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2upGamers come out swinging in the 5th Round

It was another icy-cold day in Cape Town on May the 4th, but it wasn’t enough to stop gamers from coming out to attend the 2upGamers 5th Round event at Rygersdal Sports Club. This time, the team decided to go with a fighting-game theme; hence the appropriate title for this event. However, there were also a few Star Wars references due to the fact that it was Star Wars Day. Needless to say, “May the fourth be with you” was uttered many times during the course of the evening.After everyone had been ushered inside, Glenn Alexander entered the hall in MMA apparel while strutting towards the stage with “Eye of the Tiger” playing over the speakers. Everyone was welcomed to the event but they were also informed about a change in the schedule; EFC Welterweight Champion, Jadyson Costa was unable to attend the 5th Round due to a double booking. However, to make up for his absence, Costa promised to attend the next 2upGamers event.

Nizar Abrahams, the owner and manager of Readers Den Comic Shop at Stadium on Main in Claremont, was the first guest up on stage. Abrahams just dropped by to inform everyone of “Free Comic Book Day”, which was being hosted by his shop. Mr. Abrahams also came prepared with two Hardcover Graphic Novels of Halo and StarCraft to give away to the attendees.The 2up team took the stage once again as they had some more announcements. Sadly, Ashley O’Neill, one of the founding members, has decided to step down as one of the organisers due to a new development. To create more balance, the team introduced their 2 new members in the form of Lood van den Berg and Franco Duncker. Some more exciting news followed this announcement (crazy, right?). Mr. Alexander’s day job, which is at 4 Elements Gaming Festivals or 4EGF, will be running the 2upGamers Events in the future. 2upGamers will now also be a non-profit organisation so that the team can give back to the community. It’s great that this is growing. Hopefully the team’s wish of going national with 2upGamers will actually become a reality sooner than they expected.Friends of Design were in the house once again and just like they promised at the previous event, they brought 10 vouchers for design courses. But since it was Star Wars Day, those interested in the vouchers had to fight for them, Jedi style. This was done by using pool noodles for Lightsabers; these had to be used to knock the balloon that was taped to your opponent, off their body. The battle between Light and Dark side was rather exciting to watch but so funny at the same time.

In addition to winning those coveted vouchers, winners of the duels also received Darth Vader “Who’s Your Daddy?” T-shirts courtesy of the lovely people at Springleap. They run a design website in order to help designers out there to make a name for themselves. Every two weeks, a design contest is held and the winner receives $500. Also, artists receive a cut of whatever art of theirs is sold on the site. Be sure to check them out at www.springleap.com Next up were the guys from eGamer, who decided to open up by Rickrolling the audience. Nice one! However, that wasn’t all. They also introduced a new feature for future 2upGamers events; they will hold mini tournaments where gamers can play to win prizes. The 5th Round had a FIFA 12, 2 vs. 2 tournament, which was quite successful. It seems that they may be onto something here. Winners will be receiving some of the latest EA games.

Wikus and Johan from Ozone Energy Drink were up next and they spoke about their new product but also letting 3 attendees taste their drink in order to get some feedback. They also announced the first clan that they would be sponsoring. This lovely sponsorship went to the Xbox 360 clan known as High 5. The guys from Ozone are pretty keen to help the Esports community grow so expect a few more sponsorships very soon.One of the special guests for the evening was Cape Town born Vince Andrews, who played Sgt. James Heller in the Prototype 2 live-action trailer (can be seen here: http://goo.gl/mJKPZ ). He wasn’t able to make it to the Prototype 2 launch party but made up for it by attending the 5th Round. According to Andrews, the shoot lasted 3 days and consisted of long hours. He also showed us a few behind the scenes images from Soweto, the location for the shoot. Apparently some of the locals were a little concerned, as anyone would be if they saw someone in full military apparel. Andrews was also sporting one of the Prototype 2 jackets of which only three were made. Man, I could use one of those. They look pretty awesome.

