eSports NZ

Good Gaming Cafe – Pixel Lounge NZ

PC gaming is great fun, and gaming with your friends makes it even better. Online play, gaming headsets and webcams have come a long way but nothing beats being in the same room while you team up to destroy the bad guys (or each other). While we certainly grab our rigs and head over to a mates place, if there are a few of you this can become quite the mission, especially with everyone needing to plug in their monitors and PC in, and then there’s that having everyone connected to same home WiFi thing 😛

Thankfully the internet cafe has evolved into the modern gaming lounge, and the best one in Auckland is Pixel Lounge. It hasn’t been around that long either, but that’s one of its biggest strengths – everything in the cafe is modern, you’ll be able to play comfortably on deluxe Corsair gaming chairs, treating your eyes with ultra fast 240Hz LG monitors while powerful ROG / Ryzen builds push out all the frames you could want 🙂

Having the best components and gaming gear certainly helps, but the Pixel Lounge team has gone above and beyond to add in all the little things too, making the total experience you’ll have a good one. The environment they’ve created is rather brilliant, with a combination of decals and canvas that line the walls of the primary gaming area, which seats up to 20 players. There is an additional chill out area that has couches, coffee tables and a dining too – making it perfect for taking a quick break to talk tactics while enjoying a cappuccino and some tasty snacks – and I’m very happy to say that this isn’t just a cup of instant either, Pixel Coffee, a real standalone cafe, is right there too!

Casual gaming aside for a little bit, another thing that Pixel Lounge does really well is competitive gaming. If you enjoy a bit of PVP, or you would like to get involved with the New Zealand eSports community and join a local group, then you should look out for events posted on the Pixel Lounge Facebook page – just last week they were hosting the UoA University Rumble finals and it was a good time had by all, with live streaming and plenty of action as the teams smashed each other in League of Legends with tonnes of Riot points up as prizes for the event. You don’t need to be a pro, it’s totally fine if you’re wanting to get involved but would like a little help getting everything together first, the Pixel Lounge team can even coach you along with pro tips and training sessions available should you want them.

Now onto the most important stuff, and it’s going to get pretty technical 🙂 How do they give so many people in one location such a smooth online gaming experience? Well, Pixel Lounge run a pretty ridiculous IT infrastructure. CAT6A network with 10GB switches, very high tier Voyager business fibre & their very own Bootserver. Essentially all the gaming machines boot via the network and only use the internal M.2 as cache, so everyone gets their own fresh image of Windows paired with an 8TB gamedisk. It is seriously cool stuff and keeps everyone’s sessions instanced, with no retained data 🙂 Brilliant!

The Pixel Lounge is located at 342 Great North Road, here is a google maps link to get you there, and once you’re close you really can’t miss the glowing sign pictured below!

GAME ON!

Good Gaming – Latest Intel Extreme Masters Gaming PC Builds

With less than a month to go until the Syndey Intel Extreme Masters Event kicks off (May 3rd – 5th!), we’ve been working hard with the Intel NZ team to create a new range of Intel Gaming PC, some of which feature the latest 9th Generation Intel CPU inside!

Our latest designs for the Intel Gaming PC series follows the same path as our previous eSports event builds, with a focus on getting the best price/performance possible! Inside every new GGPC Intel build you’ll find the latest Intel 9th Gen processors combo’d with the exceptional GTX 1060, GTX 1660, GTX 1660Ti and RTX 2060 for awesome gaming performance in all the latest eSports titles!

You can check out all the latest GGPC IEM Gaming PC builds here, with options available to meet various budgets and even special Powered by Asus and Powered by Gigabyte builds to suit.

Now, back to the main event! 

Intel Extreme Masters, the longest running global pro gaming tour in the world, first came to Australia back in 2017, bringing this massive competitive gaming scene onto a whole new continent. For Australia and New Zealand this changed a lot in the eSports community, with nothing we’d seen locally coming close to the spectacle that comes with a well-funded, organised, competitive gaming event. It was exactly what we wanted, with top players battling each other and showing off their exceptional skills in match after match – as a bonus we also no longer needed to stay up all night to watch the games 😛

It’s important to note that IEM Syndey is a massive team effort – when you choose to buy an IEM Gaming PC you are choosing to support the event with each build featuring a uniquely numbered holographic badge – and these badges actually have a cost/value (Intel pays, thanks Intel!) which is added to the eSports events prize pools!

