Midnight game launches. We get them on our sunny shores, that is for sure, but they do tend to feel like nothing more than a long wait in a queue for collection of the much anticipated title. With Nik Naks and cooldrinks as entertainment.
The Gears of War Judgment launch party at Games On in Cape Town was just a little different. Obviously, the lack of Nik Naks was maybe a little disappointing for some, but there were hotdogs, and the free cooldrink was replaced with free energy drinks. And there was entertainment on hand.
The entertainment involved the hilarity of a bunch of headless chickens running around on Streets in the Gears of War Judgment free-for-all mode. In fact, in what is (possibly) a first in South Africa, all the attendees at the Games On launch party got to be those headless chickens running around in a competitive LAN hours before the game was available to the buying public in SA.
The launch party, which kicked off at 7pm on Thursday 21 March, was hosted by Games On, with prizes, eats, and drinks sponsored by Prima Interactive, Mweb Gamezone, Liquid Blast and your very favourite gaming site with a zombie connection. The plan was simple. Welcome Gears of War Judgment to South Africa with a revving chainsaw and all out anarchy. Mission achieved we think.
Richard van Wyk from Games On welcomed everyone to his fantastic gaming lounge for the event and let the 32 attendees acquaint themselves with the game by watching trailers. However, nothing could prepare them for actually playing a game that had dropped some familiar elements like active reload, two primary weapons, smaller maps, and team work.
If the lack of active reload will be the great equaliser over the coming months of playing Judgment, on the night, the great equaliser was no-one knowing the mechanics very well, save for a few lucky ones that had early review access or even played the OverRun demo. Cue the aforementioned hilarity of headless chickens roaming Streets, in search of weapons and vantage points, while stumbling across enemies and entering a shotgun shuffle for supremacy. As the night progressed, players became familiar with the four maps in the game, and the competition really kicked up a gear.
Running as a double elimination tournament with the top four staying in the winner’s bracket and the bottom four dropping to the loser’s bracket, there was always a chance of staging a massive come back even after losing once. In the end, it was Kent Jansen (aka ‘Beanibility’) that consistently grabbed top spot and went on to grab first place in South Africa’s first Gears of War Judgment Free-for-All LAN.
The night wasn’t only about winning goodies by playing the game. Kalahari vouchers were habded out to random draw winners and sponsored by Mweb Gamezone and yours truly. Prima Interactive – who distribute Xbox hardware and software in SA – sponsored an Xbox 360 and a copy of the game for a lucky attendee. That lucky attendee was… probably assaulted with a chainsaw by another attendee for the prize…
All in all, we had a blast helping get this event off the ground, and we hope those that attended the event had a blast too. Just next time stop chasing me around with a revving chainsaw. It’s disconcerting enough in the game, but in real life it’s enough to give a zombie a brain attack…
Those prize winners in full:
Random draw winners:
- Bradly Rawlings – Xbox 360 4GB Console and copy of Gears of War Judgment (Sponsored by Prima Interactive)
- Tatenda Shumba – R250 Kalahari Voucher (Sponsored by Zombiegamer)
- Yaqub Asmal – R250 Kalahari Voucher (Sponsored by Mweb Gamezone)
Free-for-all LAN winners:
- 1st Place: Kent Jansen – R250 Kalahari Voucher (Sponsored by Mweb Gamezone) and Liquid Blast products.
- 2nd Place: Jody Williams – R250 Kalahari Voucher (Sponsored by Mweb Gamezone) and Liquid Blast products.
- 3rd Place: Tarryn van der Byl – R250 Kalahari Voucher (Sponsored by Mweb Gamezone) and Liquid Blast products.
We would like to extend a personal thank you to everyone that attended the event, as well as to Richard from Games On, Des and Brad from Mweb Gamezone, Liquid Blast, Glenn Alexander and Prima Interactive for getting involved and their support. Thanks too to Xbox SA who allowed us to operate the event before the game had officially launched in the country.
For more pictures from the event, check out our Facebook Album.
For even more pictures, you can check out the Album by Liquid Blast.