Recently on the weekend of the 25th and 26th of August, Sydney Australia's Luna Park played host to the World Cyber Games 2007 National Championship. For those not in the know, the World Cyber Games are to videogames what the Summer Olympic Games are to regular athletic games, and it has been growing steadily in popularity and stature amongst the International gaming community since its inception around the turn of the last century.
The Australian Championship is naturally the final round of play down under, determining who stays home and who heads off to Seattle USA for the World Championship, which is coming up on the 3rd of October. On display over the weekend were playoffs and finals for Gears of War and Dead or Alive on the 360, with CS 1.6, Warcraft 3, and C&C3 on the PC. On top of the official gaming business, there were also plenty of action and entertainment from sponsor booths and desks, as well as a few special events.
Samsung, the major sponsor of the event, had the most dominant sponsor presence across the floor as just about every single square metre inside the "Big Top" function room at Luna Park featured a Samsung LCD, whether it be a smaller 4:3 PC screen for the PC setups, or a spectacular 16:9 widescreens for the 360's. In the Samsung area itself, a complete home theatre area was setup for anyone to sit down and play Gears of War on, complete with a 52" display, comfy lounge, and what appeared
to be a 7.1 surround
sound system. Samsung also displayed some phones and MP3 players, but it was not surprising to see most attendees flock to the home theatre and other screen setups, which were very impressive. The whole place was just absolutely packed to the brim with HD screens, so much so I don't even think extra lighting would have been needing as the collective screen glow was enough to illuminate the entire event.
Around the floor, various other sponsors also setup booths and desks including Gigabyte, Kingston, Altech/NRG and ASUS. ASUS were just mainly showing off some of their latest hardware including a water cooled 8800GTX, while Altech and Kingston both opted to setup racing car booths complete with racing chair, pedals and wheel on some very high end PC's. Gigabyte had their very latest RD790 chipset AMD system on display with an Athlon64 6400+ CPU and DDR3 memory which was running a loop of 3DMark06
and getting 12,000+ scores, but as far as the hardware sponsor displays go, the show was definitely stolen by the secondary Gigabyte table, which featured the overclocking prowess of Team Australia, who recently took home gold in the team competition at the ASUS Overclocking Championship 2007. These guys setup two systems running extreme cooling involving dry ice, and definitely put it to good use - they managed to clock a target="_blank">E6700 Core 2 Duo CPU originally to 5GHz, then to 5.1GHz, but later on managed to exceed 5.2GHz, going through two motherboards in the process due to the extreme pressure. I have never personally seen such extreme cooling in the flesh, so it was a thrill to watch as the guys reached degrees of -115c.
Of course, being a gaming event, game publishers also made their presence with various booths and Xbox 360 consoles setup for anyone to sit down and enjoy, which actually mostly featured either games just released, or soon to be released. This included two BioShock 360 demo setups, with Ubisoft showing off Blazing Angels 2, EA with MOH: Airborne, and the new SEGA Australia office showing off the new up coming SEGA Rally. No one game seemed to attract the most attention patron wise, but personally,
having already been playing BioShock for a few days before the event, Blazing Angels 2 was where I had the most fun and going off what was on offer, it should be a pretty enjoyable game. With that said though, Airborne, SEGA Rally, and the other games on display were all great fun in their own right as well. Outside of the publisher area, also available for public play was an Xbox 360 tent with 6 consoles, and of course the aforementioned Samsung 360 setup and the racing car setups from both Altech/NRG and
With all these activities ready and waiting for anyone who wished to picked up a controller or sit down in a racing car seat aside, there were also of course plenty of gamers attending the event who were not just there for fun, but for competition as well. Throughout the start to finish of both days, various heats and playoffs and then ensuing finals were held for the official competition games, and for anyone wishing to witness these contests, the fenced off competition area used
for the majority of both 360 and PC comps was accessible at any time, and definitely the most regularly packed area of the floor as the gaming on display was of a high quality. Naturally, with hot competition also comes some very intense gaming moments and occasionally some hot tempers, but the majority of the event showcased a lot of good sportsmanship and mutual respect amongst high quality gamers.
On the second day of the event, more of the same from the first day was on display floor
although as far as the competitive gaming goes, this is the day where most finals were played out. In the CS 1.6 comp, 'Stensgaming' came in 3rd while 'Team Immunity' finished 2nd, and 'SQL Gaming' finished on top. In the Gears of War, 'Malice' finished 1st with 'Death by SUS' and 'Best BR' finishing 2nd and 3rd respectively, while in Warcraft 3: Throzen Throne, 'Moon_Glade' came out on top with gamer Ziheng Liu winning the Warcraft 3: Defense of the
Ancients competition. In what was a very surprising moment, the winner of the C&C 3 comp, Fabian Baumann, made a startling admission when taking the stage accepting his victory, claiming that he had only started playing C&C the morning of the competition and simply entered for a bit of fun. Fabian, as well as all the other winning teams and individuals, will be making their way to the finals in Seattle USA this October.
Also on the second day were a few more special events, mostly inside the boxing ring which sat squarely in the center of the venue. The first event inside this ring was a Shadowrun showdown between MS rep Brad Pidgeon and Australian Halo 2 champ Dean Loaney. This match-up was to showcase the game's Live Anywhere capabilities allowing play between a PC and 360 console, with Brad on the PC and Dean on the 360. Despite the fact you've got to believe a mouse and keyboard would allow for better control, Dean
dominated the event winning 6-1. Also on display in the ring later on day 2 was a "celebrity hot lap" in Forza 2 which Australian V8 Supercar reigning champ Rick Kelly won with ease, and the final for Dead or Alive, which gamer Daniel Chlebowczyk won over Chris Nash in a hard fought battle featuring a few dazzling combo's from both competitors. The celebrities taking part in the Hot Lap (Rick Kelly, Sydney Roosters players
Anthony Minichiello and Shaun Kenny-Dowall, and Cybershack TV host Erin McNaught) all signed a 360 console which will be auctioned off with the proceeds going to charity.
All in all, while I'm sure the organisers would have loved to see a larger turnout public wise, the event was a success with a lot of gaming action on display and a few interesting side events that helped keep the atmosphere going. MC Losty and his camera crew kept the crowd informed of the more significant happenings via a large display and the competitive gaming across both days was definitely impressive and usually quite intense
to watch, not to mention the fun had with the variety of free gaming on offer for the public as well as regular raffle prizes which were handed out by the lovely WCG girls. Well done WCG on an enjoyable event and good luck to all of our winners representing Australia in Seattle! For more photos from the event (including some of the aforementioned WCG girls), make sure to check out page 2.