|Date||Jan. 17th 2006|
Penny Arcade is the 50th xkcd comic.
The comic is a reference to the web comic Penny Arcade, which often deals with video games. The character displayed is Tycho, one of the two main characters.
This XKCD references the way Penny Arcade uses inside jokes and implies a certain knowledge, sometimes even an outright geeky level of knowledge, of the subject that is discussed. Actually, much in the same way XKCD does, which lead to the creation of this Wiki!
One could call it a parody, but actually the level of elitism displayed here is hardly an exageration; more like an accurate depiction of something that could very well be observed in a real Penny arcade comic, albeit often accompanied by a tongue-in-cheek sense of self-ridicule. Although the mouseover text suggests the comic aims to "mock" Penny Arcade, in a later XKCD comic called "Penny Arcade Parody", Munroe explicitly praises Penny Arcade as a (quote) "class act, they know their audience, they know exactly what they're doing."
The game refers to an actual game franchise which is beter known as "Secret of Mana" in the English language, or "Seiken Densetsu" in Japan. The original game of the series, called "Seiken Densetsu: Final Fantasy Gaiden", was released in North America in 1991 as "Final Fantasy Adventure" for the Game Boy. The sequel "Seiken Densetsu 2" was released in America for the Super Nintendo under the name "Secret of Mana" in 1993. In 1995, "Seiken Densetsu 3" was released, but as a Japan-only release for the Super Famicom platform. "Seiken Densetsu 3," also called "Secret of Mana 2", is widely considered the best of the series; additionally, its only being released in Japanese creates an exclusivity among gaming enthusiasts that lends itself to they type of banter as demonstrated in the comic. This game can only be played in English via fan-translated emulators. Therefore, it is appropriate for the comic to refer to "Seiken Densetsu 3" as simply "Seiken Densetsu", as it is the only game that the English-speaking gaming world would refer to as "Seiken Densetsu."
Some feel that the is a reference to a game that, on close inspection, doesn't really exist, which may be part of the joke, since only extremely geeky video game enthousiasts (or people who are willing to spend a lot of time on Wikipedia) will notice this. Unfortunately, said people are incorrect, and therefore uniquely find themselves on the outside looking in with regards to this xkcd strip.
"Of course, Penny Arcade has already mocked themselves for this. They don't care."