkins: It's just a transactional system similar -
>>Mike Krahulik: It's a tip jar for your website.
>>Jerry Holkins: Yeah, sort of like PayPal, the way PayPal works.
>>Mike Krahulik: Yeah. And we, you know, in our heads running the numbers, which we can't
run. We thought "Okay, well if we have" -
>>Jerry Holkins: remember what the number was?
>>Mike Krahulik: If we have 50 thousand readers and each one of them gives us one dollar everyday
like ?
[laughter]
>>Mike Krahulik: we're like we're gonna be bijillionaires!
[laughter]
And so, you know, we put the tip jar up, and we weren't bijillionaires. You know,
>>Jerry Holkins: Listen we weren't bizillionaires, but it is a fact that after a single day of,
of requests for donations there was ten thousand dollars in there.
>>Mike Krahulik: Yeah. And it ended up that we said "Okay, how much money do you and I
need to live? Rent? Groceries? Video games?" Take that number -
>>Jerry Holkins: It's a part of a food pyramid.
[laughter]
>>Mike Krahulik: Yeah.
[laughter]
And we took that number and we put it on the website and we said: "Dear reader: This is
how much we need to live."
[laughter]
"Please give us this."
>>Jerry Holkins: It was essentially like an NPR type, you know, public media sort of thing.
I mean, that's -
>>Mike Krahulik: Yeah. We were very honest. We constantly showed the graph of - here's
how much we need or we'll starve to death. And here's where we are.
>>Jerry Holkins: Right. There's still gonna be some kind of benefit.
>>Mike Krahulik: Yeah. Wow. Is that the Internet archive or -
>>Jerry Holkins: Yes, exactly.
>>>Mike Krahulik: or way back machine?
>>Jerry Holkins: Yeah. See he has, he has our thermometer.
>>Mike Krahulik: Yeah. And we gave away little prizes when, you know, we reached our goal.
>>Jerry Holkins: Sort of like the fair. Yeah. You know -
>>Mike Krahulik: Sustaining our lives apparently we thought wasn't enough. They're gonna need
a jpeg too.
[laughter]
Not enough that we fed ourselves.
>>Jerry Holkins: It's sort of our line though - jpegs.
>>Mike Krahulik: Yeah. And that did it for -
>Jerry Holkins: Year and a half.
>>Mike Krahulik: A year and a half.
>>Jerry Holkins: And then eventually, we sort of got the sense - cause we were married at
this time -
>>Mike Krahulik: [laughs]
>>Jerry Holkins: We got the sense that -
>>Mike Krahulik: Yeah.
>>Jerry Holkins: We got the sense relying the Internet, relying on -
>>Mike Krahulik: The generosity of strangers ?
>>Jerry Holkins: Was not a strong strategy.
>>Mike Krahulik: It's a tough sell domestically. Let's say that.
[laughter] When your wife wants to know, you know, where
the check is coming from and you say -
>>Jerry Holkins: "The Internet."
[laughter]
>>Mike Krahulik: People. Alright. Deal with it. "Will we have enough to make the rent?"
I don't know yet. Listen it's only the 15th, honey, I mean, don't you see my graph.
[laughter]
>>Jerry Holkins: I cannot believe we got -
>>Mike Krahulik: They should never have gone along with that plan as long as they did.
Yeah.
>>Jerry Holkins: Long suffering. But, so, shortly thereafter we received an email from
someone who wanted to talk to us about a business opportunity. And I think that we all get mails
that -
>>Mike Krahulik: [laughs] that describe the contours of a business opportunity
with some frequency. Sometimes from Nigeria.
>>Mike Krahulik: Yeah.
>>Jerry Holkins: And so -
>>Mike Krahulik: We disregarded it.
>>Jerry Holkins: Yeah. Exactly. And then he wrote us back saying that he would take us
to lunch and, and it turned around.
>>Mike Krahulik: Yeah. We perked up at that point.
[laughter]
>>Jerry Holkins: Yeah.
>>Mike Krahulik: Yeah. The concept of a free lunch - literally a free lunch - got us interested.
That was the only reason we met with Robert.
>>Jerry Holkins: Right. And so we did meet him and he was able to quickly ascertain
- being a person of more than average intelligence - that we were idiots.
[laughter]
>>Mike Krahulik: Yeah. He was at the time running, working for a consulting company
and one of their consultants - consultantees? consulters?
>>Jerry Holkins: Consulters.
>>Mike Krahulik: One of the companies they were consulting for was a video game company,
and his idea for them was that they should advertise on Penny Arcade.
>>Jerry Holkins: He was a reader. He loved the comic.
>>Mike Krahulik: Yeah. And it was at this point that we just started sort of trying
to transition from simply donations to also doing advertising. And believe it or not,
I was actually the one that got pegged as being the business guy.
>>Jerry Holkins: Yes, no doubt. But it changed after Saga -
>>Male voice from audience: Yes.
>>Mike Krahulik: So we ended up, I ended up calling up - through a number of sources I
got a phone number for Saga - and I thought this would be great. They have - we love their
games - they're gonna want to advertise on our site.
>>Jerry Holkins: They called John Saga.
>>Mike K: [laughs] Yeah. And I remember we talked about it trying to decide - well how
much should we charge for an advertising slot on Penny Arcade? And we, we came to the idea
that one thousand dollars for a month of advertising would be pretty hot.