IEM Sydney is the third event of its kind, and we’re looking forward to seeing the top teams compete again. Often referred to as the loudest IEM event you can attend, the passion shown by the crowd for each Counter-Strike match is quite remarkable – with screams and gasps that can be heard throughout the Olympic stadium in which they hold the IEM Sydney eSports event.

Recap time!

2017 saw the Brazilian roster of SK Gaming dominating the CS:GO scene with various important wins across the pro circuit, with the inaugural IEM Sydney crown as one of their biggest achievements that year. Their performance at the event was so dominant that they only lost one map in the entire tournament. This loss came at the hands of FaZe Clan, who made it to the Grand Final in great part thanks to the exploits of a then-recently-signed NiKo, who had an immediate impact on a squad that defeated Astralis in the semifinals and would go on to reach new heights in the following months and years.

In 2018, FaZe Clan returned to the harbour city of Syndey aiming for revenge. With the signings of GuardiaN and olofmeister sealed a few months earlier, they found the missing pieces of the puzzle to create a squad capable of turning up to any event in the world and be counted among the favourites. Although local heroes Renegades beat them in the Group Stage bracket, they managed to come back in style to deliver a huge performance in the playoffs. Danish titans Astralis awaited them in the Grand Final, but they managed to FaZe it up and take a clean-sweep victory with a final score of 3-0 to lift the IEM trophy.

GGPC have been lucky enough to attend all the events so far, so if you want you can read more about them + check out the pictures in our GGPC IEM blog! (This one would be the most recent, so you’ll need scroll down)

GAME ON!

Good Gaming – IEM 2018 Certified Gaming PC

This promotion has now ended, see the latest Intel Master Key promotions here!

We’ve teamed up with Intel and designed a whole new range of IEM Certified Gaming PC which not only provide excellent performance for PC Gamers, but also qualifies you for a special INTEL MASTER KEY which can be used to unlock a range of BONUS GAMES!

Purchase any GGPC IEM Gaming PC from PB Tech and then use the contact form to register your build and the team will send you a special Intel Master Key.

Once you’ve got your Intel Master Key simple visit the Intel Redemption Site and enter your key, from here you’ll be able to access codes for the games included in this promotion!

Looking specifically at the current games which the Intel Master Key with IEM Certified Gaming PC unlocks there are three “Free to Play” ones in the mix, the bonus with these comes in the form of in-game currency that you can use to add a little customisation to your Starship or Hero. If you’re wanting to check these out for yourself right away you can find the download links for Dreadnought, Warframe and Fractured Space in our GGPC Free to Play PC Games Sticky Blog 🙂 You’ll also get Warhammer Vermintide 2 which just released with rave reviews (This one is multi-player Left for Dead style gaming gold) and XMorph Defence plus the acclaimed This War of Mine. (the banners below all link to YouTube videos)

A new addition to the IEM GGPC games lineup, Counter Strike Global Offensive is a well-known team vs team shooter that plays a big part in the Intel Extreme Masters competitions. The game series is currently celebrating its 19th birthday and there’s even a new UI in beta testing to check out. Take the roll of either a terrorist or counter-terrorist and compete to secure hostages, arm/disarm explosives, or just kill each other. With a thriving community of players, this one is sure to be a fine addition to your games library.

Jump in and experience Warframe, the latest updates were massive and introduced wide open landscapes, all new gameplay and even more multiplayer mutant massacres. You play as a Tenno, a mighty warrior with both blade and gun: master of the Warframe armour. Those that survived the old war were left drifting among the ruins. Now they are needed once more. The Grineer, with their vast armies, are spreading throughout the solar system. A call echoes across the stars summoning the Tenno to an ancient place.

