Thanks to some very nice folks up at Mweb Gamezone (thanks, @mwebgmz!), Kalahari.com (thanks, @kalaharicom!) and EA South Africa (thanks, @EA_southafrica!), I was fortunate enough to be invited to the launch event for Mass Effect 3 (the review will be coming your way soon!) on the 9th of March. The event was sponsored by Mweb Gamezone, Kalahari.com, Gamersgate, EA South Africa, Red Bull, Samsung, and Rectron. If you’re not one of the approximately fifty guests, PR people, press, and general VIPs who were invited, then here’s a rundown of what sheer awesomeness that you missed out on. Yes, I’m telling you all this to make you jealous.
The entire evening was styled as a “Survivor’s Last Stand” against the Reapers (the primary antagonist in the Mass Effect series), and much Mass Effect branding was evident. Desmond Kurz of Mweb gave the opening speech, announcing to all that the “Reapers had landed in Karoo. Hopefully, they’ll see no one and go back home, but doubtless they’ll be hitting Cape Town soon.” A few smart-mouthed comments ensued, including one of “Let’s hope they hit Jo’burg and Durban first”.
Desmond then handed the mic over to Bianca McFadyen, Product Marketing Manager for EA South Africa, who mentioned that she’d caught a very last minute flight from Johannesburg to attend the launch event. She then proceeded to tell us all about…The Sims. No matter, there were Mass Effect t-shirts to be handed out to people able to answer questions about The Sims. Understandably, some confusion ensued.
Desmond thanked the event sponsors, and mentioned that the Red Bull Ladies were (sadly) unable to attend, that the large TVs on the walls were sponsored by Samsung South Africa (and glorious TVs they were too!), and that the gaming setups were kindly sponsored by Glenn Alexander (thanks, @glennZA!).
That was not to be the end of the treats, however. All the “survivors” were given a goodie bag that included, among other things, the very first issue of a new video-gaming focused magazine (well, new to South Africa!): GamesTM, edited and run by Zaid Kriel.
Then we were set loose to wreak havoc on the universe and just kick alien butt (remember, keep an eye out on this space for my eventual review of Mass Effect 3, complete with the very exciting-looking multiplayer section!). Gaming (and surviving an invasion) is, of course, incredibly hungry work, so it was a good thing that sustenance—in the form of some incredibly delicious pizzas—arrived, steamy hot and making the place smell less of “male gamer” and more of “pizza-y goodness”. And, of course, there was plenty of Red Bull to wash it all down with (16 cases of the stuff, according to Desmond. But still no Red Bull ladies).
As the pizza was being consumed and drink being quaffed, I spoke a bit to Zaid (GamesTM magazine, remember?) about his magazine. In short, it’s the South African leg of a long-running UK-based gaming magazine. If you’re interested in picking up a copy, or subscribing, hit up Kalahari.com. It’s a pretty awesome magazine, so I’d suggest you give it at least one issue’s try.
Then there was even more to be given away, including a copy of Mass Effect 3 N7 Collector’s Edition, more Mass Effect 3, and a hard drive sponsored by Rectron (if you’re aware of the happenings at the 4th Dimension of the 2UpGamers meeting, you’ll know that a certain someone had to remove his shirt and dance to Dance Central 2 to get into the Mass Effect 3 Launch Party—the video is up at Youtube. The same someone—no names, now!—won, and had to remove his shirt again to receive his prize).
It was an epic evening all around, with many happy gamers full of pizza and prizes. I even managed to get a chance to stand next to Commander Shepard himself. Well, his likeness, but still. He was shorter than I’d imagined him. So did the reapers ever make an appearance? I suspect that that the terrifying sheep we have up on the Karoo might have had something to do with the answer.
Thanks once again to Mweb and Kalahari.com for hosting the event, to EA South Africa for the prizes and the games, Samsung for the brilliant visuals, Glen Alexander for the set up, and Red Bull for the refreshments!