>>Jerry Holkins: That's a lot of money.
>>Mike Krahulik: And I'm not gonna detail the conversation I had with Saga's very nice
marketing lady, but in the end she ended up paying two hundred dollars. So I'm not a great
business person, at all. It was horrible. She just destroyed me over the phone until
I was crying and said I'd take whatever she wanted to pay us.
[laughter]
But we got those ads for "18-wheeler".
>>Jerry Holkins: That's right.
>>Mike Krahulik: You know.
>>Jerry Holkins: Right.
< obvious to him.
>>Jerry Holkins: Yeah. We had huge problems. And it, it happened that, I mean, so the next
time that he, he wanted to start having weekly meetings with us. And, but these meetings
included lunch. And so we continued to attend them.
[laughter]
And he would, we would eat turkey and he would hold forth and this is a great scenario.
>>Mike Krahulik: Remember, remember he asked us what our ten year plan was? [laughs]
>>Jerry Holkins: Yeah. Yeah.
>>Mike Krahulik: We didn't have an afternoon plan.
[laughter]
>>Jerry Holkins: Yeah. Our plan - the current plan was on the plate.
>>Mike Krahulik: Yeah. And
>>Jerry Holkins: And after we managed that we were gonna try to come up with a new scenario.
[laughter]
But, you know, though one of these meetings - one of those ill-fated meetings - he came
and he just laid a piece of paper down on the table and said "This is a five year plan.
I will - I'm gonna quit my job. I'm gonna work for you guys for free for three months
and if I can't, if I can't pay my way then I'll quit and you guys can go back to doing
what you were doing before." And, um -
>>Mike Krahulik: It worked out pretty good.
>>Jerry Holkins: Yeah.
[laughter]
>>Mike Krahulik: He did a good job. It turns out.
>>Jerry Holkins: Just as an index - as an index of his organizational might - I mean
the first, the first PAX he put together in three months.
>>Mike Krahulik: That's pretty incredible.
>>Jerry Holkins: I mean he put together a gaming convention which is now more or less
seen as, as you know, the you know, quote unquote consumer, right? But I'm not super
enthusiastic about that kind of terminology. A gaming convention, you know, that is the
pride of the Western Hemisphere. It had its genesis in a three month plan by Robert.
>>Mike Krahulik: Yeah. So - so he came on board and, and started really trying to actually
spin up an advertising, like a revenue stream, I guess it what he calls it.
< >>Mike Krahulik: Revenue river.
>>Jerry Holkins: He wanted to diversify.
>>Mike Krahulik: Yeah. And have synergy.
[laughter]
And so as soon as he started getting ads on the site, we thought that it just wasn't appropriate
to do the -
>>Jerry Holkins: The donation -
>>Mike Krahulik: the donations anymore. So it was right when Robert came on and the ads
started working that we dropped the honor system. But like I said that had worked for
a year and a half. And so Robert came on. He got the advertising working. He got merchandise
working. All the stuff that we couldn't do - he did. And it allowed us to really just
focus on making comics. Which was all we could ever do anyway. [laughs] It was really the
best thing that could have happened for Penny Arcade.
>>Jerry Holkins: Right.
[pause]
That's it.
>>Mike Krahulik: [laughs}
>>Jerry Holkins: I mean more or less, that's it.
< the country - some of them like in school gymnasiums. I mean we went everywhere. Did
all kinds of shows. But we realized that every one of these shows that we went to, was almost
always comics and maybe they would have like a little bit of a gaming corner annex -
< >>Mike Krahulik: Ghetto. There, where they had like an Xbox. Or it was all anime and
they would have a little gaming section.
>>Jerry Holkins: Right.
>>Mike Krahulik: We though why isn't anyone making a gaming convention. Like this sort
of convention for gamers.
>>Jerry Holkins: Right. It can have this other stuff -
>>Mike Krahulik: Yeah.
>>Jerry Holkins: That's fine.
>>Mike Krahulik: But the focus of it should be on video games. And I remember we started
working with a company that was doing a show back East.
>>Jerry Holkins: Uberchan.
>>Mike Krahulik: Called Uberchan. 'Cause we in our minds, we have no expertise putting
on shows so that what we thought is: "Well we'll work with someone who's put on shows
before. We'll just have them come over to Seattle and help us do it." And it turned
out that what they wanted to do was make an Uberchan Seattle, instead of a Penny Arcade
expo. And that, we sort of came to that conclusion late in the -
>>Jerry Holkins: Yeah. You mean, things had been underway. Planning for this convention
had been underway for a while before we realized that we were talking about two completely
different conventions.
>>Mike Krahulik: Yeah. And so, I remember they left after a meeting and we all sort
of looked at each other and realized what was, what they, what had happened and what
they wanted and what we wanted, and we said to Robert: "Can we just make our own convention?
Can we do that." And it was three months later that -
>>Jerry Holkins: Right.
>>Mike Krahulik: that he had pulled PAX together. And it's just, it's doubled every year since
then. The size -
>>Jerry Holkins: It doubled, it you know, it doubled until we physically could not hold
anymore human beings.
>>Mike Krahulik: Yeah.
>>Jerry Holkins: And so, I mean, that the limiting factor now is, is the physical universe.
