Interview: 2upGamers’ Glenn Alexander

Did you know, 2upGamers is pretty much the biggest thing to happen to the Cape Town gaming scene since CD burners? Officially.

With its 3rd Encounter event done, dusted, and a definitive doozie, the team has now managed the extraordinary and unprecedented feat in getting Cape Town gamers organised enough to be in the same place at the same time three times in a row.

How did they accomplish this? We locked 2upGamers founder Glenn Alexander in a room with Japanese fighting spiders and demanded answers.

Glenn Alexander

MyG: The whole 2upGamers initiative – who, what, when, where, how, and why?

Glenn: 2upGamers was founded by three of us local Capetonian gamers, myself (Glenn Alexander), Ashley O’Neill and Hylton Arendse. 2upGamers is a monthly gathering of like-minded people, be it gamers, game developers or designers, their partners and our friends coming together to enjoy an evening of all things gaming. We’ll host an hour or so of talks and speeches from industry players such as ISPs, distributors, retailers, online gaming portals, news and content sites, gaming communities, clans and so forth.

2upGamers happens every first Friday of each month with the exception of January. Currently 2upGamers is being hosted at Friends of Design in Bree street but looking at last week’s turnout a bigger venue is on the cards. After we have conducted the formalities of the speeches, the gamers are treated to drinks and dinner in the form of take-aways (usually pizza) followed by a session of gaming. TV screens and consoles are provided with the latest titles for gamers to try out while they socialise, mingle and get their game on in a casual environment.

The why is very important to us; 99% of anything gaming related, such as, events, game launches and media briefings happen up in Gauteng. For us down here in Cape Town, we decided that it was up to us to get gamers together on a monthly basis to enjoy what the industry has to offer regarding gaming. I got together with Ashley and Hylton in October and we came up with what is now known as 2upGamers. A play on the words, “Up to Gamers” – 2upGamers.

2upGamers' Hylton Arendse. "Come in, Alpha Tango Donuts. We've got a bogey in sector four. Secure pizzas for evac."

MyG: Achievement Unlocked: 100 attendees! Those pizzas didn’t stand a chance. How does it feel to see 2upGamers become such a big thing in just three events, or is everything going exactly according to some secret world domination plan?

Glenn: Oh yes, make no mistake – Achievement Unlocked. Seeing over 100 attendees on Friday night was seriously exciting. Considering the time of month, one week of promoting the event and badaboom, over 100 people showed up and supported our 2upGamers 3rd Encounter.

The reason 2upGamers is so successful is because the Cape Town gaming scene has been super hungry for just such an event (hence the reason why 40 pizzas were demolished on Friday evening). The climate is right, the soil is very fertile and all we have done is provide the platform for gamers to get together monthly, and getting together is one thing the gamers in Cape Town know how to do and do it very well. So it is with massive thanks to the local gamers for coming out and supporting us in such a big way. For the time being, I’d gladly say we’re well ahead of schedule. 2012 is going to be an amazing year for 2upGamers if it started off like this.

MyG: What’s next for 2upGamers, both in the short and longer term?

Glenn: After seeing the turnout for Friday night’s 3rd Encounter, immediately we’re facing a problem of our venue bursting at the seams and are now in need of a bigger venue. So short term, locating a bigger venue to attract more gamers and give away more free gaming swag. Over the long term, we’re hoping to spread 2upGamers up along the coast and replicate the success we’ve experienced down in Cape Town in Durban before the middle of this year. Even longer term, before we say goodbye to 2012, we’re hoping to at least be running successfully in 4 major cities within South Africa.

Damn it, everybody moved while I was taking the shot.

MyG: The 2upGamers team is Delta Squad. What’s your battle plan against a Locust assault? For the purposes of this scenario, assume there are no overhead satellites for the Hammer of Dawn (that’s just cheating).

Glenn: Hehe, this is exactly the beauty and nature of our 2upGamers “Delta Squad”. With each gathering, we’ve seen our numbers swell and increase. The 2upGamers army is growing steadily and because we are so community focused and we’re not concentrating on numbers, by having intense gatherings of fun and games, those Locusts out there are wanting to join in and participate just as much as the gamers. What I am trying to say is, we are not here to compete, we’re here to create and give our local gamers the best Friday evening each month so that they will return next month even hungrier than before. With a friend or two of course.

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Interview: 2upGamers’ Glenn Alexander

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