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Prototype 2 launch parties spread the Infection

Johannesburg:
The city of Johannesburg seemed calm that night; however, little did it know that a virus had been spreading amongst the population at a rapid rate, this virus was called the Mercer virus… Upon arrival, at the Crown Plaza Hotel in Rosebank Johannesburg, I came into contact with others who seemed keen to spread the infection with me. The plan for the widespread infection was easy enough and it came in the form of Prototype 2, which I might add; had already hit the city of Cape Town at the same time thanks to the team at 2upGamers. With one goal in mind, we all congregated in one of the conference halls to be briefed of the current contamination statistics.

Jarrod Lane from JHBGamers kicked off the event formalities; however, he had already been struck down by the Mercer virus, but he pushed on to provide a sensational introduction to what promised to be great evening filled with Monster Energy drinks, Boerewors rolls and a hands on experience with Prototype 2, thanks to the team at Megarom Games and Maingaming South Africa. After Lane’s initial introduction, Devon Stanton from Megarom Games introduced us to some of the major highlights of Prototype 2, as well as a rather interesting teaser trailer of Diablo III, which made everyone’s excitement levels hit a major high point for the evening.

Once the formalities were out the way, many of the attendees rushed off to socialise, play Prototype 2 and consume as many Monster Energy drinks as humanly possible. If that was not enough, Jarrod Lane and Devon Stanton gave away quite a few Prototype 2 t-shirts and also held a lucky draw, which saw two attendees at the event walk away with a copy of Prototype 2 each.

Overall, the Johannesburg event was a massive success and left a lot of the attendees glowing, which could have been the result of all those Monster Energy drinks, or the fact that they just experienced a really fantastic evening… I think it was quite honestly a little of both.

Cape Town:
Thunder, lightning and pouring rain; all this was not enough to stop gamers from leaving the comfort of their homes to attend the Cape Town launch party for Prototype 2, organised by the guys from 2upGamers. The air was a little icy upon my arrival at the Rygersdal Sports Club in Rondebosch and the crowd of early arrivals was a small one. Did I take a wrong turn somewhere? Was I at the wrong event? Turns out it was neither; it seems as if the weather had made everyone’s journey just a little bit longer.

After a little while, everyone was invited inside and processed at the security checkpoint. Thankfully, I made it past the guards and was ready to spread the Mercer Virus even further. After nearly all of the attendees had grabbed a seat, we were welcomed by Glenn Alexander from the 2upGamers Team. After this warm welcome, the team attempted to make contact with the launch party taking place in Johannesburg, organised by JHBGamers. Unfortunately, we were not able to make contact with them, despite the constant trying. Before allowing those in attendance to go and play Prototype 2, Mr. Alexander decided to give out a few T-shirts to those who could answer questions correctly. Now that’s how you start off the evening!

Three Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 consoles were set up so that many gamers could have a crack at the game at the same time. Man, did they run to those consoles! I swear that I saw one gamer actually standing with a controller in his hand for most of the night. I don’t even think that he had something to eat.

After a little while, food arrived in the form of Hotdogs, New York City Style. The beverage of choice for the evening was Monster Energy Drinks; if nobody was infected upon entering the building, they definitely were after having a sip from that can, with a sugar rush that is.

There were also a few cosplayers who showed up for the event. One gamer was dressed up as a soldier in full military gear while another was outfitted like the anti-hero of the first Prototype game, Alex Mercer, complete with blade-arm. Also, I’m pretty sure that I saw someone dressed as Goku or Gohan from the anime series, Dragonball Z. However, there could be only one attendee who could win the prize of having the best outfit. That prize went to the gamer outfitted like Alex Mercer. You may be asking, “What prize did he get for his effort?” Well, he was lucky enough to receive the Prototype 2 Blackwatch Collector’s Edition. How awesome is that?

All in all, it was a great event. Lot’s of socialising took place and many laughs were had throughout the evening. Everyone in attendance was even lucky enough to receive in-game DLC for Prototype 2, courtesy of Megarom at both events. The end of the evening also had many gamers excited as the 2upGamers 5th Round would be taking place on May 4th, not too long to wait until the next get-together.

