I’m sure it seemed like a good idea at the time. Lock 32 gamers into a room representing the two rival consoles and watch them beat each other to a bloody pulp. Then of course, make sure the world can watch it happen. What a pity that such a good idea turned into a great idea – sans the blood.
On Sunday 17 June 2012, Mweb, Clan Connection and Apex Interactive kicked off the ‘King of Console’ Tournament. The idea is to use online prelims to whittle down the around 90 entrants in the Modern Warfare 3 Free-for-All to 16 players each on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.
Those 32 players are now (almost) all in attendance at Mweb’s Mcave and it is Friday 22 June 2012. There is a battle line drawn as ‘Team PS3’ faces down ‘Team Xbox’. “Hit him in the face” someone screams. Sadly, no-one listens and all attention turns to the introductions by Mweb’s Desmond Kurz and Clan Connection’s Nick ‘Giraffe’ Holden. The rules are laid out: “Let’s have a clean fight.” “No punches below the belt.” “And no biting… we’re talking to you Zombie.”
With that, the – sadly virtual – bloodshed began. The PlayStation 3 players were up first. Each of the 16 players have three Free-for-All rounds to play over six groups. Points were awarded in Formula 1 style for place finishes. After three rounds, the four highest point’s scorers would be the team to represent ‘Team PS3’ in the finals against ‘Team Xbox’. The action was tight but in the end the top four finishers were: Spyro_13579, CaldenBartlett, eVo_iRockstar and VeLoCiiTY_74. Take a break and eat some pizza chaps…
While the players got better acquainted over said pizza and soft drinks (the food and drink of champion gamers) consoles were swopped and readied for the Xbox players. In what proved an even tighter affair than the PS3 rounds, the four representatives for ‘Team Xbox’ were only finalised in the final round of Free-for-All. The competition was so tight, that position four and five were separated by a 0.01 K/D ratio difference when they finished on the same points. In the end, XtaZ Eos, Google ZA, XoTic HAzzardZ and Rorke ZA were the guys that had the weight of Xbox expectation thrown on their shoulders.
Before the main event kicked off, the eight top finishers were thrown into a Free-for-All competition to showcase the Gioteck range of peripherals. Earlier in the day South African distributor of the range – Apex Interactive – had introduced the products to the Cape Town Media [which somehow included the clown known as Zombie Dredd – Undead Ed]. The main focus of the two year “young” peripheral company is to offer competitive gamers “first party quality at third party prices”. The range features the cross-platform headsets that were used throughout the night, along with the “Xbox like” PS3 HF-2 controller which was used for the Free-for-All exhibition finals and the big showdown. The Free-for-All champs – Calden and Rockstar – ended up both being from the PS3 team which certainly didn’t bode well for ‘Team Xbox’ in the big one. A collective gulp could be heard coming from the Xbox team.
Introduced by a talking giraffe (Holden) and a hyperactive ‘celebrity super-sub’ (Grant Hinds – who played as a replacement for Xbox 360 when one player failed to show up) it was clobbering time. It may have all kicked off later than originally planned and brought in 257 viewers to the live stream, but it was the reason we were all here. It was time for Xbox 360 to prove it was superior to PS3. Or the PS3 to prove it was superior to Xbox 360. Or the gamers on those platforms to prove they were better than the ones on the other. Or… er, wait, what exactly were we trying to prove? Oh. That gaming is the real winner. Right. Let’s get gaming then.
Playing under the Clan Connection ruleset – but with an almighty twist due to the platforms being swopped – up first was SnD. This was played on PlayStation 3 with the Xbox players using the HF-2 controller. A lack of good early communication by the Xbox team saw the mode go to ‘Team PS3’ 4-3. It was – as with pretty much all the games – a tight affair. Nerves were on tenterhooks. I’m sure I even heard some sobbing on the Xbox supporter’s side of the room.
CtF was up next with PS3 having “home advantage” again. At times, the mode was anarchic with each team picking up their opponents flag but failing to get the needed points. ‘Team PS3’ eventually scoring the only point needed to take the mode and sit 2-0 up overall.
Usually, under the Clan Connection ruleset one round of Domination would last ten minutes, but due to the fact that the mode was to be played over two consoles, the round was set for five minutes each with the scores being added together to decide the winner of the mode. What a way to make the tension and drama excruciating. 89-80 to PS3. One win after the console swop and ‘Team PS3’ are the champs. The crying was getting louder in the Xbox 360 camp…
Half time and up steps the two team’s self appointed cheerleaders and coaches with good advice, spit buckets and towels. Fingers were massaged. Shoulders rubbed down. Backs slapped. And almost everyone was ready. Except for the pesky consoles. Once the issues were sorted, the second half kicked off on Xbox 360 but with no special controllers. The PS3 players had to adapt or die. There were shouts of annoyance as grenades were let loose instead of bullets, but it seemed the PS3 team settled quickly.
However, a pep talk during the half time break from “daddy” Dastrix 550 seemed to have improved the Xbox team’s communication immeasurably. In SnD, Xbox closed the overall gap and took the mode 4-2. It was still a tight affair with most of the mode coming down to one on one situations.
On CtF, Xbox turned the score around and took it 1-0. A real war of attrition was the theme for the mode, but it was all that was needed as the overall score was all tied at 2-2 with the second part of Domination being the decider. ‘Team Xbox ‘needed a clear ten point win to take it. Their supporters were confident. The PS3 players and supporters remained defiant.
As Domination kicked off, the PS3 team began to take control. The crying was increasing on the Xbox side. And then like any well scripted story… drama. The mode had been started without a timer. Restart. This gave ‘Team Xbox’ a chance to regroup and they began to dominate. They pulled ahead of ‘Team PS3’ by around 35 points. There was cheering and complete belief that they had it in the bag. But you all remember the English Premier League finish this year right? This was the gaming equivalent.
Over the last 90 seconds ‘Team PS3’ battled against the massive deficit to control all three points while the Xbox team appeared to fall slightly apart. ‘Team Xbox’ kept clinging to their lead but as the timer ticked down ‘Team PS3’ really kicked in to overdrive…
The winners of the first ‘King of Console’ tournament was decided in the most dramatic and nail biting way imaginable. For those in the room who were not playing it had been a privilege to watch. For those who saw the live stream, we’re sure you felt the same. For those that missed it all, we’ll bet you regret it now.
Congratulations to ‘Team PS3’ for taking the tournament and winning the R10 000 in prizes up for grabs. Congratulations to all the players who participated in the tournament – consider yourselves a part of SA gaming history. Thank you to Mweb Gamezone, Apex Interactive and Clan Connection for being part of making that history… it was a truly great idea – even if there wasn’t any real bloodshed.
To check out all our pictures taken behind-the-scenes, checkout our Facebook Album.