Last but not least was Reinhard Rheeder-Kleist from MWEB or more commonly known as “Chocs”. Unfortunately, his “Dredd Master”, Desmond Kurz could not attend the 5th round due to unforeseen circumstances. Chocs handled things pretty well though; handing out CS: beta keys to attendees to those who wanted them and also informing everyone about a competition. A competition that would allow the winner entry into the M-Cave on May 15th for their Diablo III launch party. This could be decided in only one way and that way was by competing in a Star Wars Kinect Dance-off. The event can only be awesome if gamers have to step into the spotlight to get their invitation.

After all the formalities, everyone was sent off to socialise, play games and of course, eat some pizza. However, the pizza didn’t last very long. I’d say that it took about 10 minutes for all the pizza to be devoured. Thanks for keeping at least one slice for me! These events are really becoming one of the highpoints for each month for me. Once again, the event had quite a few stragglers long after the event was supposed to end. I swear this is becoming an exclusive little club. “The Stragglers” doesn’t really have a ring to it. I guess I’ll have to think of a better name before the next event.

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Free Comic Book Day 2012 met with resounding success

Not everyone knows this but I have always been fascinated by comic books, graphic novels and the different characters that are featured therein. I haven’t read many since I was much younger and have never really found a good place to purchase them. Well, that and someone stole the small collection that I did have when I was younger. I never found out who that was. Anyway, I was recently informed about a place called Readers Den Comic Shop and it seems that they would be hosting an event called Free Comic Book Day (FCBD) on the 5th of May. I was in disbelief but I decided to head down to a centre in Claremont, Cape Town called Stadium on Main to check it out.

I arrived at the venue to find that Free Comic Day was no small event; it was more of a festival. I arrived at around 08:45, thinking that I could still get in line before most of the people. I couldn’t have been more wrong. When I arrived, there were more than 100 people already waiting. Hell, it might have even been 200.

Shortly after getting into line, owner and manager of Readers Den, Nizar Abrahams hopped onto the microphone and welcomed all the comic book fans to Free Comic Book Day. According to Abrahams, FCBD is an international event in which over 2 million comic books are given away for free and that his shop was handling the Cape Town part of the event. After this welcome by Abrahams, everyone was allowed to purchase discounted comic books, graphic novels, posters and even some figurines. It was like someone told the attendees that free iPhones were being given away. Yes, it was that hectic.

People had also formed a queue in order to get into the actual store. After making my way into that queue, it took nearly an hour to get into the store. However, when I did, I felt like I had walked into a little piece of heaven. Everything had been marked down for the event and the first 50 people also received goodie bags provided that they spent at least R100 inside the store. Unfortunately, I was not one of those 50 people.

In addition to the well known comic books, there were also a few local artists launching their own comic books at the event. Mutabor Sculptures were also present, showing off some of their fine work. Glenn Alexander from 2upGamers attended FCBD in order to let the attendees play one the best comic book games on the current generation of consoles, Batman: Arkham City.

There were also many cosplayers that attended the event. People dressed up as characters from films, comic books, manga and anime. I wouldn’t be able to name them all but I’m pretty sure that I saw Batman, Spider-Man, Superman, The Spirit, a Sith Lord, Black Widow, Loki, the Red Hood, Wonder Woman, Supergirl and Harley Quinn. I just loved how everyone’s costume looked so damn good. I’d really like to try my hand at cosplay sometime. Also, their efforts didn’t go unnoticed, the people with the best costumes walked away with some nice prizes.

All in all, I felt that the event was a huge success and really enjoyed myself. It’s a pity that it only happens once a year. Either way, I feel that I’ll be able to start my comic book collection from scratch now that I know about Readers Den. I only had 2 regrets; firstly, I should’ve gone much earlier and secondly, I just wish that I had more money to spend.

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Look & Listen Diablo III midnight launch a rocking success

Look & Listen, situated in Fourways Johannesburg, held one hell of an epic Diablo III launch party! Upon arrival to the midnight launch, gamers were treated to some rather tasty snacks, coldrinks and a phenomenal evening of entertainment. The event kicked off at around 21:15pm and gamers attended in the masses. Among the attendees was the team from Megarom Interactive, official distributor of Diablo III in South Africa.

