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EGE 2016: 'We are because you are'

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EGE 2016 blew my doors off, ripped my heart open and left me reeling. It wasn't because of spectacular displays, or because I could get hands-on time with upcoming games. It was the people. The ones who dedicate their everything to our local games industry. 

As we walked into the EGE hall, we met up with Holden from ACGL, who was shaking from tiredness because he's been working through the night, and he has two days ahead of him during which he'll run and shoutcast some of the tournaments. Then we meet up with Luca from Orena who is running the ESWC qualifiers for CS: GO, the Overwatch tournament and then some. Luca doesn't know, but I see the tiredness he wears like a heavy cloak. I also notice in the firm set of his jaw, and the look in his eyes, that he is once again determined to pull off another SA eSports event at the highest possible standard.

And then there's the beloved Clint "Zombie_Dredd" O' Shea, and his lovely wife.

I look at his face; it has an unhealthy pallor, and it's not zombie related. And I want to burst into tears. The overwhelming stress of the past few months, the hours, days, weeks accumulated spend in preparation for EGE - away from his wife. Not for money - it's a labor of love - because "It's for local gaming to grow."  He sits back in his chair, looks out over the event and says; "I am proud of this."

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I walk away so he doesn't notice the emotion wanting to burst through my "brave" veneer.

For the first time since we've started working together, I meet his wife. We agree jokingly to start a support club for the partners of those working in South Africa's games industry. She's been through this EGE journey (and the countless gaming events before it) with him. I subconsciously give her +9000 for her attitude and dedication.

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Megan (middle) A Day In The Woods (left) and Ginjah (right)

I stand back and look out over the different stalls, and my eyes fall on a face I've only seen on social media - yet we've talked many hours. I rush over and rudely interrupt to introduce myself. I am so excited I forget her name, and quickly explain - it's Han - we've talked! Megan from RetroEpic thankfully recognizes the name and blue hair. I have so much respect for this tiny, fragile looking woman. Together with RetroEpic, she's involved with so many projects that help them fund their own games. In case you forgot, last year they won that prestigious international games competition. Megan tells me how she was notified a few hours ago that they're exhibiting at EGE, and how their stall isn't up to standard. I brush it aside as she starts talking about her passion for local game development. I ask her about some of the things people don't know - like what local devs go through to publish their games. After hearing her reply (more about that in an upcoming article), I need a "lift me up" and scramble over to Broforce - SA's big success story.

On my way over I bump into Nick Hall from Make Games SA. Lawyer by day Batman by night. A real SA gaming crusader, our Dark Knight of gaming. Hero to local game devs and the champion of so many game related projects. He's not yet had time to organize his stall, but he's running around helping and talking where he can. We shake hands before he runs off to help another soul with some local gaming question.

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Finally I find myself in the land of milk and honey. It's Broforce baby! I meet the newly appointed PA lady who tells me proudly that the game sold thousands with the latest update. She is so green and so enthusiastic I persuade her into telling me some things that can't yet be published. I am so glad I get a breather from the deep emotions that's been brewing up a storm in my gut. It's just money coming in and good times here, right? And then she hits me right in the feels.

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Free Lives Website | Twitter | Facebook | Broforce on Steam | Website

I can't even remember her name, just her words. (Her name is Dimpho & she's PA to Free Lives' Shaz - Producer and Evan - Director.) She's brand new to working in SA gaming; she's a blank canvas, and we all get to paint our picture on her. Forget the success of Broforce; it's all about how people "give back', or just give and give and give .... so someone can make or do something great. It's about a mutual care, a shared passion, a commitment to keep on going "in spite of."

"We live Ubuntu," I tell her as the emotions that's been churning since I walked in finally give birth to something. Michael Onyebuchi Eze described "Ubuntu" as "A person is a person through other people." Eze continued, "Humanity is a quality we owe to each other. We create each other and need to sustain this otherness creation. And if we belong to each other, we participate in our creations: we are because you are, and since you are, definitely I am."

According to Archbishop Desmond Tutu Ubuntu speaks to "our interconnectedness."

He explained further that "You can't be human all by yourself, and when you have this quality – Ubuntu – you are known for your generosity. Madiba agreed with Tutu, and said that if you lived Ubuntu you would "enable the community around you to be able to improve."

I didn't want to write the usual event coverage article. Because you are anything but "usual." You are extraordinary, you make us proud, you extend us, you give so freely, and we can never thank you enough. You are known for your generosity, and you enable this small local gaming community to improve. You inspire us and are our heroes.

To every person who contributes to the growth of South African gaming.

Check out our Facebook album for your "usual" EGE coverage fix.

Han: Twitter / MWEB GameZone: Twitter | Facebook


"when you have this quality – Ubuntu – you are known for your generosity"

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