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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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2up Gamers Second Wave sweeps Cape Town gamers off their feet

Friday, the 2nd of December, a seemingly normal day for most people but for the gamers in Cape Town, it was the 2up Gamers second event called the ‘Second Wave’. The inaugural event was pretty awesome so needless to say, I was anxious to see what the Second Wave had to offer.

The evening started off with Glenn Alexander and the rest of the 2up Gamers team welcoming everyone to their second event. Since these gatherings happen on the first Friday of the month, it’s pretty obvious that the first event took place last month. Gamers in attendance were also informed that Monster Energy has come onboard as a full time sponsor of their energy drinks for 2up Gamers events.

After the welcome, David from Friends of Design (the venue hosts for the evening), informed all in attendance what they were all about. They’re a design school who offer both part-time and full-time courses ranging from web design to publishing. David also dropped a huge bomb about what the future holds for them. From next year, they will be launching a game design course, which is based on a very successful German curriculum I might add. This course will also be both full and part-time. It’s a very exciting development for all gamers. During the course of the evening, Friends of Design were also kind enough to give away part time courses to 2 lucky gamers. How awesome is that?!

Lisa and Wayne from popular local site El33tonline were special guests for the evening. Upon hearing the buzz after the first 2up Gamers event, they decided to fly all the way from Durban to see what the fuss was about and to also tell us more about themselves. They told us about the ‘El33t P33p of the Month’ where the most loyal fan is rewarded for all their contributions during the month. They also informed the gamers in attendance about their weekly online gaming sessions where they host online matches that anyone can join. These take place on both Xbox LIVE and the PlayStation Network. It was great to meet at least 2 members of the El33t team.

Next up on the list was Apex Interactive, and they came prepared with a list of games that they will be distributing in 2012 and man, was it a big list. Here’s what they’ll be bringing to the table:

Sniper Elite 2
X Rebirth
Jane’s Advanced Strike Fighters
Catherine
Torchlight II
King Arthur II
Of Orcs and Men
R.A.W: Realms of Ancient War
Trine 2
Sniper 2: Ghost Warrior
Risen 2: Dark Waters

After showing all the trailers for these upcoming titles, it seems that the representatives from Apex were not done with this crowd. They showed us an awesome gadget called the Wowee. This small box is a speaker but don’t let its size fool you. It uses gel technology to actually reverberate a surface that it’s placed on, thus raising the volume and bass boost output. It has an internal battery and only takes a few hours to charge; what’s even better is that after charging, it has about 20 hours of battery life. Plug your mp3 player or cell phone into this baby and you probably won’t need to buy another portable speaker ever again.

Before the gamers were allowed to go off and socialise with one another, Glenn took the stage once again to make a final announcement regarding the next 2up Gamers event. The next one was scheduled for the first Friday of February but due to an international guest speaker from EA making his way to our shores, the next event will take place on the 20th of January. No venue has been announced as of yet but anyone interested in attending this event should definitely clear their schedule.

After all the presentations and announcements were concluded, gamers were let loose to go do what they do best; play games and mingle with other gamers. Gamer fuel in the form of pizza was on the menu for the evening but after its arrival, it wasn’t long before most of the boxes were empty. Yeah, that right there..that’s hot. What’s even hotter was Mr. Glenn Alexander getting down with the Kinect version of Grease. He boogied until he just couldn’t boogie any more while decimating all challengers at the same time. It seems that Glenn has a bit of Danny Zuko living inside of him.

So was the Second Wave a success? You bet! There were nearly triple the amount of gamers at this event than what there were at the first. Obviously the 2up Gamers team is doing something right.

See you at the next event!