Profiled: Cape Town Showdown

We don’t know about the rest of you, but we here at Zombiegamer are quite excited by the state of the local gaming scene.  There are more and more enthusiastic gamers, clans, community members and even companies wanting to get behind the once marginalised industry.

To partner our recently launched clan profiles by Undead Ed on a Friday we thought we should find a day to cover the people in the community who are – as individuals or groups – looking to play a part in the South African gaming scene’s growth.  And, well, a Wednesday is as a good a day as any to do such a feature.

We (roundhouse) kick it off with Cape Town Showdown.  If you asked “what is Cape Town Showdown?” maybe you need to be punched repeatedly in the face.  Virtually of course.  They are a console-based LAN initiative for fans of the fighting game genre and they want to see that genre grow locally.

We asked the three (living, breathing) humans behind it all a few questions and this is what they had to say…

You guys are preparing for your third event already – but when and why did Cape Town Showdown start?

SAPhoenix:  At the time, there weren’t any fighting game events happening in Cape Town, so we decided to start our own. The first Cape Town Showdown event was held on the 30th of July, 2011.

ZombieHunta:  We had been having regular fighting game sessions. Tournaments are part of the natural progression to help grow the local scene.

What did you hope to achieve when you first started?

SAPhoenix:  We knew there were plenty of fighting game players in Cape Town, but we didn’t know who they were or where they were situated. With Cape Town Showdown, our goal was to identify these players and to get them to compete.

ZombieHunta:  Apart from having more victims, er, I mean people to play with, we also wanted other players to be able to experience the immense satisfaction of playing against a strong opponent and competing for something on the line, whether it be a prize or a reputation of being a top local player.

Who are the main braaaaaaiiiiiiiinnnnnssss behind Cape Town Showdown?

SAPhoenix:  There are a lot of guys who are involved in the planning and decision-making for each event. I’m glad to say it is not an individual effort, but a united effort by several talented and dedicated members of the local fighting game community.

Zombiehunta:  Did someone say braaaaiiiiiinnnnnssss? I’d say it’s definitely a group effort, but the original idea was conceived by SAPhoenix.

Ennohex:  Definitely SAPhoenix, he takes too little credit.  He’s the man who came up with the first tournament, so he’s the main brain.  That said, nothing happens without the input from the community and a lot of careful deliberation.

How many attendees were at your first event, and where did you hold it?

SAPhoenix:  The first event was held at LAN Expo in Somerset West. We had 37 participants.

ZombieHunta:  Also competing were players from other provinces. We had Jaguguarang from Johannesburg, and .Ninja, who made the trek from Bloemfontein.

Ennohex:  It was a really cool venue but they had to close down before the next tournament.  It’s such a shame too, they had a projector and comfortable sofas.

And the second one?

SAPhoenix:  The second event took place at Rygersdal Sports Club in Rondebosch.  This time around, we had 42 participants (we’re growing!!!)

ZombieHunta:  We were fortunate to have some more out-of -towners, namely Monkamw and Makomba from Gauteng province, as well as a group of guys who drove down from Worcester.

Ennohex:  I felt that the Lan-Expo closing was a pretty big setback.  The Sports Club was our second option. It was at this point where I realised that SAPhoenix and ZombieHunta couldn’t do the running of the events all the time.  It’s the reason why I jumped on the organisation band-wagon to find another venue for the next Cape Town Showdown.

The Third Strike event is being held at a decent sized venue [The Settlers High School] – are you expecting a big turnout?

SAPhoenix:  Definitely.

Ennohex:  Man, I darn well hope so!  The event is going to occur over two days this time around, so it’s a tough call.  I’m a little nervous about it.  Fighter-gamers are a pretty last-minute bunch, but the registrations look promising.  The Settlers High school is sizeable, but we’re not using their main hall. They have a media room called the “Gilbert room” that they have kindly allowed us to use.  We have to thank Richard Daly, the school Principal, for allowing us to use this venue.

In an ideal situation, how big would you like your events to get?

SAPhoenix:  I would love to see a level of participation that is comparable to overseas tournaments; ideally, +-300 participants.

Ennohex:  I hope big enough to attract the attention of like-minded gamers worldwide.

How do you think that can be achieved?

SAPhoenix:  We need to continue promoting our scene. I am sure there are many methods of doing so that we haven’t explored yet, and we need to tap into that. Nevertheless, there is no doubt in my mind that it can and will be achieved 🙂

Ennohex:  I think if we can secure the involvement of the gaming community, media and retailers, our  goal could be achieved with a bit of hard work.

I have to ask, but doesn’t it all feel a little like a thankless task at times?  Surely there’s a cost implication in hosting the events that leaves you at risk of not breaking even?

SAPhoenix:  To be honest, it can feel that way at times. We’re funding Cape Town Showdown ourselves and we’re also setting aside personal time outside of our daily schedules to prepare for these events. It’s a lot more taxing than most people realize. That said, I should add that this monumental undertaking is also an immensely rewarding one. Words cannot describe how amazing it is to be involved in these events. What makes it truly worthwhile is the support of the fighting game community.

