Double Roundup: 2upGamers May And Trenchtown's June Launch

Posted: 5 June 2013
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At May's 2upGamers event in Cape Town the Wii U and PC gaming saw some action, Trenchtown was launched in a big announcement, cosplay took centre stage, Couples Doubles was a hit, and the Celebrity Challenge hit a snag.

2upGamers May was once again held at Trinity in Green Point in Cape Town. Amusingly, although everything was set up in time, the event started late because half the gamers got stuck in traffic (and officious) chaos caused by the three-way catastrophe of the second night of the brandy festival, the last day of the World Economic Forum, and the opening of the first Burger King branch, all of which occurred within 100 metres of each other and blocked off access to other parts of the city.

2upGamers May

Once it got going, however, May's event, "Judgement Night" (in honour of the evening's Gears Of War: Judgment tournament), was quite packed with activities, including a FIFA 13 tournament on both the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3; a Cape Town Showdown fighting tournament; and some less serious encounters in the Couples Doubles event, on the Wii U, and on PCs that EMA Tech kindly set up for the evening.

The second leg of the Forza 4 MWEB GameZone Celebrity Challenge was also scheduled to take place but the celebrities (whomever they may have been) never arrived. I don't think anyone cared (ha!). However it was good to see Tamsyn Lee Brown from Good Hope FM who stopped by to make sure that no one was beating her winning Forza 4 time from April's event. She takes her gaming seriously.

Events And Presentations
2upGamers May: presentations
Above: Mandy Meredith, Cameron from Genshiken.UCT Anime Club, and Stephen Smit.

After a welcome by Glenn Alexander from 2upGamers, Mandy Meredith from Nintendo South Africa, which has been a big supporter of 2upGamers over the past 18 months, took to the stage to say hello and tell the crowd a bit about some of the Nintendo eShop promotions that have been running in the local store. Next, Cameron from Genshiken.UCT Anime Club spoke about the club's anime-swapping activities and then Stephen Smit, the organiser of the inaugural Geek Pride Day event, introduced it to the audience and encouraged everyone to attend (it was held on 25 May; unfortunately I couldn't attend).

After Stephen's speech we were introduced to some of the members of FLS (Fallen Lobotomizers), the clan that won the recent Gears of War: Judgment tournament organised by Microsoft and MWEB GameZone and then it was on to an introduction to cosplay (more on that later). After that Brad Kirby, from MWEB, was given the microphone to announce the kickoff of the Mad Catz 2up Cup, a FIFA 13 ladder challenge that is being run by MWEB (more on that later as well).

It was then time for one final announcement, and this was a big one. Glenn invited Clint O'Shea (Zombie Dredd) on stage to unveil that 2upGamers has been reworked from a section 21 company (a non-profit company) into a proprietary limited company with three divisions: community events (such as the monthly 2upGamers gathering), competitive e-sports events (to be managed by Clint, and which will be affiliated to MSSA (Mind Sports South Africa)), and professional events (such as hosting corporate functions with a gaming aspect). Clint also announced that the first e-sports event would be held at Trenchtown in Observatory on 1 June - see the end of this article for a roundup of that.

Gears Of War: Judgment
2upGamers May: Gears Of War: Judgment

The big tournament for the evening was Gears Of War: Judgment, which was run on eight Xbox 360s that were set up in the middle of the room (in the newly dubbed "Zombie Pitt"), complete with comfortable couch seating. Thirty players took part, including the members of FLS, so the competition was fierce.

Kent Jansen of FLS won, with Sebastian Stroud of FLS placing second and Ze Snake of CMR placing third.

2upGamers May: Gears Of War: Judgment

2upGamers May: Gears Of War: Judgment

2upGamers May: FIFA 13

The FIFA 13 tournament was run by eGamer and MWEB upstairs in one of the corner lounge areas and the results counted towards MWEB's Mad Catz 2up Cup ladder. Around 25 players played both home and away matches in two separate pools - one on the Xbox 360 and the other on the PlayStation 3.

The winners of each console pool faced off against each other on both consoles to ensure that neither platform had an advantage. Mubeen Gaffoor, a PlayStation 3 gamer, ended up beating Francois van Schalkwyk from the Xbox 360 pool and he won himself a pair of Gunnar gaming glasses.

Cape Town Showdown
2upGamers May: Cape Town Showdown

Meanwhile, tucked away in the other upstairs lounge corner, a Cape Town Showdown Tekken Tag Tournament 2 event was held. Di Lhong was the winner and he received a Mad Catz fighting stick.

2upGamers May: cosplay
Above: KomboKitten and Yamaki Chiya, with Glenn Alexander.

Two cosplayers who featured heavily at this year's Free Comic Book Day events, and who also placed in the top 14 of its cosplay competition, were invited to attend 2upGamers to introduce everyone to cosplay. During the kickoff presentations KomboKitten/Genevieve Lesch and Yamaki Chiya spoke about Cosplay South Africa and encouraged everyone to get involved while they showcased their very impressive costumes, which they made themselves.

2upGamers May: cosplay

Cosplay comprises more than just making costumes and dressing up as a character from television, film, comics, games, manga, or anime. Dance skits are also a part of the culture. A number were featured on the programme during Free Comic Book Day and at 2upGamers KomboKitten and Yamaki Chiya each presented a performance during the course of the evening.

