South Africa has been streets behind many other countries as far as the gaming industry can be considered. Although interest, skills and talent are definitely booming on local shores, we’ve never quite compared to the mass culture abroad. Long awaited new titles would be celebrated with a midnight launch at a few retail outlets where a dozen or so die-hard gamers would gather and chat about what they love most as well as how epic it would be to attend those massive sponsored launches we read about online.
MWEB and their GameZone team along with EA South Africa have heard those wishes a countless times, hell their very own head of gaming, Desmond Kurz and EA’sBianca McFadyen have made the same wish.
Hence after the success of their first launch (Battlefield3) at MWEB’s HQ, the web gods that reside there decided to create a permanent M-Cave. The M-Cave is essentially the ultimate gaming pit with humongous flatscreens, assorted consoles, high-end pc’s, all networked or system linked and boasting super high-speed connectivity. It’s a gamer’s paradise. (Seriously guys can I just move in? I’ll sleep under the desks and empty the trash).
In attendance for the Mass Effect 3 launch, EA’s third and final instalment of arguably one of the best RPG titles to ever exist, were over 50 journalists and lucky gamers (who won their golden tickets online). We all received our ‘swag’ bags containing tons of vouchers, flash drives, magazines, a free game or two and some other apparel before entering the M-Cave, which was easy to spot thanks to the insane ME3 mural printed across the door and wall (see pic).
A few formalities: some speeches, “smokers go there!” “loo’s over there!” and finally we were all given multiple chances to test our skills against the Reaper invasion. We could team up in co-op with our comrades and defend our planet for the remainder of the eve while stuffing our faces on the delicious snacks (and later… pizzas) and washing them down with a Red Bull chaser. It doesn’t get much better than this.
Oh wait maybe it does… Throughout the eve, lucky attendees were given some kick-ass prizes like the Mass Effect 3 game as well as the awesome N7 Collector’s Edition. Rectron were also on hand to give a few lucky guys some amazing hard drives.
All-in –all a fantastic night was had by all and I’m sure that if you were lucky enough to attend, you won’t soon forget being part of something so inspiring. The last 12 months have been exciting as part of the gaming community in South Africa and especially for those lucky enough to reside in the Cape Town area. It’s no secret to most gamers that the industry has been booming globally and local gamers are standing up, demanding to be recognized.
There are many gaming websites, clans, journalists, developers, tournament organizers, etc. all over the country, doing their bit to promote the industry and put South Africa on the global map. But in my opinion, there are far fewer promoting those promoters, actively expanding the industry and celebrating gamers as MWEB’sGamezone are doing. Thank you guys for all the hard work. We appreciate what you’re doing for the community *sniff sniff… alright well I’m off to save the planet as you should all know by now… I am Commander Shepard!