A plumber.  Skid marks.  The runs.  Well, running.  And gas.  Probably not quite the things that make up an average Friday night around your place.  However, these were the key ingredients to greet the around 80 attendees to the most recent 2upGamers event on this past Friday.

A Plumber

This 2upGamers’ event (other than being a regular gaming social) was the Cape Town leg of a three legged launch party for the latest entry in the Nintendo stable – the Nintendo 3DS XL.  Following the obligatory welcome to those who decided that the Olympics couldn’t match up to a social with fellow gamers, Glenn introduced Mandy Meredith from Nintendo SA who used her (surprisingly short) time in front of the audience to announce that two of the extra large new handhelds were up for grabs.  Ongoing sponsors Friends of Design decided that it was the perfect opportunity to offer one lucky 3DS owner in attendance a part time study course simply for being there with handheld as his plus one.

Next up was Cape Town’s latest “esports club” – GecoSports.  With a venue in Stadium on Main in Claremont and boasting 16 26” JVC TVs, 4 Xbox 360s, 4 PlayStation 3s and a 4meg Mweb Business ADSL line, Marlon and Gareth have some great plans for their business venture.  We will be bringing you plenty more next week in an exclusive feature on what is the “first Cape Town club to be associated with MSSA.”  Suffice to say that GecoSports offers plenty for the gamer, including regular pro tournaments, a multi-level membership structure, retail and the plan to make “esports recognised as a profession rather than an underground activity.”  Of course, no guest speaker ever leaves 2upGamers without giving something away, and GecoSports had three Pro Memberships to give away to some tweeters.  And if you are a Street Fighter and Forza fan, we’d suggest you keep your eyes on them, as they have some plans for the games in September.

Charl Bosman from GameBuddies was on hand to introduce his social network which has been around four years in his head and two years in development.  Coming from a rental and retail background, his plans are now up and running in Beta phase and the future plans and expansion of the site should prove a valuable first stop for gamers looking to sell or buy games.  Along with the classifieds – which will match up “wants” with “available” – the site will also contain “people driven content” and a place for “gamers’ to express themselves.”  Charl’s hopes are to “build a community” and assured everyone that what is currently visible on the site is only “5%” of what he has planned.  Oh.  And prizes.  There’s an Xbox 360 up for grabs.  Run along.

The supported charity for the month was ‘Blisters for Bread’ who were represented by Janine from PSFA and SeanO from Good Hope FM.  The Peninsula School Feeding Association is an NPO which has been around since the 1950s and currently feeds around 23 600 school children across 140 schools every day at a cost of R1.90 per child.  Blisters for Bread is the organisation’s charity drive which does exactly what it says it does… Gives you blisters…  By participating in the event which happens on the 26th of August, your R35 registration fee goes straight to this great cause.  You can – if so inclined – simply donate the entry fee and stand watching your friend’s exercise from the sidelines.  PSFA also has a drive which allows an individual to “sponsor a child”, as well as a corporate option to sponsor a school for a year.  If you are in the position to assist, hit this link and do your bit for a better South Africa.

Strangely, the next portion of the evening appeared to follow (a little later than anticipated) completely guilt free.  Following the general thumbs up for the food at 7th Gear, there really was no need to revert to the gamer classic of pizza, and that didn’t thankfully happen.  The stunning mini-hotdogs, samoosas and pies all proved a hit once again – as did the R10 beer.

Belly’s full, it was time for the plumber to make his official appearance.  Around 12 gamers huddled over their (and loaned) Nintendo 3DS’s to compete in a little Mario Kart action.  The racing was so intense that trying to attract the attention of participants was impossible.  It’s clear that the crazy Italian remains a popular attraction to gamers of almost all ages.  Oh well, let’s see what everyone else is up to.

Skid Marks

Over on the other side of the venue were a bank of screens around 900% bigger than the new 3DS XL.  Obviously this was not portable gaming, but we’d like to think size does matter.  Hooked up to these monsters were six Xbox 360s – four of which were running the Forza 4 tournaments.  Class A was being run as a straight up one versus one splitscreen affair while hot laps for R1 classs and C class (complete with the MS Wireless Speed Wheel) were proving to be more popular than expected.  As the races progressed it started to become clear that two competitors were going to be vying for top owners over all three events.  After sixteen drivers kicked off on Hockenheim Short, the eventual winner was clan CMR’s Satin06.  Over on the R1 hot laps, there were plenty of attempts by the entrants.  As soon as a time was set, another competitor would simply shave a split second or two off.  The two contestants who sat at the top were Rockspider and Satin06 with the latter eventually taking it with a clean lap of 1:49:752.  Rockspider was not to go away empty handed however, and set the fastest lap time for the class C laps early in the evening and watched no-one beat it.  In the end 48:346 was good enough to take it.

Well done to the contestants and to the winners who walked away with copies of the game and vouchers for Takealot.

The Runs

Elsewhere, those looking for alternative modes of being involved were pretty much catered for.  In fact, it’s fair to say that other than offering attendees a first person shooter, there was more variety in gaming than any previous event.  eGamer was on hand to run their FIFA 12 tournament.  Dance Central was there for those looking to prove their rhythm was not a hidden talent.  Joy Ride for the Kinect proved racing could still make you look a little foolish while having immense fun.  But potentially the highlight of the (later) evening was the “official” London Olympics 2012 game for Kinect.  Whether it was slightly drunken bravado or the Olympic spirit which was the catalyst is unclear, but watching grown men run like a scared rabbit on a treadmill and jumping into the air like Jumpin’ Jack Flash was both terrifying and absolutely hilarious.  If they didn’t win a prize for their efforts, they certainly would’ve felt the efforts in their joints the following day.

As the last attendees ran out of gas, another 2upGamers crossed the finish line.  See you all first Friday next month?

More pictures from the event can be found here.

For more on the Nintendo 3DS XL itself, allow me to direct you to r0gue’s article from the JHBGamers’ event.  He clearly paid a little more attention than me…