Warhammer: Vermintide 2 is the sequel to the critically acclaimed Vermintide. Team up for the fiercest first-person co-op slaughter featuring visceral and ground-breaking melee action. Set in the apocalyptic End Times of the war-ravaged Warhammer world, you will be challenged like never before as you and your team of heroes face untold enemy hordes in a desperate struggle to save the Empire from devastation. Choose a career for your Hero, customise the talent tree, choose and craft a vast range of unique weapons and gear then hack you way through the ranks of monstrous invaders!

Dreadnought puts you in command of massive capital ships for tactical, team-based warfare in space and across the skies of different planets. As a mercenary captain, your motivations are simple: to reap the rewards of battle and build your reputation – and to be fearless doing it. Armed with earth-shaking weapons and the support of your teammates, you must claim victory by outmaneuvering, outshooting and outclassing the opposing team. Prepare yourself. It’s time to take the helm.

A unique fusion of a top-down shooter and tower defence strategy. You are the X-Morph – an alien species that invades Earth to harvest its resources and terraform the surface. Strategize in the build mode by carefully selecting various types of alien towers or throw yourself right into the heat of the battle. Build mazes for incoming enemies in an environment that provides exceptional planning freedom. Tear down buildings and collapse bridges to support your defence or to simply indulge in a spectacle of unprecedented destruction. Possess a range of unique alien weapons and use defence strategies like you’ve never seen before in this genre.

A favourite here at GGPC, Fractured Space in a MOBA style game with massive starships much like Dreadnought above, but with a very different play style and unique battle mechanics. Fractured Space is an award-winning free-to-play space combat game. Fight in co-op PvE or 5-v-5 PvP. Brought to life in the stunning Unreal Engine 4, giants of interstellar conflict fight in spectacular close quarter battles for dominance. Pick a manufacturer, choose a class and customize your weapons. Through experience, you gain the right to command more ships while earning credits to add them to your fleet. Tailor your craft to your combat preferences with crew and weapon loadout options then take on your specialized role when your interstellar juggernaut warps into battle.

In This War Of Mine you do not play as an elite soldier, rather a group of civilians trying to survive in a besieged city; struggling with lack of food, medicine and constant danger from snipers and hostile scavengers. The game provides an experience of war seen from an entirely new angle. The pace of This War of Mine is imposed by the day and night cycle. During the day snipers outside stop you from leaving your refuge, so you need to focus on maintaining your hideout: crafting, trading and taking care of your survivors. At night, take one of your civilians on a mission to scavenge through a set of unique locations for items that will help you stay alive. Make life-and-death decisions driven by your conscience. Try to protect everybody from your shelter or sacrifice some of them for longer-term survival. During a war, there are no good or bad decisions; there is only survival. The sooner you realize that, the better.

The ever-growing range of GGPC IEM Gaming PC are available now (look for IEM in the name and the signature gold badge), each providing remarkable game performance and those sweet bonus games, keep reading for more on the latest intel Extreme Masters event!

Now, more about the IEM Event!

We had a blast at last years IEM Syndey event, and having just returned from the 2018 IEM eSports Event we can happily report this one was even better than the first! This was because of the way in which Intel has refined everything, providing an interactive and stress-free introduction to competitive gaming in the area around the main event, it genuinely was a bit of eSports for everyone 🙂

Upon entering the event center you’re now greeted with a focused range of things to do, I counted 7 sets of gaming PC’s setup right in the foyer, with most following a 6v6 layout and several offering 4v4 VR experience, with an additional 2x setups for VR racing specifically and another two (or was it three) offering a room scale HTC Vive Pro experience to a check out – commentators off to the left were chanting HyperX – who seemed to be running a constant stream of giveaways and off to the right was a similar setup from Acer.

Cut right through the middle and you have the choice to head left, for a host of food and drink options or right for even more interactive gaming zones, having already enjoyed a big breakfast we headed right continuing along at short distance till the oval passage opened up into another large hall, this one populated by a full eSports event stage which at our time of arrival looked to be jamming some Starcraft 2, Vodafone was to the right and a massively impressive stage in the theme of CS:GO map dust was off to the left with additional Intel game stream stations along the way at which you could talk shop with streamers and see how they configured their setups for this relatively new form of social gaming. The large CS:GO themed station provided even more PC VS setups for eager players to jump on and have a go – the theme of the event was clear – mini eSports competitions were taking place all over with quick prizes available for everyone – two team captions would choose players from the crowd and they would face off in a series of short games for a prize, much like in the Intel main event taking place in the grand auditorium each night, but accessible to all.