Apart from the main highlight of the release of Diablo III, the team at Look & Listen entertained gamers with stylish fire dancers. The fire dancers thrilled the crowd with intense, theatrical movements using various tools of the fire dancing trade, which included the world renowned Poi – A pair of roughly arm-length chains with handles attached to one end and bundled with wicking material on the other, and Staffs – A rod of wood or metal, with wicking material applied to one or both ends.

If fire dancers were not enough, the crowd was also treated to an exuberant performance by local South African metal band, Agro. Agro enticed the crowd with a powerful performance that really set the mood for the launch of one the most anticipated games of 2012. Cliff Crabb, lead singer of Agro, also hyped up the fans at the Diablo III launch with some fantastic giveaways, which included Diablo III merchandise and other awesome goodies.

Formed in Johannesburg, South Africa in the early 1990’s, Agro have been the forerunners of Heavy Metal on the African continent for many years and continue striving to enlighten all in their path, preaching the true ethics of real metal! To be honest, Agro’s music can be best described as powerful, heavy, fast, intriguing and ultimately symphonic. The band truly knows how to entertain a crowd and many attendees to the Diablo III midnight launch were rocking the night away in style… Cosplay style!

While I have attended many midnight launches in the past, the team at Look & Listen really blew my mind! Here is hoping to attend many more launches like this in future.

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Operation: Ghost Recon Future Soldier launch event

PRIMARY MISSION OBJECTIVE: INFILTRATE MILITARY STRONGHOLD LOCATED AT CAFE CULTURE IN FOURWAYS JHB. FURTHERMORE, GATHER INTEL ON FUTURISTIC SPEC MILITARY TECHNOLOGY AND RENDEZVOUS AT LZ DESIGNATED ALPHA CHARLIE FOR EXTRACTION.

SECONDARY MISSION OBJECTIVE: CONFISCATE MILITARY HARDWARE, LOCATED AT THE CAFE CULTURE, FOR FURTHER ASSESSMENT AT ITF HQ.

MISSION REPORT: THE ITF SQUAD DESIGNATED ROMEO FIVE ARRIVED AT THE DMZ AT APPROX. 1930 HRS AND PROCEEDED STEALTHILY TO THE DESIGNATED TARGET BUILDING. UPON APPROACHING THE BUILDING, ROMEO LEADER PROCEEDED TO BREACH THE FACILITY USING A WELL PLACED BREACHING CHARGE. ROMEO LEADER THEN ORDERED THE SQUAD MATES, DESIGNATED ROMEO CHARLIE AND ROMEO ZULU, TO ENTER THE COMPOUND AND ASSESS THE ACTIVITY INSIDE.

THE SQUAD FOUND INSIDE A GATHERING OF AGENTS BEING ADDRESSED BY A MAN IDENTIFIED AS GENERAL DEVON STANTON OF THE MILITARY SOFTWARE DIVISION CALLED MEGAROM. HE WAS ACCOMPANIED BY THE NEFARIOUS LEADER OF THE LOCAL TERRORIST CELL ONLY IDENTIFIED BY THE DESIGNATION JHBGAMERS, A MAN ONLY REFERRED TO BY THE CODE – NOODLEZA, ALTHOUGH SOME SOURCES HAVE ALLUDED TO HIM ACTUALLY BEING A CERTAIN JARROD LANE, WHO IS WANTED IN SEVERAL COUNTRIES FOR THE CRIMES OF WEAPONS SMUGGLING, EVENT CO-ORDINATION, RALLYING TROOPS FOR INTEL OPS, AND THROWING ORDINANCE INTO UNREACHABLE PLACES.

WITH OUR INCREDIBLY STEALTHY CAMOUFLAGE, WE BLENDED IN PERFECTLY WITH OUR SURROUNDINGS AS WE PROCEEDED TO ASSESS THE BRIEFING THAT THE AGENTS WERE RECEIVING VIA THE OVERHEAD PROJECTOR AND INSTRUCTIONS GIVEN BY GENERAL STANTON.