[laughter]
So that's a pretty good, that's a pretty good thing. We just, we had, and then you know,
five years into it we opened up PAX East, which is gonna be in Boston at the end of
March, and that just sold out of three day passes. Like months in advance of the show.
So, pretty crazy. It's pretty crazy stuff. Our job right there, I mean obviously we don't
have the mechanical, or you know, systemic expertise to put something like that on, but
our role there is more or less to act as ambassadors and try to safe -
>>Mike Krahulik: Safeguard the -
>>Jerry Holkins: Safeguard the culture of the show.
>>Mike Krahulik: We're figureheads.
>>Jerry Holkins: Right.
< to now we have ten employees.
>>Jerry Holkins: But the reason he pauses is because we just, we just interviewed for
another position, so right now we have a quasi-
>>Mike Krahulik: We have a possible new member.
>>Jerry Holkins: eleventh member. And so they haven't fully materialized in our mind yet,
but -
>>Mike Krahulik: But that's basically the history of Penny Arcade. Right?
>>Jerry Holkins: In a nutshell.
>>Mike K: Yeah. So we would love q's for our a's.
>>Jerry Holkins: If you have them.
>>Mike Krahulik: Or we can go get lunch -
>>Jerry Holkins: We can go to the pseudo-cafe. I understand they have a milkshake.
>>Voice in audience: How much time do you have do you have to game a week?
>>Mike Krahulik: Well, it depends on the week. You know, like right now we're doing another
big project, so we just, we finished the, was it eight pages was the last Dragon H comic?
>>Jerry Holkins: Um, hum.
>>Mike Krahulik: So we did the eight page Dragon H comic and now we're doing -
>>Jerry Holkins: Can we talk about that?
< >>Jerry Holkins: Expansion.
>>Mike Krahulik: And so, on a, you know on a week like that, I'm trying to knock out
pages and so I really don't game at the office much at all. But at home, you know, I'll go
home and from when, you know, when Gabe goes to bed at 7:30 until 11:00 or midnight, I'm
playing games.
>>Jerry Holkins: Yeah. It's usually 8:30, 9:00 to midnight. Is like the dedicated time
that I can guarantee every day.
>>Mike Krahulik: Yeah.
>>Jerry Holkins: I, you know, it's catch as catch can the rest of the time. And then depending
on the game, like sometimes, you know, sometimes, we'll try to make time during the day at the
office. Like it, it doesn't take as much physical time for me to do my part of these tasks,
and so sometimes I'm allowed to have more recreation at the office.
>>Mike Krahulik: Honestly, for me, like if he's playing a game that's almost the same.
Like he played through Call of Duty in the office and I just sat, you know, I was at
my desk drawing and watching and so I feel like I played Call of Duty. Like -
[laughter]
And, you know, with Darksiders, I played through most of Darksiders -
>>Jerry Holkins: Exactly. It also depends on the game. Like it may not be our intention
to play a game -
>>Mike Krahulik: Yeah.
>>Jerry Holkins: It may be our intention to work on important tasks and sometimes that
does not occur.
>>Mike Krahulik: Yeah. And then, you know, you're playing Darksiders
for, you know, a couple weeks straight and Robert pokes his head in and he's like: "What
are you guys doin'?" And I go: "It's research." Maybe we do a Darksiders comic, I don't know.
[laughter]
>>Jerry Holkins: We did get one.
>>Mike Krahulik: We got one.
>>Jerry Holkins: We got one comic - 20 hours.
>>Mike Krahulik: Yeah. That's pretty good.
>>Jerry Holkins: It's a strong investment. But we love to answer them, and if not, that's
totally fine. Alright.
>>Male voice in audience: Are your kids old enough to play along, read the comics or play
games or that type of thing?
>>Mike Krahulik: Not to read the comic, no.
[laughter]
Oh, repeat the question. So, are our kids old enough to repeat, to repeat the question?
[laughter]
Are they old enough to read the comic and play games? Not read the comic, no. And play
games, yes. Like Gabe is five now and so he has his own DSI and he plays Lego Star Wars
constantly. And it's actually sort of - we've had some interesting discussions about Lego
Star Wars and Star Wars in general, because he's, you know if your son comes to you and
says "Daddy, your Clone Trooper's good" - it's like, well that's an interesting discussion,
son. So you know -
[laughter]
>>Jerry Holkins: Sit here on my -
>>Mike Krahulik: It's like, you have to sit him down. You have to explain, "Well, listen
they are good," but then you have to talk about order of 66 and then you have to talk
about the Jedi and it's like were the Jedi in decline, did they deserve what happened
to them? It's like -
[laughter]
so, yeah he games.
>>Jerry Holkins: Yeah. Were they at they a decrepit order by that time?
>>Mike Krahulik: Right. I mean, did they need to be sort of rebuilt and restructured -
>>Jerry Holkins: Right.
>>Mike Krahulik: And in that case, are the Clone Troopers actually being the agent of
that restructuring doing a good thing. Doing a favor for the universe. Like -
>>Jerry Holkins: Right.
>>Mike Krahulik: It's, still, still we're still talkin' about it.
[laughter]
>>Jerry Holkins: Ongoing.
>>Mike Krahulik: Ongoing.
>>Jerry Holkins: But my, my daughter is five months and so she's, there's a lot of things
she can't do.
