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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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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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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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MWEB GameZone Black Ops II Launch: Going In Guns Blazing

The latest game in the First-Person-Shooter series, Call of Duty, entitled Black Ops II was released recently and what better way to celebrate this than by having a launch party. The MWEB GameZone team did exactly that on Tuesday, the 13th of November; the very day that the game was released.

I arrived at the venue with my fellow journalist Zombie Dredd only to find that we were early..really early. So early in fact, that the employees of MWEB hadn’t even left for the day yet. However, it wasn’t long before other enthused gamers arrived and checked in. Being a launch party hosted by MWEB, it wouldn’t be complete without everyone in attendance receiving a bag filled with goodies.

Shortly after a large crowd had formed, Desmond Kurz and his team lead us through to the famous MCave, the venue for pretty much all of the launches held at MWEB. As soon as people entered the doors, they either made for the food platters or one of the many open seats in front of a console or PC. Once everyone was inside, Kurz hopped on the microphone and welcomed everyone to the event. He also informed everyone about the Challenge-a-Pro competition in which attendees could challenge Call of Duty clan members in order to win some great prizes including Gioteck products, the Black Ops II game and a voucher to go fire some real guns at the False Bay Gun Club. All they had to do was get one kill against a pro to win while the pro would have to get 2 kills on their challenger in order to eliminate them. Pros that would send many a gamer a way empty handed were Chad from High 5, Lee from XtaZ, Nashief from Clan ASF or Brad from MWEB GameZone. Yes, I know Brad isn’t really a clan member; which is probably why people were challenging him most of the time, obviously looking for the easy way out. Tsk, tsk.

It wasn’t long before stacks of pizza came through the door and everyone decided to chow down. Mountain Dew also supplied the MCave with some of their product for the attendees to try out or just to wash the pizza down.

On show during the evening was a MAG motion gun controller. This looked pretty interesting and made me feel like I was standing in the arcade. The only difference is that the shooter was not on rails and the player is required to use the analogue stick to move around. The gun is used to aim and fire. It was confusing at first trying to navigate the level and then the gun started being buggy. I tried aiming straight while in the game but while holding the gun, I would be aiming at the floor. Something was wrong there.

Quite a few attendees actually dressed up for the event and it seems, for one of them, the effort would be worth it. It was a tough choice for the judges but ultimately Janrik Oberholzer emerged as the best dressed as he spent the weekend researching what the characters would be wearing in Black Ops II and materialised it in his costume. He walked away with a copy of the game and a Limited Edition Black Ops II t-shirt that came all the way from Gamescom.

Everyone played as much as of the game as they could. One of the highlights of the evening was the 8-man Free For All match on the Nuketown 2025 map. It was so chaotic to play with that many people on such a small map but man was it awesome.

Following the Nuketown madness, the guys from Clan ASF set up all the console players on the PC’s. I don’t think that I have ever sucked that much while playing Call of Duty. The PC players have my respect. I don’t know how you guys do it.

To end off the evening, Glenn Alexander from 2upGamers, Zombie Dredd from Zombiegamer, Marlon Sasman from Gecosports and I played a few rounds of a mode called “Sticks and Stones”. This mode allows the players to only use a Crossbow with explosive bolts, a Ballistic Knife and a Tomahawk in order to kill other players. If there was ever a mode to make you burst out laughing, it was this one. It makes things very interesting and is a lot of fun. Hell, I’d buy Black Ops II just for that mode if I could.

It was a great launch party and it seems that everyone had quite a good time. There were actually a lot more stragglers this time than usual. I can’t wait for the next launch party. See you there!