WE LEARNED THAT THE MILITARY TECHNOLOGY IN DEVELOPMENT BY MILITARY MANUFACTURER, DESIGNATED UBISOFT, FAR SURPASSED OUR OWN. SOME OF THE TECHNOLOGY HIGHLIGHTED IN THE BRIEFING INCLUDED SENSORY GRENADES, WHICH WHEN THROWN INTO AN OTHERWISE UNVIEWABLE AREA WILL REVEAL THE ENEMY LOCATION, EVEN THROUGH SOLID OBJECTS, AND THE SOLDIER MAY THEN FIRE THROUGH THESE SOLID OBJECTS TO ELIMINATE THE ENEMY. HOWEVER, THIS IS ONLY TRUE WHEN IT COMES TO CERTAIN SOLID OBJECTS AS WELL AS THE DENSITY OF SAID SOLID OBJECT.

WE ALSO LEARNED OF PRECISE MILITARY TACTICS EMPLOYED BY THESE SO-CALLED “GHOSTS”, WHICH WE CAN ONLY REVEAL AS A DIVISION OF THE ENEMY’S FORCES. THESE GHOSTS ARE APPARENTLY SO ADEPT IN THEIR SKILLS AND TACTICS THAT THEY ARE ABLE TO ELIMINATE SEVERAL ENEMIES WITHIN THE SPACE OF A FEW SECONDS.

ANOTHER PIECE OF TECHNOLOGY HIGHLIGHTED IN THE BRIEFING WAS THE CAMOUFLAGE TECHNOLOGY EMPLOYED BY THE GHOSTS. WE SUDDENLY FELT VERY INADEQUATE IN OUR CAMOUFLAGE AND GILLY SUITS, AS THE CAMOUFLAGE TECHNOLOGY ILLUSTRATED IN THE DEMONSTRATION LITERALLY RENDERED THE GHOSTS INVISIBLE TO THE HUMAN EYE.

GENERAL STANTON ALSO DEMONSTRATED THE PROFICIENCY IN MILITARY TECHNOLOGY, SIMPLY REFERRED TO AS “KINECT“, WHICH WE SUSPECT MIGHT BE CODE FOR SOME SORT OF NEW VIRTUAL TRAINING TECHNOLOGY TO INCREASE THE EDGE OF THEIR SOLDIERS IN THE FIELD. SOMETHING CALLED GUNSMITH, MILITARY SOFTWARE TO AID SOLDIERS ON THE SHOOTING RANGE, WAS DEMONSTRATED ON THIS KINECT DEVICE AND SHOWED NOT ONLY THE ACTUAL SHOOTING OF TARGETS, BUT ALSO THE ASSEMBLY AND DISASSEMBLY OF WEAPONS, WHICH WAS FURTHER ENHANCED UPON, BY THE ABILITY TO CUSTOMISE YOUR WEAPONS PIECE BY PIECE.

AT THIS POINT NOODLEZA, USING SOME SORT OF STEALTH DETECTION TECHNOLOGY, MANAGED TO CAPTURE ROMEO LEADER AND ROMEO CHARLIE AND HAD THEM BROUGHT TO HIS HQ OVERLOOKING THE MASSES. THERE THEY WERE QUESTIONED, BUT SURPRISINGLY NOT HARMED. INSTEAD, THEY WERE GIVEN MILITARY CODES WHICH COULD BE USED TO DOWNLOAD SOME OF THIS FUTURE TECHNOLOGY FOR THEMSELVES.

ROMEO LEADER AND ROMEO CHARLIE WERE THEN RELEASED AND GENERAL STANTON THEN PROCEEDED WITH THE BRIEFING BY SHOWING THE AGENTS A PREVIEW OF YET MORE TECHNOLOGY, WHICH IS TO BE MADE AVAILABLE AT AN UNANNOUNCED TIME.