[laughter]
Except charm me. She's pretty good at that. But my son, Elliot is four and he, he takes
on more of a managerial role. Jump. Shoot. You know. He'll direct me toward foes, which
I appreciate. I mean, I don't always see them.
[laughter]
You know.
[laughter]
But, but no, more or less like it's just something to talk about. It's just something to discuss.
I mean a lot of the games that Daddy plays are, would be completely incoherent to him
one hundred percent of the time. So "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs", maybe not a lot
of meat on there for a, you know for a critical perspective, but it does have huge meatballs.
[laughter]
So, you know, there's still something to discuss.
>>Female voice in audience: Actually that brings up another question - like will you
let them play any games they -
>>Jerry Holkins: Absolutely not.
>>Female voice in audience: Do you have like concerns about Grand Theft Auto and all these
other games that -
>>Jerry Holkins: No.
>>Female voice in audience: the other children in -
>>Mike Krahulik: And it's from my point of view, I actually really enjoy finding games
for him to play at this point, you know. And not just, you know, like he likes Up and he
likes, like the movie tie-ins to the game, to the movies that he goes and sees, but,
you know, finding stuff like, trying to think of the last one ? oh, so the, the game
Modnation Racers -
>>Jerry Holkins: For PS3.
>>Mike Krahulik: For PS3. The beta that just came out - he loved that. Like being able
to construct his own track and then drive it and then, you know, put trees down and
like I think -
>>Jerry Holkins: What parent wouldn't want their child to -
>>Mike Krahulik: Yeah.
>>Jerry Holkins: invent a race track?
>>Mike Krahulik: There's so much good content out there that's great for kids, that, I mean,
it's never even occurred to me that he would have to play some violent game.
>>Jerry Holkins: You know, it's, you know, it's a purely generational thing.
>>Mike Krahulik: Yeah.
>>Jerry Holkins: You know. You know, now that we're creating our own larva and you know
and nurturing them to pupa stage - you know, we, we aren't afraid of technology, you know
what I'm saying, in the same way. Like, I mean there are still things that are frightening
like RFID, but there's, you know, but at the same time, I felt confident that material
wouldn't work here.
[laughter]
>>Mike Krahulik: Yeah.
>>Jerry Holkins: But -
>>Mike Krahulic: Strong play.
>>Jerry Holkins: Yeah, yeah.
[laughter]
I mean essentially, you know, the way that, like there's a rating on the fuck - there's
a rating on the effing box that will tell you if it's appropriate.
>>Mike Krahulik: Yeah.
>>Jerry Holkins: And, I mean, those, those ratings, those ratings get goofy sometimes
between M and T. Like there's some strange, you know there's some demarcations there which
are maybe odd. But I am a thinking being and I'm certainly capable of discerning what kinds
of material is appropriate -
>>Mike Krahulik: And I know my son. Like I know what he is able to take in and what,
if he's able to handle a game that yeah do you shoot guys in this game with a laser gun
like Star Wars? Well, yeah, you do shoot guys, but I think he knows it's pretend and -
< shift - like I mean obviously a parent, it's like, it's like you imagine them standing
in, in the aisle at Game Stop, like just, you know, tearing their hair out trying to
conceive of, you know, how, what's my relationship to this medium supposed to be? Well they would
never send their child to see Robo Cop or some, you know -
>>Mike Krahulik: [laughs]
>>Jerry Holkins: R rated movie, right?
>>Mike Krahulic: Yeah.
>>Jerry Holkins: Well, it's a very similar rating mechanism is on this box, like all
you have to do is be aware of the media your child consumes. Like it's just not -
< >>Jerry Holkins: It's not, it's not that weird. I don't think. I mean, I am excited by the
prospect of being able to guide my son through this medium and showing him the works that
I think are, are, you know, crucial to it. I'm excited about that process.
>>Male voice in audience: One of my favorite ones comic strips you guys did was the [inaudible]
Part 2
>>Jerry Holkins: [laughs]
>>Male voice in audience: with the -
>>Jerry Holkins: Oh, no, you say it and then I'll repeat it.
>>Male voice in audience: Okay, yeah.
>>Jerry Holkins: I'm going to repeat it.
>>Male voice in audience: My favorite ones was the political cartoon where you had the
parents who were, that you couldn't find a babysitter or whatever and they said "well
just put him -
>>Jerry Holkins: Yeah. Exactly, well let's put him in front of, you know, Blood Demons
5 or whatever.
>>Male voice in audience: Not a Q more of an S.
>>Jerry Holkins: [laughs]
[laughter]
He, he liked one of the comics we did.
[laughter]
And we appreciate that.
[laughter]
< >>Jerry Holkins: Yeah.
>>Male voice in audience: We're all programmers mostly so we all want our kids to make games
- what do you know that you guys want your kids to do?
>>Mike Krahulik: So the question is "what do we want our children to be?" Gabe mostly
wanted to be a boat policeman.
[laughter]
But he came to me, until just a couple of days ago, he came to me and said that he decided
he wanted to be a hair stylist.
[laughter]
And I thought that was odd and I said "Why?" And apparently he'd combed Mommy's hair and
she told him that it looked good and so he thought that he was really good at styling
hair -
[laughter]
and so he should make that a career choice. I explained that he has time, you know. He
doesn't have to decide right now.