In the early afternoon the main doors opened and the crowd began to flow in through the gates for the main events – top tier teams facing off against each other in fierce CS:GO competitive matches – and this was a tournament full of surprises, upsets and crucial clutch moments.

This all played out pretty well from a spectators point of view as we got to witness extremely aggressive plays from all the teams involved, and this led to a much fresher, more creatively vocal crowd than the year previous 😛

All up it’s hard to choose which part we enjoyed the most at IEM Sydney 2018, this one was so much more than just the main event and we certainly hope that Intel continues along this path with the next, which we’ll certainly to flying over to Sydney for yet again!

GGPC Logitech G ASTRO JUNE WINNER ANNOUNCED!

This event has now ended, check out the latest GGPC Promotions here!

**Congrats to our lucky June winner – Raena A**

Purchase yourself a Good Gaming PC this June and you can register to redeem a G240 Gaming Mouse Pad to go with your new GGPC!

The G240 provides edge-to-edge performance on a clean surface with just the right amount of friction for low-DPI manoeuvres. Crafted for maximum control of your mouse movements, your gaming will benefit from the consistent surface texture, also giving your mouse sensors better imagery for translating mouse movement into cursor movement!

A great mousepad for any mouse, but this will also put you into the draw for our MASSIVE June Gaming Prize Pack which will be going out to one lucky gamer!

IMPORTANT: To be in to win the MEGA Prize you must register for the Logitech G240 Bonus!

The JUNE MEGA PRIZE consists of two distinctly impressive pieces of Logitech G Gaming Gear that combine for the ultimate racing sim setup, and another awesome piece of wireless gaming audio from ASTRO!

Starting our incredible setup off is the top tier Astro A50 Wireless Gaming Headset! Delivering top-of-the-line acoustics, ergonomics, and durability that professional gamers demand. Experience legendary sound and performance without the inconvenience and restrictions that come with wires, the all-new ASTRO Base Station features a 5GHz wireless transmitter that provides clear, low-latency voice communication, while making headset pairing and charging simple.

Race through long, intense gaming sessions in maximum comfort with up to 15 hours of battery life. Hear the roar of your engine as you scream past your rivals with Dolby Headphone 7.1 surround sound. Communicate clearly with your team thanks to optimised chat levels and game sounds with the built-in MixAmp technology!

Audio is definitely covered with this awesome A50 Gaming Headset from Astro – so now is the time to talk controls!

Included in this month’s MEGA Prize Pack is the outstanding Logitech G920 Force Feedback Racing Wheel which is sure to help our lucky winner break some lap records and they wizzzz past their competition!

Feel your tires on every turn and type of terrain, sense under- or over-steer drifting. Powerful dual-motor force feedback realistically simulates force effects for precision response. Solid steel ball bearings in the wheel shaft and stainless steel paddle shifters and pedals make G920 the long-distance race wheel, it’s covered in high-quality, hand-stitched leather, with the look and feel of a high-performance racecar wheel and it gives you a more comfortable, durable experience. Helical gears are modeled after gears used in automotive transmissions to reduce unwanted noise and vibration. Anti-backlash keeps the wheel and pedals tight, maximizing your control. This steering wheel delivers exceptionally smooth, quiet steering action. G920 Driving Force Racing Wheel features a long-lasting, reliable hall-effect steering sensor, using magnetic fields to sense the position of the wheel.

Maintain a more realistic driving body position with the separate floor pedal unit with integrated throttle, brake, and clutch pedals. G920 Driving Force lets you comfortably accelerate, brake and change gears with the feel of an actual car. The nonlinear brake pedal mimics the performance of a pressure-sensitive brake system for a more responsive, accurate braking feel. For even finer control, reposition the pedal faces to make heel-toe manoeuvres easier to perform. Rubber feet for hard surfaces and a patented retractable carpet grip system help your pedals stay right where you put them. We’ve deliberately chosen the XBOX version for the G920 to provide our winner with easy setup and crossplay options with all the best racing games available on PC.