WHEN THIS WAS OVER THE AGENTS IN ATTENDANCE ALONG WITH ROMEO FIVE WERE THEN ALLOWED TO EXPERIENCE THIS NEW MILITARY TECHNOLOGY FOR THEMSELVES AND FOUND IT TO BE QUITE A STEP FORWARD IN THE ENDLESS MILITARY RACE. THERE WERE MULTIPLE VIRTUAL TRAINING CONSOLES AVAILABLE FOR THE AGENTS TO PERUSE THROUGHOUT THE FACILITY. ROMEO LEADER EVEN TRIED OUT THE KINECT SIMULATOR WITH THE GUNSMITH TRAINING MODULE.

WE MET WITH SEVERAL OF THE AGENTS AND COLLABORATORS WITHIN THE JHBGAMERS AND MEGAROM CELL AND CONSUMED SOME OF THE RATIONS AND DRINKS PROVIDED, AFTER WHICH WE WERE THEN GIVEN THE OPPORTUNITY TO YET AGAIN GAIN MORE MILITARY TECHNOLOGY AS PROVIDED BY MEGAROM.

SEVERAL ITEMS WERE DISTRIBUTED AMONGST THE AGENTS AND ROMEO LEADER MANAGED TO GET HIS HANDS ON SOME OF THE MORE IMPORTANT TECHNOLOGY WHICH WILL BE BROUGHT BACK TO HQ FOR FURTHER ASSESSMENT.

WE DO NOT KNOW WHAT JHBGAMERS OR MEGAROMS MOTIVES ARE, BUT I THINK UPON FURTHER ASSESSMENT OF THE INTEL AND TECHNOLOGY GAINED AT THIS TOP SECRET CONFERENCE, WE SHOULD BE ABLE TO ASCERTAIN WHAT THEIR PLANS ARE SO WE CAN MOVE ON TO PHASE TWO OF OUR MISSION.

WE HAVE INCLUDED SEVERAL SURVEILLANCE SHOTS WHICH WERE TAKEN DURING THE MISSION FOR YOUR PERUSAL.

***END OF TRANSMISSION***

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2upGamers 6th Gen: Shaky Start with a Strong Finish

It was once again the first Friday of the month and that means another 2upGamers event. It took place on the 1st of June 2012; this time at Peninsula Cricket Academy. It meant a longer drive for me but I was excited nonetheless.

I arrived at the venue just before the scheduled starting time of 18:30 and thought that the event may have started. I got upstairs and then realised that I was wrong. Things were still being set up and didn’t look close to being done.

There was quite a delay but after a while, Hylton Arendse got things underway by welcoming the gamers to this new venue and letting us all know what was on the agenda for the evening. It turns out that Glenn was in Johannesburg busy with another event not relating to the 6th Gen.

First up were the guys from LG, who brought along one of their new products. This came in the form of a 3D TV, which was capable of enabling players to play a split-screen game but still allows the players to see the full image across the screen. This is done by overlapping the images and giving the players different sets of glasses in order to see the images separately. I had only heard of this kind of technology before; seeing it in action was an absolutely brilliant experience.

Next on the microphone was Philipp Schmid from Friends of Design with guests from Blankets for Africa. Schmid showed off a game entitled “Run Vlokkie Run” in which players control a sheep and have to dodge different obstacles in order to get its wool shaven off to produce blankets. There are different power-ups throughout the levels which will make the sheep move faster or even bypass obstacles. He also mentioned that the game will be available to play on PC, Mac and Real Player.

Nick Holden from Clan Connection then took the stage and told everyone what they’re all about; their main goal is to develop competitive gaming in South Africa to a point where we can compete on an international level. Their site isn’t ready yet but be sure to keep an eye on www.clanconnection.co.za. Holden then called up MWEB’s Desmond Kurz to tell everyone about the upcoming Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (MW3) tournament that MWEB, Apex Interactive and Clan Connection will be holding called the King of Console Tournament. It will start off as a Free-For-All tournament in order to determine the top 16 players on both Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. The 16 on each platform will then fight it out until they are narrowed down to the top 4 players. The top 4 players on each console will then do battle as a team to decide the victor. The best part is that anyone can enter and stand a chance to win prizes worth over R25 000. How awesome is that?