[laughter]
>>Jerry Holkins: It's like there's actually many human tasks.
>>Mike Krahulik: Yeah. I don't know, I just, I want him to do something creative. It's
the only thing I've thought about, you know. When I think about his future I want him to
do something that makes him happy and is creative.
>>Jerry Holkins: Yeah. I mean that's more or less the, I would say that's probably a
universal thing. When I say universal of course I mean the two of us.
>>Mike Krahulik: [laughs]
[laughter]
>>Jerry Holkins: Which is the extent of our universe, by and large. But, yeah, yeah, I
mean I essentially, I want him to, I want him to have, you know, a certain degree of
mastery over his, over his daily life and his expression. I mean for me, and there's
many venues for that. I suspect I have no idea what he'll actually end up accomplishing
and his skill set is still being revealed to me. He hasn't put all of his points in.
>>Mike Krahulik: [laughs]
[laughter]
>>Jerry Holkins: But, no, it's a process that's pretty fascinating to see unfold.
>>Male voice in audience: Does he know to horde all the points for [inaudible].
>>Jerry Holkins: Yeah, exactly.
[laughter]
>>Jerry Holkins: Epic tier.
[laughter]
>>Mike Krahulik: Yeah.
>>Male voice in audience: So do you have, like an agenda or a long-term goal for the
comic? Or are you kind of living in the moment?
>>Mike Krahulik: Do we have a long-term goal for the comic? For the content of the comic?
< And the content just as a general concept like, you know, we sort of see it as our role
to distill a given day or a given moment.
>>Mike Krahulik: And we don't know what we are going to do Friday.
>>Jerry Holkins: We really don't.
>>Mike Krahulik: This Friday.
>>Jerry Holkins: Maybe, we'll, you know,
>>Mike Krahulik: Yeah.
>>Jerry Holkins: Maybe it'll tie into this scenario. Maybe we'll have something really
delicious for lunch.
[laughter]
And then we'll want to capture that -
>>Mike Krahulik: Yeah.
>>Jerry Holkins: moment. But more or less like when we do, when we do comics ahead of
time every now and then we'll do a story line or something like that if we have to leave
town or something like that. But as a general rule, when we do work ahead of time, we feel
like it's cheating. It's core to the experience of creating the comic for us that it be immediate.
And so, that's a reason that we don't, we don't plan ahead. Like, like we sort of like
that, that element of it.
[pause]
>>Male voice in audience: I'm, wondering so, from your site of people Dungeons and Dragons,
like current paper version and the video console games, I was kind of wondering how you split
your time between those on maybe also to hear that compete for my share like to -
something now that the telephone is getting more elaborate?
>>Mike Krahulik: So, he wants to know how we split our time basically between table
top and video games and if they're competing for time. Right?
>>Mail voice in audience: Yeah.
>>Mike Krahulik: Well, I have a set time that I play Dungeons and Dragons. So I have my
weekly game every Monday night that I run. And really, I mean, I spend some time during
the week, you know, planning my game and usually on the weekend, I'll spend a couple hours
?
>>Jerry Holkins: We spend, I would say that we spend a lot of time ?
>>Mike Krahulik: I spend a lot of time thinking about my game. But I don't feel like it competes
for it. I mean, if anything, I think, you know, WoW competes with every other game that
I want to do ?
>>Jerry Holkins: It's a form of human entertainment -
[laughter]
>>Mike Krahulik: Yeah. It's like when that stuff that comes out and like I have to let
Kiko know that I'm not going to be rating this week and then I, you know, but you're
the Healer, how are we supposed to get ICC if you don't have ? I'm like: "I'm sorry,
but--" I mean, WoW is a thing that competes. You know.
>>Jerry Holkins: But, I mean also, you know, the time that you can spend with an electronic
game is pretty dynamic. I mean you can sit down virtually anytime you have free time
at home, you can sit down and have that experience. Whereas the table top stuff it needs to be
a little bit more engineered. I mean you need to set that time aside because it has so many
real world components. And so they tend not to step on each other because the planning
phase is so real for the, you know, the human element.
[pause]
>>Woman's voice in audience: [inaudible]
>>Jerry Holkins: It is.
>>Woman's voice in audience: [inaudible]
>>Mike Krahulik: How do we balance work and play since our--
>>Jerry Holkins: Since our work is play.
>>Mike Krahulik: Since our work is play. Well, it was a lot harder when we worked from home.
>>Jerry Holkins: This is exactly the point I was gonna make.
>>Mike Krahulik: When you work from home, you are always in the office. And so that
was tough, you know, and but once we got an office, we leave at five. We go in from nine
to five and, yeah, I mean, we play, but when I go home at five o'clock, I'm home. And,
you know, I'm Daddy and, you know, I'm makin' dinner and it's fun times. But we needed that
specific--
>>Jerry Holkins: There needed to be a demarcation.
>>Mike Krahulik: Yeah.
>>Jerry Holkins: It was horrible, especially near the end, like before Robert got the office.
Like we thought the office was going to be this huge problem, 'cause like I said, I mean,
the dynamism of getting together and creating a comic about something that is happening
right now, we felt that having an office would injure that immediacy. Which it turns out
is complete-- just not true. Like if you can make comics, you can make comics under a variety
of circumstances, it turns out. But we had a lot of psychological investment in this
ritual. You know, we felt that the context was somehow communicating something important
to the mix or something. And it turns out that that's not true. We just know how to
make comics and we can do that even under those circumstances.
