Gamer

Pixilated joy

Chickens, cats, sharks, and sweet dance moves: fall's offbeat video games

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SUPER SMASH BROS.

Platforms: 3DS/WiiURead more »

From brushes to bytes

CAREERS + ED ISSUE Artists find their way into video games, despite a boom-and-bust industry

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joe@sfbg.com

CAREERS AND ED Matt Burdette is a video game environment artist, crafting expansive alien vistas by tapping out ones and zeroes the way a painter flourishes a brush. But unlike paint on canvas, Burdette's vistas are meant to be explored by video game avatars hunting computerized enemies.Read more »

Boss fight

Indie gamers swap ideas at empowering un-conference Lost Levels

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joe@sfbg.com

GAMER Imagine Mario telling Nintendo to piss off.

Fed up, he gathers his fellow video game characters for a venting session: Princess Peach, Master Chief, Lara Croft, Nathan Drake, Sonic the Hedgehog, and other characters, waxing philosophic about more inclusive video games. Games where the damsel isn't stashed in a castle, but included in the hero's journey. Afterward, inspired, they go back to the digital world and make those games a reality.Read more »

Play on

Gamer singles out the mainstream videogame hits of 2013 — and a few smaller picks, too

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arts@sfbg.com

YEAR IN GAMER The year 2013 has been a triumphant, confident peak in a particularly long generation of gaming, and as we gather around various top ten lists to send off the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 in style, let it be remembered that the pair received a more-than-decent eulogy. Most of the year's accolades will likely fall upon three games, and while all involve guns, shooting and explosions, the refinements of those mechanics demonstrate the medium is unquestionably evolving.Read more »

Don't shoot!

Top indies of 2013 make fun without firearms

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joe@sfbg.com

YEAR IN GAMER This list is for all the gamers sick of blasting your last alien, zombie, or oppositional soldier of the moment (Nazis, Soviets, snore). That's it. Done! As indie games grow in popularity, games that eschew the "shoot everything" mentality are becoming easier to find. Get your joystick thumbs ready and enjoy this list of 2013's "top games where you don't shoot things."

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Go team!

Cat suits, dance routines, bowling: the best games for groups

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joe@sfbg.com

GAMER Winter is the time we spend with loved ones, and much of that time is spent trying desperately to escape. Dodging questions about work, romance, or money from your family? Fear not! Read on for the perfect list of multiplayer video games to keep your relatives occupied — games that even Grandma could play without getting (too) lost. Most of the games on this list are for four players, and span the current and next generations of consoles.

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Pros and cons(oles)

Will Microsoft or Sony win the battle for consumer love? Gamer tests out the new consoles.

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arts@sfbg.com

GAMER The next generation of game consoles is officially in stores and consumers demand to know — definitively — which is the superior console. Is it the PlayStation 4 or the Xbox One?Read more »

Goin' back to Gotham

It's heroics as usual in 'Batman: Arkham Origins'

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And joysticks for all

All hail Dominique Pamplemousse! A growing movement -- spurred by gatherings like QGCon and GaymerX -- rallies for diversity in video games.

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joe@sfbg.com

GAMER Video game heroes often fit the same bland archetype: a hetero white dude with short hair and just the right amount of manly stubble. But now some Bay Area game advocates are pushing that burly soldier with the suspiciously large gun out of his closet.Read more »

Best of the Bay 2013: BEST CYBER-GLADIATORIAL WARFARE

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Humans beware. The great robot revolution is nigh, and builders of combat robots have done us no favors by creating machines whose sole function is to destroy. Way to go, guys. But, on second thought, maybe it's for the best that these "combots" exist, and are still obeying their owners by fighting battles — exclusively with each other — inside a giant, bulletproof pen at the annual International RoboGames. This gives us an opportunity now to study their moves — before they launch their surprise attack on the human race. Read more »