Nintendo South Africa’s Communications Manager, Mandy Meredith was up next. She told everyone in attendance about some of the upcoming games from Nintendo. Project Zero, Kingdom Hearts 3D and Luigi’s Mansion are just a few of the titles that were mentioned. Meredith was rather excited about a game entitled Spirit Camera: Cursed Memoir and then proceeded to show us a rather chilling trailer for the game. She also informed us about the DS Lite’s comeback as it is now retailing for only R999. Also, she didn’t come empty handed; Meredith came prepared with mugs, a Mario hoodie, copies of Mario Tennis and Pandora’s Tower and Resident Evil holographic covers. Can I get a 3DS over here? Anyone? No? Okay.

Last but not least was Wikus from Ozone South Africa, who mentioned that their Ozone Energy Drink would be launching very, very soon. He also introduced something called the ‘Ozone Circle’, which will become a regular feature at future 2upGamers events. The Ozone Circle will be home to exhibition matches that will take place on different platforms and with different games. Wikus also announced that the PlayStation 3 clan known as F34R would be the next clan to be sponsored by Ozone. Congratulations go out to the guys from F34R!

By the time that all the speakers had finished saying their piece, the pizza had arrived and everyone was free to go play games, socialise and chow down. The clans High 5 and F34R went head to head in a series of MW3 matches but not before the power tripped and shut off their consoles. After the technical hiccup, the matches continued and had many attendees focused on the action.

Despite a shaky and delayed start to the proceedings, the event was great. Everyone had a really good time and to me, that makes a successful event. Despite the problematic acoustics at the venue the occasional heckler in the audience, I felt Hylton Arendse did a great job of driving the evening into the right direction. In the end, people left with a smile on their face; including the 3 journalists who were last to leave at around 01:30, about half an hour after the venue’s doors had been closed. Ah, good times. See you at the next event!

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ICON 2012: Gaming and Cosplay at its best

It was a cold Saturday afternoon in Johannesburg. The cold front had hit the Highveld, but it did not discourage thousands of gamers, comic book fans and Cosplayers from attending one of South Africa’s largest gaming conventions, ICON.

Currently in its 21st year of existence, ICON has become one of the largest gaming events in Johannesburg that features a vast array of stalls and activities to enthral its many fans. ICON’s core focus has always been on comics, role-playing games, board games and the like. Some of the more popular franchises at the event were Warhammer 40k, Magic the Gathering and Pokémon. We set out to find out what it was all about, and boy were we surprised.

Upon arrival we were met by the event co-ordinator, Grant Charlton, who filled us in on the various activities and displays at the convention. We then proceeded to the Cosplay area, which showcased various ladies and gents dressed up as their favourite anime or video game characters. The Cosplay event was held by AI-Fest, a Johannesburg based company focused on bringing Anime-related entertainment to the people. Additionally, ITF Gaming had a chance to chat further with Grant Charlton regarding the starting point of ICON and its inner workings (The interview can be viewed in the video below).

While taking a look around the expo there was quite a large amount of stalls available to consumers, which specialised in role-playing items (swords, hammers, etc.), board games, card games, action figures, comic books, DVDs, t-shirts, the list goes on. There literally was something for everyone.

A tuck shop was set up that provided all the self-professed “dodgy” food served at ICON 2012. Proceeds made from the food sales were then donated to Lory Park Zoo in support of the upkeep of the animals. A very noble cause indeed.

Some of the more exciting activities held at the event included a Cosplay competition, role-play tournaments and intense Magic the Gathering games held across numerous rooms throughout the event location.

There was a lot to behold, and quite frankly, not enough time to go through it all; fortunately, ICON is held over a full weekend, so anyone in attendance could return to the event the following day, provided they had a weekend pass.