>>Mike Krahulik: And it allows us to sort of be able, you know, when you get in your
car and you're driving home, you can throw that switch and you're like: "Okay, I'm not
making comics anymore ? I'm not checking my email constantly ? I'm not watching Twitter
all the time, like I'm going home to be play Legos, you know." Like, that's, I need that.
[pause]
>>Man's voice in audience: So you sort of reference a lot of current games, I am wondering
if you are introducing your kids as well to like classic games like Super Mario and so
forth, or if you're just playing new versions of those? I know that in some cases it's hard
to play like original Nintendo stuff cause it's hard to play the old stuff.
>>Mike Krahulik: Yeah.
>>Man's voice in audience: I'm just kind of curious about [inaudible]
>>Mike Krahulik: So are we introducing our children to older games or just the new stuff?
I'd say gaming wise he doesn't, he's not really playing anything old, just because I don't
have the consoles in the house. You know, he's playing Super Mario Brothers but it's
the new one on the Wii, you know. And mostly he just bubbles while I run around. But the
hardest part sort of in that, you know, in that concept for me was when it came time
to show him Star Wars. It's like well do you start with the prequels?
>>Man's voice in audience: No.
[laughter]
>>Mike Krahulik: No. You don't.
[laughter]
>>Jerry Holkins: You'll go, you'll go chronological.
>>Man's voice in audience: To the prequel.
>>Mike Krahulik: No. But now it's messed him up to the point to where if I say: "Well that
was in, that was in the second Star Wars is the one you're thinking about." And he's like:
"Well that's the one with the adapts, right." And I'm like: "Well, yeah, that's the second
of the good ones, but there's a real second one that actually has", is you know, it's
tricky. Yeah, I mean, for my--, I might be making more work for myself.
>>Jerry Holkins: It's entirely possible.
[laughter]
>>Mike Krahulik: I'm starting to realize this.
>>Jerry Holkins: Well, I mean it's in, I mean, for now I just, I'll show him something, anything
that I think has a lot of primary colors ?
>>Mike Krahulik: And will appeal to him. [laughs]
>>Jerry Holkins: More or less it sort of like, in the same way any of his appetites must
be satisfied, right? I'll feed him what he'll eat. And that's just sort of how it is when
they're as young as my son is. But, I mean, eventually I hope to have a full and robust
curriculum. That, you know, that will be able to, you know, there'll be tests every so often.
>>Mike Krahulik: [laughs]
[laughter]
>>Jerry Holkins: So long term play.
[pause]
>>Woman's voice in audience: [inaudible]
>>Mike Krahulik: Umm--
>>Woman's voice in audience: How [inaudible]
>>Mike Krahulik: Well, yeah, I man PacMan for me going back is like one of my earliest
memories of playing games.
>>Jerry Holkins: Pizza parlor type thing.
>>Mike Krahulik: Yeah, and it ended up, you know, when I came time to design Gabe as the
sort of the console gamer, it's the most iconic thing I could think of to put on his shirt
that would say "This is a gamer who plays--
>>Jerry Holkins: He plays video games.
>>Mike Krahulic: He plays video games.
>>Jerry Holkins: Try to misinterpret this symbol.
>>Mike Krahulik: Yeah, you know, and beyond that, that was really all I was thinking at
the time was this means games. This symbol means games.
>>Woman's voice: [inaudible]
>>Mike Krahulik: No, the, Gabe in the comic had the tattoo first. And I got tired of going
to conventions and having people say: "Oh, can I see the tattoo?"
[laughter]
>>Mike Krahulik: And I'd be like: "No, I don't actually have it in real life." And so I was
like, you know what screw it.
>>Jerry Holkins: So every convention's so satisfying just ?
>>Mike Krahulik: I actually do have it.
[laughter]
>>Mike Krahulik: Yeah, so I had to get it because I had forced that upon myself.
[laughter]
>>Woman's voice in audience: [inaudible]
>>Mike Krahulik: Somebody else would have to tell us. Yeah. I think it probably has.
Does having kids, has having kids changed the nature or tone of our comic? I think it
probably has.
>>Jerry Holkins: Well certainly there's comics which include children.
>>Mike Krahulik: That's a big way. Yeah.
>>Jerry Holkins: That's a point of demarcation there.
>>Mike Krahulik: But yeah, I don't know that we could answer that as
well as somebody else could.
>>Jerry Holkins: But our, you know, our comic for today has to do with pedophile unicorns.
So it's like, you know what I'm saying, like ?
>>Mike Krahulik: Maybe not-- maybe it hasn't.
[laughter]
>>Jerry Holkins: So a little from Column A; a little from Column B, I guess.
>>Mike Krahulik: Yeah.
[laughter]
[pause]
>>Man's voice in audience: I was wondering how you feel about celebrity and how in certain
circles you're very famous and how that affects you.
>>Mike Krahulik: We've been asked to comment on our celebrity.
[laughter]
>>Jerry Holkins: You don't really get used to that kind of stuff.
>>Mike Krahulik: No. At least if you were not crazy.
>>Jerry Holkins: Yeah.
