Jerry Holkins provides the "voice" of Penny Arcade. His blog posts are ordinarily freshly published Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, in which he uses high-minded vocabulary and complicated metaphors to review videogames.
Holkins has described his work in this way: "I am actively trying to get people to spend their money." This was in contrast to Jeff Gerstmann's assertion that he sees his role in more of a warning voice, i.e., "how can I save people money?"
Jerry and his collaborator Mike Krahulik have partnered on many endeavors in their time as commentators on the video game industry. Perhaps the best known "side project" of theirs is the Penny Arcade Expo, or PAX, held annually in Washington state. Holkins & Krahulik like to refer to PAX as "everything that E3 is not." It is a gamer-centered event, with playable demos of games currently in development, concerts, panels, and a legendary competition between players called the Omegathon. The Omegathon has combined games like Pictionary (new this year), Halo 3 (before its release), and even Pong (the final showdown during the competition's first year) into a gauntlet of achievement for 20 willing participants.
Jerry has decried the traditional review systems at most major media outlets - like numbers, percentages, and letter grades - because of their inability to capture what a game is really about. Instead, he prefers to simply (or often in his case, complicatedly) outline the game's finer points. This will often include:
- lenghy discourses on a game's online support (with an honest thrashing if things don't work as advertised, as in Tiger Woods '07),
- real talk of the richness of the game's storyline (and relative level of animal hatred he has for the characters, as in Army of Two),
- whether or not the game is a real innovator for its medium.
Holkins is a musician and a particular fan of rhythm games. In the past, he has prophesied about the true potential of games with plastic instruments. Jerry articulated his (perhaps menacing) future of music games thusly:
" I just see living rooms and basements and retail stores full of these simulated instruments everywhere I go, and it's like future is staring me right in the face. - Jerry Holkins, December 10th, 2007
Besides being a writer, musician, conventioneer, gamer, tabletop enthusiast, and co-founder of an online distribution outlet for games, Jerry Holkins is also a philanthropist, having co-founded Child's Play Charity in 2003, which has raised millions of dollars in donations since its inception. Read more at www.ChildsPlayCharity.org