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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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2upGamers release the 4th Dimension

The 2upGamers phenomenon has been met with resounding success. So much so, that a bigger venue had to be chosen in order to accommodate for the growing number of attendees with each event. The fourth event entitled the ‘4th Dimension’, took place on the 2nd of March 2012 where it all began for these events, Rygersdal Sports Club in Rondebosch. While it started with about 40 gamers, the number has since grown to close to the 100 mark.

Familiar faces and also some new ones arrived at the venue, eager to get the evening underway. One by one, they were all ushered inside and took their seats before being greeted by the 2upGamers Team of Glenn Alexander, Hylton Arendse and Ashley O’ Neill.

After the initial welcome, the Cape Town Showdown team took the stage to talk about the local fighting game scene and their third event aptly titled ‘3rd Strike’. They are determined to really build up a following of gamers who are fans of fighting games and make their events bigger and better. Currently, the tournaments are only taking place on the PS3 system but the team is looking into including the Xbox 360 after the ‘3rd Strike’. The next event will take place at SettlersHigh School in Bellville on the 27th and 28th of April.

Next up on stage was Nick Holden and Stuart McGarrick from Clan Connection, who explained to the attendees what their plans are for the future and man are they interesting. They intend to focus on more console-driven tournaments and the team is in the process of setting up a Modern Warfare 3 PS3 tournament. After the success of their Xbox 360 tournament, it seems that they are destined to rise up pretty quickly. For those who didn’t know, the last tournament featured the first SA livestream of a competitive final match. The 25th of March is when the PS3 final will take place and that too, will be streamed live. Be sure to keep an eye out for that one.

Desmond Kurz from MWEB was also at the event and had an exciting announcement for everyone present. The 9th of March is when MWEB will be hosting the Mass Effect 3 Launch Event and Mr. Kurz had an invite for one lucky gamer. What’s the catch? Well, whoever wanted the opportunity to attend this awesome event would have to compete for it…in Dance Central. The person with the highest score would win the event invite. Needless to say, a good time was had by all.

Last but not least up on stage was Jeremi “Jeeva” Avenant. It seems as that the night was full of big surprises and Avenant’s project was no different. He definitely had the attention of everyone in the room when he announced the creation of a GamerNET House. Yes, you read that right, a house. The house question is being set up in Boston, Bellville and should be open in a few weeks time if all goes according to plan. The house will feature a 36 point LAN room and there will even be a gaming shop. How awesome is that? Avenant is also involved with another project called Barcraft. This project however is in conjunction with Vitriolic Gaming. According to www.barcraft.co.za, it’s a place to enjoy “beers, babes & battles”. It originally started in America but has now found its way to South Africa, which is great!

Judy Loubser from Takealot was present at the ‘4th Dimension’ and came bearing gifts. During the course of the evening, prizes were given out between the different speakers. I’ll say one thing; Loubser came prepared to make friends with the lucky gamers. Prizes given away on the night include Battle.net Authenticators, Diablo III Beta Codes, a Diablo III Collector’s Edition (when it’s actually released) and finally, a brand-spanking-new 250 GB Xbox 360 Slim console. To all the winners: I am so very, very envious of you.

Even though 2upGamers has become too big for the Friends of Design venue, Philipp Schmid and Lars Espeter were still showing their support for the event. To further show their support, they gave away 10 design courses worth over R2000 each and intend to do so at all 2uoGamers events for the rest of the year. Twenty gamers competed in rounds of Street Fighter to win one of these desirable vouchers.

Since EA could not attend these events consecutively, they sent prizes in order to compensate for their absence. These gifts came in the form of SSX, FIFA Street, Syndicate, Grand Slam Tennis 2, Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning and Mass Effect 3. There were two copies of each game, six for Xbox 360 and another six for PS3. Gamers entered via Twitter to stand a chance to win one of these hampers.

After all the speakers had done their bit, the pizza had arrived and many heads turned after smelling the aroma of the dinner for the evening. Gaming, pizza, Monster energy drinks and socialising; that pretty much sums up the rest of the evening. Familiar faces were seen and new friends were made, a common occurrence at the 2upGamers events.

After everyone had had something to eat, Glenn Alexander hopped on the microphone once again to announce the commencement of the dance-off and fighting contests, which, as you can imagine, was rather entertaining.

Another month, another successful 2upGamers event; at this rate, this community will only continue to grow. The next event is scheduled to take place on the 6th of April and missing it would be a mistake. Keep an eye on www.2upgamers.co.za or check them out on Facebook to stay updated.