Ohhh that’s a pretty amazing racing wheel and pedal setup we’ve got here, but it’s not over yet!

Completing the setup is another awesome piece of gaming hardware from Logitech G, the Driving Force Shifter!

Designed for use with the G920 Driving Force racing wheels, to enhance the latest racing titles with more traditional, manual gear controls. By adding the Driving Force Shifter to our racing wheel setup we complete it for the most realistic experience!

The six-speed H-pattern shifter moves fluidly and solidly clicks into each gear, helping you execute smooth, accurate gear transitions on hairpin turns and straightaways and with a solid steel gear shaft, Driving Force Shifter is built for precision racing and long-lasting reliability. Durable built-in clamps allow Driving Force Shifter to be mounted securely to a table or racing rig to minimize shifting or wobbling during aggressive race manoeuvres. The knob and boot are covered in high-quality, hand-stitched leather, giving it a look and feel similar to a high-performance race shifter and giving you a more comfortable, durable experience.

VROOOOMMM! What a bunch of prizes! 

Check out the latest range of Custom Gaming PC and those awesome prizes at PB Tech, and be sure to keep your eyes on the GGPC PC Gaming Blog as we’ll announce the lucky MEGA PRIZE PACK winner at the end of June!

GAME ON!

Good eSports – Waikato Arena Rampage

The Hamilton Fighting Game Community began as most good things do, just a bunch of friends getting together to have a good time doing the things that they enjoy. As the group began to grow a points system known as ranked battles (Ranbats), was instigated so that a champion could be crowned at the end of each gathering (Though in Hamilton it is affectionately referred to as Hambats :).

From those early beginnings, the Hamilton Fighting Game Community has evolved to have a membership of over 300 and host 15 Hambats for members per year at the Western Community Centre, this group is a registered organisation and its members participate in wider community events such as NerdFEST, Treats in the Park and the LetsPlay.Live World Tour.

In April 2018 they take the biggest step yet, hosting Hamilton’s first-ever nationally recognised Fighting Game event at Sky City Casino Hamilton! This event is made possible with the support of the Waikato United Gaming Society (WUGS for short), Final Round: Fight!, Standing Fierce, and Digital Native Academy.

And that brings us to the Waikato Arena Rampage eSports Event!

W.A.R will take place from 13 April 2018 to 15 April 2018 and will be held at Sky City Hamilton. Competitors from all over the country will descend on Hamilton city to battle it out to become the inaugural champion in one of the 6 competition games, Tekken 7, Street Fighter V, Dragon Ball FighterZ, Marvel V Capcom: Infinite, Super Smash Bros: 4 and Super Smash Bros: Melee.

W.A.R is free for spectators and will provide free to play areas for spectators to try out some of the games on display. For entrants and competitors, we will have specially designated areas for them to showcase their skills and special activities that only they can participate in. For those unable to make the local event, W.A.R will be streamed live via the Standing Fierce Twitch Channel and we will have an audience area where spectators can watch some of the country’s best fight it out.

The main prizes include flights and accommodation to represent the NZ Fighting Game Community at Australia’s biggest esports tournament, Battle Arena Melbourne. There will also be cash prizes up for grabs!

This event isn’t just about fighting games though, there is also a BYOPC LAN party and competitions hosted by Tom “Mad Scientist” Featonby of WUGS which includes;

Friday 13th April – Setups and social gaming! Fortnight antics and more fun multiplayer antics.

Saturday 14th April – WUGS will be running 2 main tournaments: Overwatch and Rocket League! These two tournaments will be 1v1 and will not only be for cash prizes (a minimum of $50 for the winners, this number will go up with the number of attendees) but will also be for $50 PB Tech Gift Vouchers!

Sunday 15th April – More social good times, the WUGS community plays all sorts of games at their social LANs such as (but not limited to), Blur, Garry’s Mod, AoE II, Quiplash, PUBG, Gang Beasts and Chivalry. There will also be fun mini-tournaments and competitions for LAN attendees and spectators to join in the fun.