For those of you have not had the opportunity to attend ICON 2012… We have included an awesome video, which includes a brief walkthrough of the main hall and interviews with local and international Cosplayers. Additionally, the dynamic duo responsible for A.I Fest tells us a little bit more about the concept behind their brand.

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Old faces and very new tricks: Nintendo stand at rAge 2011

‘I waited impatiently behind a kid who didn’t really seem to know what he was doing’ a twenty-five year-old male rAge Expo visitor tells me, as he begins to talk about his experience of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D. ‘The funny thing is I didn’t even know that the game was going to be here, as it was one of this years most highly anticipated 3DS release.’

It is interesting to me that Nintendo has managed to constantly breathe new life into its now long-standing characters such as Link and Super Mario. I watched children that were as young as I was when I first met Super Mario on the SNES console, enjoy a mass multiplayer game on the handheld 3DS console with all too familiar characters. It got me thinking that Nintendo has managed to establish its virtual concepts as a real-world playground of Cops and Robbers or Tag; As Nintendo is becoming a fundamental part of how children learn and develop through playing.

It is no surprise really, that Nintendo has managed to do this. After all, the company has been around since 1889, when it started out creating card games. It has a lot of experience in being sensitive to the needs of a changing society. The real question is, does the company simply ‘leave luck to heaven’ or does it have a multitude of ingenious minds that continually reshape old ideas into something new and relevant for today’s gamers, be it the long time fans ot those just getting their hands on their first console?

ITF Gaming, editor and owner, Darryl Linington says, ‘Nintendo has built a phenomenal reputation over the years, and I personally believe that the company has a great approach when it comes to fun, education and family orientated entertainment.’

He continues by saying, ‘I remember back when I was 6 years old, my father came home with this contraption that would change my life forever. The contraption was a Nintendo NES and I had heard about them on the playground at school. I watched eagerly as my father set it up, and then eventually let myself and my older brother figure out how it actually worked. Once we figured it out, I remember playing Duck Hunt, Hogan’s Alley, Excite Bike and the ever so popular Super Mario Bros for days on end.’

‘I thank Nintendo for introducing me to video games and compliments of this introduction, I have learnt so much over the years. I feel that video games have inspired me to be the person I am today, and I hope that the industry will continue to inspire and focus on developing young minds through education, imagination and inspiration.’ He concludes.

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Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D Review

Developed by Capcom, Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D is the latest third-person shooter for the Nintendo 3DS, but do Zombies truly shine in 3D? Let’s find out.Gameplay:
Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D places you in various locations and allocates a time limit in which you have to take on as many Zombies as humanly possible. Although each level is more like a mini-game you seem to get sucked in quite easily (who doesn’t enjoy shooting zombies!). The gameplay itself is addictive, challenging, great fun. Rushing to dispose of that last Zombie before the timer runs out is especially exhilarating, the one thing I found myself doing on various occasions was try to beat my previous score; this adds a nice element of replayability to the mix.During the first few levels the controls felt awkward and often made me wish the 3DS had a second analogue stick, but to honest the control structure is perfect and actually works quite well. The only downfall to this title is the fact that each character seems to move around as if they are on a summer vacation.When it comes to the actual title itself, it feels like the developers rushed through the development process, slapped on a cool looking cover and shipped it quicker than a Zombie outbreak. My reason behind this conclusion is that this title offers no storyline and only six group missions to play through. This was disappointing as I expected so much more from this title.A great new feature called Skill Slotting allows you to unlock 30 skills and equip three of these skills to a character; these vary from better weapon handling to resistance against being instantly turned into a pile of moosh by a larger enemy. Although this is a great feature it still doesn’t make up for the lack of storyline and the unfinished feel of this title.Resident Evil: The Mercenaries also features a demo of the upcoming Resident Evil Revelations, although this is a very short demo of Revelations it is looking pretty promising.

Graphics: 
Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D looks amazing and it’s probably one of the best looking titles available on the 3DS, it even looks better than The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time when it comes to visual appeal. The characters, enemies and environments look great regardless of whether you are playing in 3D or not. Speaking of characters Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D has a selection of eight characters Chris Redfield, Jill Valentine, Claire Redfield and hunk; I wont mention all of them as that kinda spoils the fun. 

