PAX, the yearly gaming convention held in Seattle, Boston and Melbourne. Co-creator Mike Krahulik announced the ideological split in a blog post, as part of his New Year's resolution to be less of "a bully."
"You'll notice that it is no longer the Penny Arcade Expo," Krahulik writes. "It's outgrown us and it belongs to the gaming community at large now not just PA fans. Someday I expect to attend a PAX and not even be recognized. That's honestly fine with me. I don't want the material on PA or who I am to keep people from attending and enjoying PAX."
Penny Arcade similarly distanced itself from the charity it started, Child's Play, when Krahulik and co-creator Jerry Holkins realized the comic's content was impeding the charity's outreach, Krahulik says. Child's Play is now its own organization that Penny Arcade supports from afar.
Much of Krahulik's resolution stems from "a difficult year" where he received negative public attention for things he said on Twitter, the Penny Arcade blog and at PAX. In 2010, Penny Arcade ran a comic that made light of rape, and Krahulik and Holkins responded to outcry by selling merchandise supporting the strip – the "dickwolves" debacle. Krahulik and Holkins removed the dickwolves stuff from its stores, but on a panel at PAX Prime 2013, Krahulik said that pulling the merch was "a mistake." His statement reopened the wound.
At PAX in Melbourne this year, moderators approved a panel with the description, "Any titillation gets called out as sexist or misogynistic and involve any antagonist race other than Anglo-Saxons and you're a racist." This put the spotlight back on Penny Arcade's sensitivity gauge. Also this year, Krahulik tweeted a series of messages widely construed as transphobic.
"I've learned a ridiculous amount this year," Krahulik's resolution reads. "About myself and about other people. It's been a difficult year, probably the hardest in my life and I realize I brought most of it on myself. That's a sobering realization. I also realize that I've made it harder for the people I care about, my friends and my family. I can't be this guy anymore."
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