Need For Speed: Most Wanted
2upGamers May: Need For Speed: Most Wanted on the Wii U

A Wii U was set up to run Need For Speed: Most Wanted for anyone who was interested in some casual open-world driving and I spent a good part of the evening playing and watching others play. Bar a brief press introduction to the console at the end of last year, this was my first real experience with the Wii U and I was particularly interested in seeing this game as it was launched at 2upGamers in November. Part of that event included a fastest-lap competition on the Xbox 360 so I was able to experience the game and the handling, set some lap times, and evaluate the graphics that evening.

2upGamers May: Wii U GamePad
Above: The Wii U GamePad showing map information in Need For Speed: Most Wanted.

I was quite impressed with the experience on the Wii U. This console has much more to offer than just casual family gaming. I obviously couldn't compare directly but the Need For Speed: Most Wanted graphics seemed as good as what I saw (or certainly remember) on the Xbox 360, bar some very obvious banded gradients in the sky at night. The controls were just as responsive, which is really what counts, and the rather large size of the GamePad didn't get in the way or feel uncomfortable, as I thought it might, although I would still like to see if that's the case after an extended gaming session. I did, however, find the L1 and R1 buttons very difficult to reach.

Need For Speed: Most Wanted utilises the GamePad's screen by either displaying what is on the television screen or a map of the area with your location marked. The map was quite helpful on a couple of occasions when we got lost in the city and needed to figure out how to navigate onto the freeway and out into the countryside (to do some high-speed driving). The rest of the time the screen doesn't really serve a purpose, though, because if you're concentrating on the game there simply isn't enough time to look down at what the GamePad is displaying. This, of course, isn't necessarily the case for other games - Luigi's Ghost Mansion in Nintendo Land uses the GamePad screen very effectively to allow one player to see information that the other players must not see.

The only weird inclusion I saw in Need For Speed: Most Wanted on the Wii U was a billboard that featured a Mii character (presumably the player) in a wanted poster. It was bizarre and surreal (and very out of place), especially considering the game's intent to offer graphics that are as realistic as possible.

EMA Tech And PC Gaming
2upGamers May: PC gaming

PC gaming has been underrepresented at 2upGamers events, primarily due to logistics and setup issues, I think, but EMA Tech, which attended April's 2upGamers, took note that evening and brought a few PCs to allow people to play some games at the May event.

2upGamers May: EMA Tech

EMA Tech sells gaming hardware and peripherals so once again its CEO, Andrew Botha, and his team set up a cool display of some of the items the company distributes. (Plus, of course, everything looks better bathed in the glow of LEDs).

Couples Doubles
2upGamers May: Couples Doubles
Above: Good Hope FM DJ Tammy B (foreground, far right) watches a Couples Doubles contest.

2upGamers launched a new event in May - Couples Doubles. Although it's geared for couples to play games casually as a team and have some fun together the term "couple" is very loose - basically you just need a partner so if you're single you don't have to feel excluded and can just grab a friend or any random gamer lurking in a corner (if that's your thing).

Good Hope FM DJ Tammy B stopped by to see if her Forza 4 celebrity lap time was still on the leaderboard and since there were no celebrities to contend it (so, yes, she still has the fastest time!) she spent some time talking to gamers and watching the Couples Doubles action.

EMA Tech sponsored movie-ticket prizes for the winners of the Couples Doubles event. The games included kicking soccer balls to try and score goals on the Xbox 360 with the help of Xbox Kinect and bowling on the PlayStation 3 using PlayStation Move.

2upGamers May: Couples Doubles
Above: Magician Russell Fox (left) and Kombo Kitten Yamaki Chiya (right) competing in two-player challenges.

2upGamers Trenchtown June
2upGamers Trenchtown June: Call Of Duty: Black Ops II
Above: ALV (foreground) in a Search And Destroy mission against XtaZ in the Call Of Duty: Black Ops II final.

The inaugural 2upGamers e-sports event was held at Trenchtown in Observatory on Saturday, 1 June. The event comprised a 2v2 (a two-member team versus a two-member team) Call Of Duty: Black Ops II Search And Destroy tournament on the Xbox 360 and a 1v1 FIFA 13 tournament in the same format as the 2upGamers May event: home and away games and both an Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 pool, with the winners of each pool facing off on both consoles in the final. There was also more cosplay action and lots of sponsored prizes and products for attendees. (Read Zombiegamer's full report here.)

Unfortunately the FIFA 13 tournament concluded just before I arrived but I was told that 28 players entered and the contest really got going in the second round once the more experienced players had knocked out many of the beginners. Mubeen Gaffoor, who won the FIFA 13 tournament at 2upGamers May (see above), once again triumphed and walked away with some great prizes.

Eighteen players (nine teams) participated in the Call Of Duty: Black Ops II Search And Destroy tournament. I arrived in time to watch the third- and fourth-place playoff, as well as the final, in which ALV beat XtaZ in a very skilful, well matched game, resulting in a great end to the inaugural 2upGamers e-sports event.

2upGamers is held monthly in Cape Town. See the Facebook page and Twitter for more information, announcements, and to find out about registering for the next event. 2upGamers June is scheduled for 21 June and Trenchtown July is scheduled for 13 July. Visit ZombieGamer's Facebook album for more photos from the 2upGamers May event.

Tags: #cape_town, #games

On The Internet
2upGamers: Facebook | Twitter
Zombiegamer: Official Site | Facebook | Twitter

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