[Another 2010 Game Developers Choice Awards announcement, and I think the Penny Arcade folks are well deserving of accolades, especially given their great work with Child's Play and their genuine, infectious love of gaming in all its forms.]

The 2010 Game Developers Choice Awards have announced that the key figures behind popular webcomic Penny Arcade, the Child’s Play Charity and the Penny Arcade Expo events -- writer Jerry Holkins, artist Mike Krahulik and business guru Robert Khoo -- will be awarded the prestigious Ambassador Award.

The Special Award honors an individual or individuals who have "helped the game industry advance to a better place, either through facilitating a better game community from within, or by reaching outside the industry to be an advocate for video games and help further our art."

It is chosen by the elite Choice Awards Advisory Committee, part of the highest honors in game development acknowledging excellence in game creation, which includes game industry notables such as Ben Cousins (EA DICE), Harvey Smith (Arkane), Raph Koster (Metaplace), John Vechey (PopCap), Ray Muzyka (BioWare), Clint Hocking (Ubisoft), and many others.

Holkins, Krahulik and Khoo will receive their award for their genuine, gamer-friendly empire they've built over the past decade, lovingly skewering video game culture and developers while building up a following, events and an industry-leading video game charity that help epitomize the positive elements of 'gamer spirit'.

Penny Arcade itself began in 1998 when high school friends and life-long gamers Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik began to pen the webcomic, which featured two semi-autobiographical gamers who joked, argued and swooned over all things video gaming. The website soon grew in popularity as gamers spread their favorite comic strips to friends, and the comic garnered a loyal following of like-minded game fans.

After years of financial difficulties, the comic duo met Robert Khoo, who quickly became the team’s business manager, and helped to create a burgeoning empire centered around the comic, which now includes the Penny Arcade Expo (PAX), a huge bi-annual gathering of gamers that hosts tabletop, console and PC games while celebrating gaming culture.

As well as drawing over 100,000 game-positive geeks to the events in Seattle, Washington and now Boston, Massachusetts every year, the team created the Child’s Play Charity in 2003, leveraging their large fanbase to help support children’s hospitals with games, toys and money. In 2009 alone, the charity raised $1.78 million dollars in donations from gamers and a host of game development and publishing studios. For these community and philanthropic successes, the Penny Arcade team is jointly receiving the Ambassador Award.

"The Penny Arcade crew might be some of the most flippant, adorable game fans out there," says Meggan Scavio, Event Director for GDC. "So obviously, we’re delighted to recognize their efforts in providing a genuine voice and event for gamers, and working with both fans and developers in the Child's Play Charity to raise millions of dollars for a great cause."

The trio will be present to collect the Ambassador Award at this year's Game Developer's Choice Awards ceremony, held immediately following the Independent Games Festival Awards on Thursday, March 11, during GDC 2010 at San Francisco's Moscone Convention Center.

Choice Awards organizers have also recently confirmed Valve co-founder Gabe Newell as the recipient of the Pioneer Award, as well as debuting 2010 regular awards finalists led by Naughty Dog's Uncharted 2 and Thatgamecompany's Flower.

For further information about the Choice Awards, please visit the official Game Developers Choice Awards website. For further information about GDC and to register for attendance, please visit the official Game Developers Conference website.