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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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Mass Effect 3 Launch: Reaper Attack Survived

Friday, March 9th; a handful of Cape Town citizens have assembled at the MWEB headquarters after reported Reaper sightings in the city. Seeking refuge, I encountered Desmond Kurz, the leader of the M-Cave. To my surprise, I was greeted with open arms and a bag filled with goodies. After I had arrived, many more gamers, members of the press and other special guests started to pour into the building.

It wasn’t long before we were all ushered into the M-Cave and encouraged to sit down in front of one of the many screens, PC’s and consoles to take the battle to the Reapers. After every last attendee was inside, Kurz, the Head of Gaming at MWEB, hopped on the mic and welcomed all the guests to this special area of their offices.

After the initial welcome, Kurz proceeded to thank the many sponsors who helped make the event possible. Many attendees were eager to continue with their gaming but Bianca McFadyen from EA South Africa had other plans. McFadyen got the attention she deserved when she started giving away prizes in the form of Mass Effect 3 T-shirts and of course, copies of Mass Effect 3 for the PC and PS3. I was lucky enough to have my name end up being drawn but was for a PC copy of the game. I forfeited the prize so that someone who could actually play the game on their PC would be able to enjoy it. Next time I’ll win something, you’ll see.

Those who have seen our coverage of the 2upGamers 4th Dimension, may have seen that one gamer was brave enough to remove his shirt and dance in order to attend this launch event. Well, it seems that his topless dancing certainly paid off as he was lucky enough to walk away with a Mass Effect 3 Collector’s Edition, courtesy of EA South Africa. However, not before he was asked to remove his shirt again in order to get the prize. So, who’s laughing now?

The guys from Rectron were also in the house and were giving advice on what a gamer “should” have in their PC. They also gave away hard drives during the course of the evening. MWEB also handed out spot prizes to attendees who sat down at the “get along” table. This was a table where an Xbox 360 and a PS3 were set up next to each other, hence the unusual name. See? Co-existence can pay off.

The dinner for the evening was the exquisite meal of good ol’ pizza. To wash it down, tins of Red Bull were handed out. Needless to say, gamers were bouncing off the wall and used this energy to take the fight to the Reapers.

As mentioned before, all who attended the event were greeted with a goodie bag upon their arrival. Inside was a copy of NAG, a copy of GamesTM (a brand new gaming magazine in South Africa), MWEB merch, a R100 Kalahari.com voucher an EA game and a 30% off voucher for GamersGate (a local site with over 3500 titles available for download). Nobody went home empty-handed. Pretty awesome, isn’t it?

The event was a huge success. Even though all activity was scheduled to cease at 22:00, the guys from MWEB were gracious enough to let us stay a little bit longer. A big thanks goes out to Desmond Kurz and the rest of the MWEB Team, Bianca McFadyen and EA South Africa, Red Bull, Samsung, Kalahari and Rectron.

I had such a good time that my good ol’ friend Zombie Dredd (thanks for not trying to eat my brain this time) and I were the last two people to leave the venue. Thinking back now, I totally should have helped myself to one of the many posters littering the wall of the M-Cave. It might’ve been the end of the world after all.