For the most up to date infomation it’s a good idea to follow the WUGS Twitter feed, and also Aaron “Booze Bender” Rippingale, Daniel “Terrorist” Rikihana, Deane “Arahshii” Mason-Loveridge and Reno Musumeci

GAME ON!

 

Good Gaming – Garden of Might eSports NZ Fighting Event

UPDATE: What a weekend, the Garden of Might eSports event was awesome!

Hosted by the talented team at Standing Fierce in association with the team from Got Game this competition is all about fighting games, including the massively popular Tekken, Street Fighter, Smash and MvC we’ve come to expect as well as newcomers like the just-released DragonBall FighterZ! 

This eSports event promises some epic matches between the very best fighting game players from around New Zealand, and a few sneaky internationals have snuck in too 😛 The current NZ Street Fighter V Champion, known as “Ghost Chips” will be playing at this event and also “Burnout”  from Australia will be in attendance – who also happens to be the community manager for XSplit and player.me!

As I write this now all competition spots are full, but you can grab the most up-to-date information from the Garden of Might website if you’re wanting to see if you can sneak a quick entry for the event in.

For those wanting to check out the action in person, this one is taking place at Christchurch Casino so be sure to bring your ID along, there will also be spot prizes given away over the weekend-long event.

Doors open at 10am till late both on both days, March 17th and 18th.

For those wanting to watch the matches online, the eSports event will also be streamed via the Standing Fierce Twitch Channel so we can all tune in, click the banner below to check out some sweet fighting action right away!

GAME ON!

Good Gaming – PUBG eSports with PING ZERO NZ

UPDATE: This event is now complete, and wow what a series of games it was too! Massive congratulations to Team Carnage who took out first place, be sure to keep your eyes on Ping Zero Twitter for the next one.

The finals are set to be held at the Howick Library (quick map link below) but for those unable to make it to the event on the day worry not! This PUBG eSports match will be steamed via the PUBG OCE Twitch Channel. This isn’t any regular PUBG gameplay either, event organiser Major Havoc of PING ZERO has gone above beyond with custom matches and spectator game capture showing off all the team tactics, brutal kills and stunning comebacks as they chase each other down hunting for those elusive and oh so tasty chicken dinners!

The battles will stretch out over six epic matches, if you want to check out some of previous action check out the video below for a chicken dinner!

GAME ON!

Good Gaming – Overwatch World Cup NZ Team Matches

The fight has been a fierce one for sure, with the NZ Overwatch World Cup Team being assigned to Group G in Burbank USA they’ve now completed the matches against Team USA and Team Taipei. 

The way this eSports event works is pretty straight forward, each group is comprised of four national teams that will play a full round-robin series of matches, from each group, the top two teams will advance to the single-elimination playoffs.

The top two finishers from each of the four group stage events will qualify for the Overwatch World Cup finals at BlizzCon 2017!

The stadium setup for this event is crazy cool, with an awesome Overwatch themed stage for the players and an excited audience looking on as they play each round. Hosts are setup just behind the audience stands providing both gameplay insights for newer players and some pretty funny banter to fill in the gaps 🙂

Below is the gameplay from players BIRDY, LEGABRIL, SIGNED, HOOWOO, WILLX and CANTUS battling against Team USA.

You can watch all the matches in this eSports event live via the PlayOverwatch Twitch Channel, as I write this I’m watching USA vs Germany and it’s GOOD \o/

GAME ON!

Good Gaming – Overwatch World Cup 2017 SYNDEY!

The Overwatch World Cup 2017 is underway and the next live event is pretty close to NZ, taking place just over in Syndey 🙂 Running from July 21st through to the 23rd at the Star Events Centre it’s the second of four group stage qualifier events. Australia’s top 100 Overwatch players fought hard to get the 13th position in the pool of 32 qualified nations putting them into Group C where they will be competing against Sweden, Italy, and Portugal. The stage in Sydney will also play host to Group D, which will be a battle between Finland, Japan, Spain, and Vietnam.

Our recently elected NZ World Cup national committee have selected the New Zealand team which is assigned to Group G, with our live event set to take place in Burbank USA! 

