Game On

In an attempt to make the morning commute to work more palatable, we sometimes think of it as a video game. Race out the door before the timer counts down to zero; Frogger our way across the street to avoid rogue drivers; grab a coffee and bagel for a power-up. San Francisco’s compact size and diverse neighborhoods make it a perfect setting not only for our 8-bit fantasies but for some genuine, real life game-play in the form of Journey to the End of the Night. First concocted by a trio of friends in 2006, every year the competition sets a thousand or so players loose on the night-time streets as they race to six different checkpoints throughout the city and try to be the first to make it to the giant party at the end. Stay ahead of the other participants if you want to win, but watch out for the game’s “chasers” as well. They like to grab as many players as possible and turn them zombie-style into yet more chasers. Use of public transportation is encouraged, as you can’t be tagged if you’re on Muni, but otherwise you have to rely on your own two feet to make your way around the city. Journey to the End of the Night has proven so popular that it has spread to dozens of other cities around the world (Gothenburg and Budapest are playing their own versions on the same night as ours), but San Francisco is the landscape the game was originally envisioned for. Leave your Xbox and your PS3 at home for one evening, and hit the streets instead.
Sat., Nov. 10, 7 p.m., 2012

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