>>Mike Krahulik: Right? And if you do not actively seek it out ? Exactly, then you don't,
if one does not, it is not something that is--
>>Jerry Holkins: It is not something - that it is possible for us to integrate. Into our
psychology.
>>Mike Krahulik: And we tend to be famous amongst a group of people that are very reasonable,
for the most part. So, like we were going to the bowling alley the other night and a
guy just said: "You're Gabe." And I said: "Yeah." He said: "I like your comic." And
he left. It's like: "Thank you." No flashbulbs.
>>Jerry Holkins: Yeah [inaudible]
>>Mike Krahulik: You know what I'm saying? The kind of thing we have is not what people
think of as--
>>Jerry Holkins: We are not in Us magazine.
>>Mike Krahulik: It's just not that weird, you know. I mean if you go to a restaurant
and someone says: "Hey, I like Penny Arcade." And then they leave. You know, that's about
it.
>>Jerry Holkins: Yeah.
>>Mike Krahulik: Well, I, PAX is different. Yeah. But, you know, we sort of are able to
prepare ourselves for that going in. You know that for the next three days it's gonna be
crazy. But the weirdest thing for me was, I took
my wife to Paris for her 30th birthday and we got up super early, it was like five o'clock
one morning to take a bus trip to Normandy. 'Cause we were gonna do the whole, you know,
World War II tour out there. And we're on the bus going through, you know, farmland,
it's super early, there's like 10 people on the bus--, most of them are old guys who look
like they were probably in World War II and are taking the tour to sort of, you know relive
it. And then there's a young couple next to us and we got off in this little tiny town
and we're looking at a World War II monument, and he just comes over and he goes: "You're
Gabe, right."
[laughter]
That's like: And it's like: "Yeah. I am"
[laughter]
He's like: "I like the comic." And then he left.
[laughter]
And it's like--, it's surreal.
>>Jerry Holkins: I had a similar experience. My wife and I went to Italy a super long time
ago, and Brenda had sent me out to get a bottle of wine for the hotel room. And then she told,
she gave me a call and said that she was gonna meet at the front steps or something. So I
came back and I was waiting there for a super long time and she didn't come down, but I
had a corkscrew in my Swiss Army Knife and I was like: "You know, F it ? I'm just going
to start drinking this bottle of wine." And so I get the cork out and I'm workin' on it,
I mean really workin' on this bottle. And I have the same situation where a person comes
up and asks me if I'm Tyco. And I'm not, this is not the scenario you want.
[laughter]
Like this is, this is not how you want to present yourself. I mean this is not a person
that one looks up to.
[laughter]
This is not an incredible behavior. So that was my experience.
>>Mike Krahulik: Yeah. It's fun. It's the best way to say it, I think.
>>Man's voice in audience: Did you get the cork out?
>>Jerry Holkins: Oh, yeah.
[laughter]
Just long pulls on the, yeah, and then, wax.
>>Man's voice in audience: You probably have a good finger on the pulse of the industry.
Where do you think, yeah, what do you think about the supposed death of-- PC gaming and
sequel of it is--
>>Mike Krahulik: Supposed is probably a good prefix.
>>Man's voice in audience: The, yes, Steve says otherwise, but the, you know how they
have to make these big blockbusters and some of them try to go to franchise, everyone needs
a franchise. Where do you see, do you see it as being a healthy industry or ?
>>Mike Krahulik: What's our take on the video game industry?
>>Man's voice in audience: Yeah.
>>Mike Krahulik: Jerry?
>>Jerry Holkins: Well, one of the big problems certainly as it ticks forward in terms of
computing power, is that the games are so expensive to make that it strips out a lot
of that, a lot of that - the appetite for risk goes down as those amounts start to creep,
and that is true. That is just unfortunately true. But I would say I haven't seen, I haven't
seen, you know, what I think of as innovation - I haven't innovation diluted as a result.
There's so many more channels for people to execute on an independent idea. I mean as
that computing power grows like, the base of people who are creating really interesting
content has grown to. Even in Flash. I mean there's games, there's games that are based
in Flash. Flash is a game platform that is creating games with more sophistication than
I played as a young person.
You know what I'm saying, like the paths to game creation are pretty broad now. Even as
that, that point gets up. And this is where we were talking about the AAA retail title.
That does not represent the entire industry. And it doesn't represent every incredible
idea that comes out.
I mean even like DigiPan-- like some kids from DigiPan came up with some crazy-ass S,
and that stuff, and then here comes Valve and they, they snatched them up. I mean Valve
has the wherewithal to do that. You know they have the, they have the money-- they're in
position to do that. But there's channels like Xbox5 Indy Games and then one step up
from that Xbox Live Arcade and you have PSN--, I mean there's a lot of pretty sophisticated
things coming out that are not a part of the, you know, the industry at large.
There's a lot of great ideas out there that are still happening, MA Teams. You know what
I'm saying? And then you have, like Torchlight ?
>>Mike Krahulik: Yeah, Torchlight's amazing.
>>Jerry Holkins: It's just a pure, it just a very, very pure gaming experience. Twenty
dollars, these guys made it in a year. It's a, you know it's a local company. I mean,
I just, I don't, it's you know, on the retail shelf your game spot, yes, it's always been
a haven for mediocrity. That's not a new fact. But there is, that is absolutely not the entirety
of the, of our creative outlet.
>>Man's voice in audience: So there's gaming companies that are into [unaudible] you like
something that ?
