Your average gamer, manning his Taco Bell register or trying once again to whittle down his semester course load, usually doesn't get much out of videogame conferences, which are primarily geared toward well-heeled folks ensconced in the industry and likely years removed from a solid carpal tunnel injury. G.A.M.E.: The Games and Music Experience is a bit different. Sure, it's held in a convention center, but that's only because organizers needed enough space for the consoles. And industry giants will be there, but they'll be armed with material to throw onto those machines. The point? To let you, gaming's bottom feeder, have free rein on more than 700 stations running every conceivable platform and equipped with 150 of the latest titles (including 15 for the Xbox 360). The editors at GameSpot.com are behind this spot of noblesse oblige, and they've also put together an odd mix of analog diversions, including taiko drumming, street skating, martial arts, and break dancing, along with 30 bands and DJs, such as Toph, Moped, and Tussle. Parents are welcome, too — to the old-school arcade of stand-up classics.
G.A.M.E. starts at 5 p.m. on Friday (and continues through Sunday) at Moscone Center, 747 Howard (at Third Street), S.F. Admission is $20 per day, $35 for a weekend pass; visit www.experiencegame.com.
— Michael Leaverton
Skating on thick ice
The worst scene in the execrable film Serendipity involves John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale cavorting at the famous Rockefeller Center ice rink. She: “What's your favorite New York moment?” He: “I think I'm having it right now.” Barf! Whatever you do at the Kristi Yamaguchi Holiday Ice Rink, our own winter recreation area, please don't engage in painfully saccharine dialogue. May we instead recommend laughing at the endless parade of people falling on their asses? If you must, have your San Francisco moment — just don't render it redundant before it's over, causing the people around you to gag.
The rink opens at 10 a.m. daily through Jan. 1, 2006, in Justin Herman Plaza, Market & Steuart, S.F. Admission is $3.50-7; call 956-2688 or visit www.embarcaderocenter.com.
— Hiya Swanhuyser