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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Sunday, March 3

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Videogames Wed Dec 11 2013

Chicago Native Heading to Madden Championships

gamersshowdown.jpgGarfield Park native Chris Smith headed to Best Buy at 1000 W. North Ave. on Monday in search of the new Playstation 4. As is typical with the most popular system in a new console cycle, they're nearly impossible to track down. When a store gets them in stock, they typically sell out within a matter of minutes (thanks, Twitter). Try to buy them online, and the only way to secure one is to purchase a bundle of items that jacks the overall price up a few hundred dollars. Nonetheless, Smith was determined to find one.

The "Blue Shirts" at Best Buy told him they didn't have any in stock, but that they were hosting a Madden 25 tournament as part of the Ultimate Gamers Showdown on Tuesday, with promotional giveaways during the event that included multiple $50 gift cards, televisions, and best of all, a new XBox One along with a pair of Playstation 4s.

Smith has played Madden for the last six years, but he hadn't gotten a chance to play it on the new console just yet. He also hadn't participated in a tournament ever before. "My friends always told me I should enter one of these," he said. "I came here today hoping that at the least I'd get lucky and win one of the Playstations they were giving away."

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Chad Ruter

Bulls Hittin Thu Mar 08 2012

Bulls Hittin': Thibs on Time Outs & Linsanity

This week on Bulls Hittin': Think you have what it takes to coach in the NBA? This week our host talks to a buzzed and drugged Tom Thibodeau, who walks the BullsHit Man through the Thibodos and Thibodonts of becoming coach of one of the NBA's most successful franchises.


Bulls Mon Nov 07 2011

Assassin's Creed Taps Derrick Rose

You might have seen it this week. You definitely saw it if you watched any NFL football this weekend: Derrick Rose joins Vikings running back Adrian Peterson and UFC fighter B.J. Penn in a new teaser commercial for the next Assassin's Creed video game.

Jim Reedy

Videogames Mon Sep 26 2011

Big Bucks for Video Game Champion

Nick Robbins scanned the vast sahara desert, calmly waiting for something to fall inside his rifle's scope. A trail of sweat dripped down the side of his face. Everything was working against him.

Meanwhile, Steven Naumann was on top of the world. His ethos was echoed throughout, with teams of boisterous followers chanting his name and wearing the same emblazoned camouflage T-shirts that read, "Whack 'em and stack 'em."

Of course, the verbs in this case are figurative. The only thing Robbins and Naumann were whacking were high fives, and their only stacks were of cans of Bud Light. This is the reality of the Big Buck Hunter World Championship, hosted annually at the Cubby Bear. Thousands of humans across the globe compete in regional competition to see which virtual hunter can whack and stack the most virtual game. And after the year-long process of digital hunting, Robbins and Naumann were the only two left standing. The winner was to turn a popular bar-time hobby into a giant-sized check worth $15,000 and a sweet trophy in the shape of a gun.

Top-ranked and unbeaten Robbins chose the Sahara landscape, and his familiarity likely played into his monstrous comeback to down the showy Naumann clan. After a slow start that saw several miscues on cows and ewes, Robbins dug deep into his manhood and picked off rams from the relative security of two surrounding does, and sniped trophy game from the jaws of the desert. He demonstrated clear skill in a game normally played with nothing but liquor for a crutch.

It was a thrilling display of Man's ability to dominate digital environments of man-made distraction, and another reminder that these days people will find any excuse to spray a shit-ton of confetti all over.

Kyle Sparks

Videogames Mon Dec 13 2010

Chicago's Indie Video Game Darling, Erin Robinson

This story was written by Fruzsina Eordogh.

erin_robinson.jpgThe video game industry has grown exponentially over the last decade, enough to now top the film industry by billions of dollars. Much like the film industry, an indie video game scene has emerged, complete with its own annual festival. Chicago has its own indie video game darling, Erin Robinson, whose newest game, Puzzle Bots, won at PAX 10 (the Penny Arcade Expo).

Robinson enjoys designing video games with a retro "old-timey feel because nothing ever happens suddenly; it's very safe game play." ("And the bigger the pixels the more indie your game is," she jokes.) Robinson also writes and creates artwork for video games — she recently did the artwork for Blackwell Unbound — draws comics, and even makes Portal-inspired earrings.

I first met Robinson at Columbia College's 3G Summit, a four-day event aimed at getting more women involved in the video game industry. Robinson's team of high school girls won the 3G Indie Expo Challenge with 3 Flags Escape, a scary carnival adventure/shooter game featuring "frenemies" and acid-puking bears. Robinson is confident 3 Flags Escape would be a popular game if it was ever developed.

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