Keep your eyes on our PC Gaming Blog and we’ll update with more as the battles continue to rage!

Good eSports – Intel Extreme Masters Gaming

Sydney just hosted a massive gaming event, an Intel Extreme Masters CSGO tournament and it was GOOD!

This tournament goes hand in hand with another cool promotion on now in NZ, IEM Certified Gaming PC \o/ Grabbing a system that’s certified in this way gets you a really sweet golden sticker for your new PC, that holographic certificate guarantees quality that meets only the highest standards from Intel and it also signals a FREE GAMES BONUS!

Looking specifically at the current games in the IEM Certified Gaming PC bundle there are a few “Free to Play” ones, the bonus with these comes in the form of in-game currency that you can use to add a little customisation to your tank, battleship or hero. If you’re wanting to check these out for yourself right away you can find the download links in our GGPC Free to Play PC Games Sticky Blog 🙂

You’ll also get Just Cause 3, Warhammer Vermintide (This one is multi-player Left for Dead style gaming gold) and the space battleship brawler Dreadnought  \o/ which we’ve been happily playing since early BETA testing:)

Topping the bonus games list right now is the recently released Halo Wars 2! Real-time strategy Halo style with Spartans, Warthogs and other classic Halo fighting forces. You’ll get the full game with the IEM bundle but there is also a Window 10 Store Halo Wars 2 demo available now you can check out now 🙂

The setup for the event was absolutely first class, from the moment you walked through the doors intel had a range of latest gaming laptops and IEM custom desktops ready to go with games to play and you could even join in on mini competitions in everything from a quick round of 3v3 CSGO to VR Racing time attacks.

The quality of the interactive experiences on offer were what made this opening experience so enjoyable though, it wasn’t just a nice seat for the racing games, intel had flown over VESARO force feedback equipment to give players genuine motion, these racing kits actually move with you and give you a real feeling of acceleration as you push yourself to take poll position and take away some of the prizes which flowed throughout the event.

Once we had made our way through the first gaming zone (pretty tough to do as they had an early access VR spellcasting fighting game right before the stairs to the arena) we got to check out the main event stage which lived up to the hype \o/ Some pretty epic lighting and smoke machines ensured the announcements for each match were exciting and the triple massive screens above would make following the gameplay easy. Behind this main stage a backstage team monitored everything, and further behind this there was another studio setup reminiscent of the Full Circle studio here in NZ – it would be from here that the casters did there sportscenter like commentary of each match.

Although early we could see from behind the stage that the arena was already starting to full up 🙂

The commentators were brilliant and whoever was responsible for switching the player camera to show the best moments of each round was amazing, they deserve a medal and speaking of! Between the two teams 5v5 gaming setups was a MASSIVE round medal, the trophy for the competition.

With the stage set we attempted to find our seats, which although reserved, had been claimed by some very excited chaps, they were kiwis as well who had flown over especially for the Intel Extreme Masters, we all enjoyed the matches together and had a great time debating (was more of a yelling match) who was going to to take the win for each round 🙂

The arena filled up fast and the weekends gaming begun with a roar! Massive applause welcomed each team as they approached the main stage, fun times ahead!

We estimate around 7000 people spectating in the arena and the competition was both fierce and extremely close, with the finals proving themselves to be the best! The rounds swung back and forth with bomb disarms coming down to microseconds and jumping knives being thwarted by deagles 😛

You can check out all the matches for yourself with the IEM Sydney game replays available via this link, because the games were so close it take a while to watch it all but it’s worth it 🙂

The local area in which the event was held was originally built to host the Olympics and handled the crowd with ease, special mention here to just how nice everyone was, both staff and attendees 🙂 two instances, in particular, stood out though, the first was meeting a chap that had lost his phone so we let him use ours to call it and a someone nice had handed it to the staff already. The second was the aftermath of the event, or lack of, we hung around for a bit after the finals chatting to some of the intel team and when we eventually left the outside wasn’t trashed, a little rubbish here are there but honestly pretty good with that amount of people!

We had a blast and can’t wait for the next big event, full credit to the teams from ESL and Intel for putting this one together so flawlessly – hope to see you at the next one!

GG