>>Mike Krahulik: It's happened a couple of times. He wants to know if game companies
ever come to us as a very focused, focus group? And it's happened a couple of times, yes.
A lot of times they sort of, they might not come to us with that intention, but they end
up getting it. Because we won't advertise anything unless we play it and like it. So,
you know, if a company comes to us with, I'm trying to think of the last one, well like
?
>>Jerry Holkins: Like White Knight Chronicles?
>>Mike Krahulik: Yeah. Like White Knight Chronicles they say: "Well, do you want to advertise
it?" And we say: "We have to play it first." And so, you know, they send us the game and
we play it and we're like: "Yeah, that's pretty good. Yeah, we'll advertise that." But sometimes
it doesn't go that way and so we say: "No. It's not very good. We're not gonna advertise
it." So they may not come to us wanting an opinion, they just want ads on our site, but
we tend to give it regardless
>>Jerry Holkins: And its, it's a complicated situation for us because there are people
at Penny Arcade whose job it is to try to populate the site with advertising. You know
what I'm saying? And they're paid directly by the amount of advertising, you know what
I'm saying, like that's their job.
>>Mike Krahulik: You sort of see them watching us play it through the window like just praying
to God that we'll like it.
>>Jerry Holkins: It's got to be so scary for them because we'll just say: "No." And we're
basically saying: "No, you can't have any money. No money. We're taking your money away
now.
>>Mike Krahulik: "I know you wanted that money. You can't have it."
[laughter]
>>Man's voice in audience: You are in the [inaudible]
>>Mike Krahulik: DRM and games-- necessary evil or ridiculous waste of time? That was
the question.
>>Jerry Holkins: This just, it's never-- it just never lasts very long. You know they
put the DRM on there and they have, you know, they have some kind of internal study, some
kind of internal numbers that say that the first two weeks of a game are it's prime earning
years-- or, you know what I'm saying like they have an idea, they have some study and
I don't know when the study is from, that tells them that they have to apply that stuff.
But it never, but I mean zero day is still with us. Negative one day, it's, you know,
a month in advance sometimes for games that are waiting for their console versions to,
you know, to appear.
People are modifying their Xbox hard drives as new firmware and they're just downloading,
you know what I'm saying, like you can't really fight it, but at the same time like, I think
they just want to feel like they are doing something. Like it's somebody's job there
to do something and unfortunately there are very few options for them to appear pro-active.
Except for to inconvenience me. That's more or less the policy, I think.
[pause]
Is that the correct answer? I hope so. I hate DRM.
[laughter]
>>Woman's voice in audience: Could you repeat the last question?
>>Jerry Holkins: Uh oh, no pressure. Here, we'll talk to you later.
We'll talk in the cafe?.
>>Man's voice in audience: Okay, so speaking of advertising you guys used to have like
a really [inaudible] policy as, just in terms of like, you know ?
>>Jerry Holkins: We used to have two ads a month. I mean ?
>>Man's voice in audience: But like it was like a big blaring flash job [inaudible]
>>Mike Krahulik: Oh yeah, we for a while we did no animation.
>>Jerry Holkins: Oh, that's still true.
>>Mike Krahulik: Yeah.
>>Man's voice in audience: So what are they now. 'Cause I noticed you do have Flash animated
ads [inaudible]
>>Jerry Holkins: Yeah.
>>Man's voice in audience: Not like obnoxious [inaudible]
>>Jerry Holkins: They can't have audio.
>>Man's voice in audience: Okay.
>>Jerry Holkins: So a long time ago, I mean because, we, we tried to keep the people who
read the site in the loop on that kind of stuff. And what happens is that an ad gets
made for, you know, the entire Internet. And so then eventually we had to create the ad
sizes to be Internet standard, because they weren't originally. So eventually we had to
standardize on that just to get ads at all. And then so many of them were moving to Flash,
that we asked, we asked the readership-- we actually just put up a poll and said: "Is
this okay? Is this okay for us to do." And luckily they said: "Yes."
[laughter]
But no we wanted to keep them in the loop-- I mean, there's still like, like the video
type stuff and I hate it when--
>>Man's voice in audience: [inaudible]
>>Jerry Holkins: Yeah. No way, but I hated when you mouse over something, then it flips
out and does this crazy-ass. Like I don't, I mean--
>>Mike Krahulik: A lot of times if the ad guys have a question, they just send us the
ad and they're like: "This one's questionable." Like--
>>Jerry Holkins: Yeah.
>>Mike Krahulik: And if it's cool then we don't mind, you know.
>>Jerry Holkins: But also we don't offer site branding which is to say --
>>Man's voice in audience: [inaudible]
>>Jerry Holkins: The McGriddle effect, right? Like you can't -
>>Mike Krahulik: Penny Arcade brought to you by Mass Effect 2.
>>Jerry Holkins: Which would be great, cause I love that game, but that isn't something
we offer.
>>Mike Krahulik: Yeah.
>>Jerry Holkins: And so, but like the space on the left and right of this, of the actual
content, like on many sites that is an ad space, you know what I'm saying? But that
is actually not a product that you can purchase. We don't allow that. Like we want it to be
legible first and foremost.
[pause]
>>Mike Krahulik: Thank you guys very much.
>>Jerry Holkins: Thank you.
[applause]