Penny Arcade has taken its fair share of criticism over the past year, a lot of it stemming from the public comments of co-creator Mike Krahulik. As part of a lengthy and heartfelt post over on the comic's main page, written as a form of new year's resolution, he's addressed that in a very direct manner, apologising for his conduct.
There's all kinds of stuff going on, talk of his past and his feelings towards the site (and its spin-off convention, PAX), but perhaps most important is his realisation and admission that he's acted like a bully.
"As a young person I imagined myself a sort of vengeful spirit", he writes. "A schoolyard Robin Hood who attacked the strong and popular on behalf of the social outcasts. I'm 36 years old now though and I realize what I am is a bully."
"I may have been the one who got beat up but I sent plenty of kids home in tears. I also realize that I carried those ridiculous insecurities into adulthood. I still see people who attack me as the enemy and I strike back with the same ferocity as that seventh grader I used to be. I'm ashamed of that and embarrassed. The crazy thing is I don't even necessarily believe the stuff I say a lot of times. It would probably be more noble if I did. The truth is I just say them to be mean. I say them because I know they will hurt. It's pretty fucked up."
Like I said, it's heartfelt stuff. A lot of the storm around Penny Arcade's actions this year haven't just been about Krahulik's comments; they've been about the dismissive way in which those affected felt he behaved. Like he wasn't saying sorry and seeing what was wrong with making rape jokes, he was just sorry that he'd been called out.
It's hard to say that now. "I have every intention of taking the things I've learned this year to heart and changing", he ends. "I've said I'm sorry for the things I've said but I've never apologized for who I am. I need to separate the busted kid from the man I am now. I guess that's my new years resolution. Might be harder than losing ten pounds."
Resolutions [Penny Arcade]
Image: Adam Merrifield