Ennohex:  I’ve already made peace with the fact that I can, and probhably will not, break even.  The feeling I get from experiencing the “hype” moments makes it worthwhile though.  Perhaps when we’re bigger, this may change.  I think for now, we’re going to focus on doing our best.

There must be a lot that goes in to preparing for an event – both as organisers and fighters.  How much time do you put in to practice?

SAPhoenix:  I’ve never participated in any of the previous events, so there was never a need to practice *lol*, although I will be participating in Cape Town Showdown 3. I typically practice for about 4 hours a day after work, as we usually have sparring sessions on weekends.

ZombieHunta:  I practice for about 1-2 hours a day, but I’m beginning to increase my amount of practice, mainly due to the growing level of skill amongst local players, as well as the fact that I will be competing in 6 different fighting games.

Ennohex:  As much time as I feel like really.  I think of myself as a casual player, so I don’t have a practice regimen at all.  I try to attend our weekend sessions as much as possible. The organization seems daunting at first, but if you start early with it and break it down to it’s components, you can deal with it a little at a time.  Then we also have the help from all the unseen heroes of Cape Town Showdown,        the people who supply consoles and games, make posters, trawl forums and generally spread the word.   I was also able to learn from the first two  tournaments organised by ZombieHunta and SAPhoenix.

You are currently focusing on PS3 fighting games – any plans to expand to Xbox 360?

SAPhoenix:  Standardizing on a single platform – in this case, PS3 – makes it easier to run these events, as less complications arise. We understand that there are plenty of Xbox 360 players out there and the last thing we’d want to do is alienate them, but we also want them to understand that accommodating both consoles isn’t feasible in a tournament environment. We will, however, be including Xbox 360 consoles at Cape Town Showdown 3 for casual matches. I would urge Xbox 360 players to borrow a PS3 controller from a friend, or invest in one.

ZombieHunta:  Since the games are the same on both consoles, the main difference would be the choice of controller. We have been looking into obtaining controller converters that allows one to use an Xbox controller with a PS3 console.

Ennohex:  I think we are focusing on fighting games in general.  To ignore a specific console would be a mistake as we’d be alienating an entire group.  To be the biggest fighting game tournament in Cape Town, we will need to include all platforms.  As ZombieHunta says, We’re looking into getting convertors for the controllers; that’s where the real problem is.  The players want to use their own system’s controllers.

Your current fighting game(s) of choice?

SAPhoenix:  In no particular order: Street Fighter x Tekken, Soul Calibur 5, King of Fighters 13, Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 and Super Street Fighter 4: Arcade Edition.

ZombieHunta:  The same for me, but at the moment I’m focusing on Street Fighter x Tekken, since it’s new and is attracting many players.

Ennohex:  Stuff I still play regularly?  King Of Fighters XIII, King of Fighters 98: Ultimate Match, Tekken 6, Soul Calibur V,  Super Street Fighter 4: AE, Mortal Kombat and now Street Fighter X Tekken.

How long have you guys been playing games for?

SAPhoenix:  I’ve been playing games for roughly 24 years now. Still going strong 🙂

ZombieHunta:  Console gaming, about 23 years. Started in the arcades, a few years earlier, from when I was able to reach the buttons.

Ennohex:  Since I could touch an arcade cabinet’s joystick… it may be more than 26 years.  My first “console” was a ZX Spectrum.  “The way of the Exploding Fist” was the first game that held my attention.

I take it beating someone to a bloody pulp (virtually of course) won’t be getting old anytime soon, but what other games do you guys enjoy?

SAPhoenix:  Too many to mention, so I’ll stick to genres. I like RPGs, platformers, adventure games, beat-em-ups and the occasional FPS.

ZombieHunta:  My favourite genre would be Japanese dating simulators…not. I like single player FPS games, Third-person shooters, Adventure games and arcade-style racing games.

Ennohex:  Well, I like games that have an open world feel to them, but they are still mostly “action” games.  Typical action adventure stuff.  Darksiders, Infamous, Fist of the North Star: Ken’s Rage, that’s my typical fair.  I also like the oddball titles like Flow and Journey.

Chuck Norris or Bruce lee?

SAPhoenix:  Bruce Lee!

ZombieHunta:  Jean-Claude van Damme. He’s the best.

Ennohex:  Chuck Norris.  Stretchy crotch jeans are like the best.

Thanks for your time – is there anything else you would like to add?

SAPhoenix:  Thanks for the exposure 🙂

ZombieHunta:  I hope that zombies and humans can one day co-exist peacefully. [So do we… Undead Ed]

Ennohex:  Keep up the good work.

No – thank you guys and keep up the good work.

If you want to attend the next event happening at The Settlers High School in Bellville on 27 and 28 April head over to the CTS website.  Entries for the event close 31 March.

Also, you can keep tabs on them via Facebook or their Youtube Channel.

If you are keen to feature in this column in the future, please feel free to contact us at info@zombiegamer.co.za and we’ll think about – after you’ve sent us a sample of your braaaaaaiiiiinnnnsss.

About Zombie Dredd

Wannabe gaming journalist. Wannabe zombie. And sometimes clan leader of OAP. Clint O'Shea when in his human disguise.