Sound: 
The sound in Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D is fast paced, action packed and definitely suits the title, but just like the rest of the title it lacks variety. Before each mission starts you are given a brief overview on what you will need to accomplish, this is done via a well scripted voiceover that sounds fairy decent.

Online: 
Local and online play is available to play, but just like the single player counterpart it lacks storyline and depth.

Conclusion: 
Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D is honestly fun and addictive its only downfall is the lack of content provided and the absence of a much loved Resident Evil storyline. The graphics are superb and the sound is fantastic it’s just a pity that it felt like a rush job as it could have been such a stunning title.
The Breakdown:
Gameplay: 7/10
Sound: 6/10
Graphics: 8.6/10
Online: 5/10

Predominantly reviewed on Nintendo 3Ds.

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Heroic mutants and devious demons: Megarom at rAge 2011

The Megarom stand was probably one of the places that I spent most of my time at rAge this year. What excited me the most was 2k’s The Darkness II. It was similar to the first game in the comic-based series, except this time it featured quad-wielding, meaning that you can wield four weapons simultaneously. The protagonist Jackie Estacado can now use two guns and two demon arms at once. The player also has more control over summoned minions and the graphics have been given more of a comic feel through the introduction of the cell shaded graphics. Even at this early stage in production (this was not even a Beta version yet) the game looks and plays flawlessly, making for an enjoyable experience.

Additionally, Megarom showcased a preview of Assassin’s Creed: Revelations that was almost hidden away in a booth, like a contract killer in the shadows. Dark Souls was also on show and is anticipated as one of the hardest games to be released in the near future. The demo definitely lives up to being difficult as I could not even get past the first opponent the first few times I attempted to.

Aside from this, I played the latest Marvel title, X-men: Destiny, which predominantly appears to be a third-person beat-em-up, action title. X-men: Destiny allows the player to alter the destiny of his/her character by creating unique mutants as he/she plays throughout the game. I also tried my hand at the latest Final Fantasy, however I am out of practice and I didn’t get very far in the demo. One thing I did notice was the new Final Fantasy has opened up and will be staying true to the original concept, by offering players a non-linear experience… unlike the previous title.

Megarom also hosted a preview of Tomb Raider. The demonstration went a little further than the footage seen at E3 earlier this year. It showed that Lara can visit locations that are seen far off in the horizon, completely reinventing the franchise as a sandbox title. The Hitman preview also looked promising, although I couldn’t help thinking that it wasn’t bringing anything new to the table, unlike the Darkness II.

The Megarom stand and events definitely stood out amongst the others, but what else can you expect from one of the top leaders in video game distribution in South Africa?

Due to certain restrictions, ITF Gaming respected Megaroms restriction on photosensitive products.

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rAge 2012: ITF Arrival

As the sun rose over the hustle and bustle of Jo’burg, the ITF Team prepared to charge into rAge! The preparations were complete, Darryl’s ominous surveying of the state of affairs in general, Brady did his two thousand and first sit-up, Jonathan awkwardly hugged his last victim and I did my last odd job. rAge Expo 2012 was at hand. We assembled, ITF Gaming T-Shirt and Press Pass clad, and all squeezed into Darryl’s car. As we screamed towards the Coca-Cola Dome, Brady was astounded, as his last memory of the Dome was 2 years ago where he remembers only grassland and trees.

Entering the event, we all put on our most patriotic poses and charged into the chaos which is rAge. Jonathan charged in, immediately charging through barriers and awkwardly hugging Silent Hill’s Pyramid Head and I did my best to rock out with Mario and Luigi, while Darryl and Brady retained their civility and respectability.

ITF Gaming will be covering rAge 2012 this entire weekend; If you see us, feel free to say hi! We will have several spot prizes on offer periodically and we will all be in ITF Gaming T-Shirts. Expect to see coverage of various stalls and presentations popping up throughout today and the rest of the weekend, and feel free to give us your feedback.