A little change of pace here.

I’m a big fan of the long-running webcomic Penny Arcade. For those of you, likely many or most, who’ve never heard of it, it’s a comic about videogames: games themselves, gamers, the gaming industry, and many other tangents relating to videogame culture. The strip is by turns clever, rude, snarky, obscene, surreal and occasionally targeted at things so specific that it can make no sense at all if you don’t get the reference. Personally, I love every flavor and eagerly look for new strips every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

And over the last few years, as both PA creators Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik (aka Tycho and Gabe) have become fathers, on occasion the strips have become something else. Poignant.

Click for full comic.

Which is exactly how the strip from this past Friday struck me, particularly in light of the little dude currently sleeping upstairs. Even though he’s just nine-weeks old, and we’re likely a few years away from the kind of interaction and rule-setting depicted in the strip (based on a real discussion between Mike and his son), I couldn’t help but feel a very real empathy for Gabe in this strip.

The world today is so much different than it was when I was a kid–and I quite honestly can’t even imagine how different it will become in every passing year–that this kind of sentiment is going to hit me again and again. It’s a crazy feeling to want for Cooper to grow up and go out and have a life, and at the same time want for him to never have to deal with all of the bad things that life has to offer.

Sometimes fatherhood is a very strange new perspective.

Big kudos and thanks to Mike and Jerry for doing what they do.

It’s also worth mentioning that Mike and Jerry have also used their vast Internet power (in 2010, Time Magazine included the PA creators in their list of the 100 most influential people in the world) to do some incredibly great things, including the foundation of Child’s Play.

Child’s Play is a charity dedicated to getting games and consoles and other donations for kids into hospitals. It started out as something akin to a glorified toy drive in their home state of Washington, but thanks to PA fans worldwide it quickly bloomed into a significant charity. They’ve already raised $2.1 million in 2012 so far, and the year’s not over just yet (hint hint).