Saturday the 9th of February 2013 is an important date in the history of gaming in South Africa. It is arguably the first time that a large gaming company got everything spot on and essentially perfect for a local gaming competition.
*Now before Megarom get on the phone and tell me how awesome their Starcraft 2 launch was let me clarify, I wasn’t there so they are exempt on this one.
The event on Saturday however was the first I’ve seen in South Africa that was properly organised, run and attended and I’d like to congratulate them on that right up front.
The South African Halo 4 tournament started last year and was held online at first with over 500 entries received the entrants were whittled down to the top 4 clans and top 8 lone wolfs in the country. Microsoft then organised to fly them all up to Bryanston in Johannesburg for the live finals.
The event opened up at 11:30 on Saturday with some free drinks and snacks and at 12:30 the contenders were called into the room for a judges meeting. After which we were allowed in to an auditorium setup with 2 massive projectors and 8 large screens setup 4 v 4 for the tournament.
First up we had the first round of the team deathmatch with Black Plasma taking on Hi-5. I was convinced Hi-5, who have a long history in SA gaming, would destroy these kids but in a surprise turn around the kids from Black Plasma absolutely decimated them and were then put through to the finals.
Next up we had Sick and Sinful vs a clan who’s name I couldn’t catch (anyone?). This match was a lot closer with both teams appearing to be quite far behind the skills on show with Black Plasma. In the end Sick and Sinful snuck through and were now up against Black Plasma in the final.
Then drama struck
Graeme Selvan from Xbox South Africa came onto the microphone and broke some news to the crowd. According to Gamescom regulations you need to be over 17 to attend Gamescom. With the prize being a fully paid trip to Gamescom this caused a problem as Black Plasma were all under 17 years of age.
According to Graeme they were told before they were flown up to the event and yet they wanted to attend anyway knowing they could not win.
So as such Hi-5 were promoted to the final spot in their place to take on Sick and Sinful.
The Lone Wolf Finals
Before the finals however we had a one match shot at winning the Lone Wolf prize of a trip to Germany. The 8 SA heroes took their spots and the 15 minute game started but it soon became apparent that the competition was going to be between 3 players.
For the first 5 minutes these guys went head to head swapping the lead and keeping the finals exciting and then slowly JSharp started pulling away and as we entered the 12th minute it had become obvious that we had found the best Halo 4 player in South Africa.
JSharp ended up winning with a score of 1132, ahead of Shadow Vaaitjie with 830 and Dewwww[etc]y with 826.
Surprisingly JSharp also had the most deaths out of the entire group which shows that to win Halo you should be right in the heat of the battle at all times.
The Team Finals
After the celebrations and trophy collecting the team finals were held and the Lone Wolf winner was back in the game as he was apparently part of Sick and Sinful.
The match started equally with Hi-5 holding Sick and Sinful at every point but surprisingly, for me, the less well known Sick and Sinful started pulling out a lead with some great gameplay and teamwork. As Hi-5 started to notice they were losing, their teamwork and collaboration visibly started to suffer which allowed Sick and Sinful to easily keep their lead and in the end it turned into a bit of a canter.
So Microsoft were saved a plane ticket by the Lone Wolf winner heading to Gamescom with his team for this years event.
But what about the kids
But there was still a major cloud hanging over the event as the team who appeared to be the very best weren’t eligible to win. So who is the best clan in the country?
Thankfully Graeme and his team arranged a new final between Sick and Sinful and Black Plasma with the awesome trophy up for grabs for the winner and ultimate bragging rights as being the best in the country.
I put R50 down on Black Plasma wiping the floor with the Sick and Sinful team as they were just so dominate in the opener.
The match started and for this was the final we wanted to see, the teams traded blows with each team taking the lead throughout the entire much until around the 12th minute when amazingly Sin and Sinful took a small lead and managed to hold onto it until the match ended.
It was a final worthy of the tournament with some amazing skills on show and a great testament to the skills in our beautiful country.
A big thanks to Microsoft, Graeme Selvan and his team of judges for putting on an awesome tournament (thanks for the beer) and the day was ended perfectly with the announcement that Microsoft will be sponsoring an even bigger Gears of War tournament in the near future. Stay tuned for all that information.
Also, we have a huge announcement about another games tournament coming up in the next few days… this is promising to be an even bigger event and trust me when you are going to want to be there.
I'm cranky, arrogant and ever so amazingly annoying but when you get to know me you will also realise I'm honest and incredibly good at describing myself... now pass me that beer