Having read Penny Arcade (www.penny-arcade.com), an extremely popular webcomic focusing on video game culture, for several years now, the thrill I experienced one day a couple weeks back when I went on the site and read that the pair was coming to Carnegie Mellon was only rivaled by the crushing disappointment accompanying the realization that the talk was to be held the same time as a test I was supposed to take that day.

Somehow convincing my professor to let me work around the event, I was excited at the prospect of being able to see the two people who had created a site which had entertained me innumerable times, to be able to put voices to "Gabe" and "Tycho," their online aliases. Unfortunately, I noticed in the ensuing days that the event did not seem well-publicized, but for those who knew, many of whom being faithful readers willing to miss class for such an opportunity, they were not disappointed.

Despite being exhausted from both jet-lag and the recent New York Comic Con, last Monday the two answered questions from the audience for well over an hour. Topics such as the origin of Krahulik and Holkin's collaboration (it all started on the school paper), to Holkin's very limited knowledge of comic book super-heroes (what high schooler hasn't heard of Magneto?), to their list of "must play" games (don't ask – there isn't one) were addressed, usually with humorous results.

At one point a member of the audience even asked where the inspiration for the unique take on Jesus, whom regular readers of the strip will remember has a propensity to "throw up the horns," came from. Krahulik replied that in his opinion Jesus was not some static figure from long ago, but someone who would keep up with the times, who would not be like some stereotypical elder without the ability to relate to the current generation of gamers.

There were more serious moments, though. Holkins, speaking about his job before Penny Arcade took off, remarked that he had essentially given up on a career involving his love of writing. He stressed the importance of not being afraid to fail when chasing one's dreams. Krahulik added that whatever you would like to become, a writer or an artist for example, it is important to actually practice the craft everyday and not just merely think about doing it.

So what's next for Penny Arcade? The two stressed that even before the first Penny Arcade Expo (PAX), their large yearly convention for their readers, there was a surprisingly small planning period, and that most developments over the years have not been part of some well-planned process. However, denizens of the eastern part of the country will be happy to find out that PAX will be coming to Boston in 2010 along with plenty of assurances that it will be a unique experience.

As a final note, the two must be praised for the commitment they showed their fans. Despite having vocally expressed their desire to simply go back to their hotel and sleep, they stayed long enough afterwards to talk to and sign autographs for those who did not immediately leave after the conclusion, making sure that everyone there who wanted an autograph had ample opportunity, proving that the two are worthy of the praise that so often accompanies mention of their names on CMU's campus.