The 9 Best Penny Arcade Strips of 2009

Editor’s note: Nothing to say here. The title says it all…. -Shoe

As a long-time reader of Penny Arcade, I’ve acquired the common habit of collecting my favorite strips and slapping them into rotation on my desktop. In my opinion, this was one of their best years yet, and I wanted to share my top PA strips from the last 12 months. With everything that happened in the psychotic whirl of 2009, almost every situation was ripe for comedy, and Penny Arcade delivered in spades.

9: The Unvarnished Truth (June 8)

Ico and Shadow of the Colossus are masterpieces, and I fully expect The Last Guardian to be another case study of video games as an artform. That’s why this comic hurts me. In my heart. Because we know that Tycho is right. That little griffon is totally going to die.

Honestly, have we played a Team Ico game where something adorable didn’t die?


8: Automata (June 12)

It’s always a rare treat to see Gabe try something new with his art, and Automata really hit home in the visual department. The emphasis on black-and-white coloring really reminds me of Dick Tracy and Sin City, and I enjoyed his later completion of the Automata pitch. I can easily see Carl and Detective Regal getting their own merchandise.

No. 9

7: The Wisdom of Solomon (September 23)

Immediately after I read this comic on Scribblenauts, I told my friend about a very similar trick (involving a vending machine and handcuffs). I think I ruined the game for her. Like Gabe, I can clearly be a dick.

6: Lookouts (June 10)

Couldn’t you imagine Penny-Arcade turning this fantasy-adventure into a children’s book series or a board game?

5: All Is Forgiven (June 3)

Not only did this comic premiere on my birthday (23 years old and still looking too young to drink), it was also the day after I was smack in the middle of my first official E3 Press Conference during the Nintendo keynote illustrated in the strip. It’s just that funny because the strip captures, more or less, the reaction of every journalist in the E3 press room. And the grumblings during the press conference in general were not pretty.

By the time Nintendo hit the stellar lineup of Nancy Drew on DS, Style Savvy, and the Wii Vitality Sensor, most of us in the room were starting to pack up early for the Sony keynote, bitterly cursing the plague of casual gaming that had ruined our morning. Apparently, Nintendo had left us old-school gamers out to dry. Christmas in June had been canceled, it seemed.

But then! But THEN. Metroid: Other M appeared and restored our faith in the Big N, and it was like the last 30 painful minutes never happened.

No. 5

4: The Circle of Life (August 28)

Somewhere, I imagine that animated-Batman producer/writer Paul Dini is smiling every time someone hires Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill to do voice acting.

3: Love Bombs From On High (September 30)

It figures that the one Square Enix game I bother playing since Final Fantasy 12 and The World Ends With You is both underrated and underrepresented in the gaming press.

If you haven’t bought Gyromancer online, I will hold you personally responsible for the lack of a sequel (that I wish would appear on DS or PSP).

Please, go to your Internet right now and buy this game.

No. 3

2: The Axiom (December 14)

Really, I can’t completely begrudge Tony Hawk for getting so butthurt about the negative feedback on his latest game. Tony Hawk: Ride must have been a bucketful of cold water right in the junk for a series so used to years of decent review scores for being the same game again and again. Followed by hours of sharp kicks.

I briefly considered giving my copy of Ride away as a Christmas gift but decided that would be unnecessarily vulgar and instead got my friend a nice sweater.

No. 1

1: The Law Of Unintended Consequences (March 27)

Ah. The cream of the crop!

If you didn’t listen to “Downloadable Content: The Penny Arcade Podcast” during its brief run (as far as I know, it hasn’t been updated since last June), you missed out on PA at its finest. Listening to Tycho (Jerry) and Gabe (Mike) ramble on about gaming news and the hilarity inherit in it is oddly refreshing, especially when you realize that more often than not, they’re baffled by the same shit we are. As they bounce several comedic ideas off each other, you see (well, hear) a comic grow from an idea to a finished strip — and it’s 10 times funnier.

This is my favorite strip of 2009, partially because the dialogue is word-for-word how Jerry and Mike discussed the topic at hand and made a punchline. Freaking hilarious.

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