Penny Arcade First 15

First 15 is a small part of veteran gaming webcomic Penny Arcade‘s empire, specifically an offshoot of the PATV/YouTube branch. It literally does what it says on the tin, Jerry and Mike (aka Tycho and Gabe, writer and artist respectively) video themselves spending 15 minutes playing a console game from scratch. They cover a lot of indie/small titles like rhythm-roguelike Crypt Of The Necrodancer along with the big name, must-play games like Street Fighter V. Most episodes are available as both edited ~10 min and “FULL“-length versions.

The pair concentrate on genuinely familiarising themselves with the game and making jokes/comments at its expense for each other’s benefit rather than seeking to present directly to the viewer. Once they start playing game footage is full screen with the two reviewers visible picture-in-picture.

The number of views on YouTube is startlingly low given the reach of PA, but their take on a new or unfamiliar game is amusing and useful, especially if you’re already familiar with both their gaming predispositions through their webcomic alter egos. E.g. Mike/Gabe‘s urgent desire to click through any text or cutscene presented to him and evident pain when having to restrain himself for the purposes of the piece.

They’re up to 58 episodes at time of writing (there’s a Shadow Of The Beast reboot, who knew?), so I’d suggest doing what I did and clicking around to watch a few that might interest you. Some additional suggestions to those linked above:

  • Dragon Fin Soup (both struggle with a generic-seeming faux-JRPG)
  • Motorcycle Club (the pair speculate about an odd game mechanic)
  • Toro (Mike gradually masters bullfighting)

I’ve linked the edited versions for the benefit of the curious and time-poor, although I prefer the longer ones. In any case, enjoy!

They are good friends of Pac-Man in the Pac-Land

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