Editor’s note: Ryan Smith is a longtime gamer and freelance writer who lives in Raleigh, NC. A graduate of East Carolina University with a degree in business and marketing, he has written in the past for WRAL Tech Wire and GameArgus.com. He currently plays Xbox 360 and PC as well as Nintendo DS. For story ideas, tips and feedback, he can be reached via e-mail (ryannicksmith@gmail.com)

RALEIGH, N.C. – This past weekend proved that despite a hurricane, gamers will still assemble to do battle in the arenas of the Major League Gaming. Monday night also showed that post-hurricane thunderstorms will not prevent a great turnout at the first ever Raleigh Game On event.

Ten developers from the Raleigh area assembled to showcase their products to other developers and for all of us gamers. At The Hive in downtown Raleigh, a large pack of gamers and game makers gathered to talk about – and play – that which we love: Video Games.

Included in the festivities of having some drinks, playing games and meeting the developers, there was also a raffle for a Nintendo 64 with an unopened copy of Goldeneye – a true icon in gaming history.

Raleigh Game On was initiated by Ben Moore and Alan Youngblood of Mighty Rabbit Studios, developers of my favorite two games of the show: “Saturday Morning RPG” and “Cylinder.” I had a chance to talk with Ben about the event and what Raleigh Game On was all about – getting developers involved with the Triangle Gaming Initiative while making the Triangle the hub of the east coast Video Gaming world.

The first game I got to try out was “Bust-A-Marble,” by FairLady Media. Bust-A-Marble is a free to download game available for the iPad and iPhone, so far already netting 350,000 downloads.

It’s a lovely little game where the objective is to slide your finger along a line of marbles that are randomly assorted by color. You have to connect marbles of the same color, the more marbles the better score you get. Seven or more marbles gets you a multiplier that sets your screen ablaze! You’re on fire!

The most popular game offered by FairLady is “Spazzle,” also available for iOS devices. Spazzle is the mole whacking game that started it all, with over 1,000,000 downloads for the Spazzle series.

Another game I got to try was by Nakai Entertainment, “Ninja Hamster Rescue.” Rescue is a side scrolling action game where you take on the role of “Riku, a cute, but deadly elite ninja hamster”. This is fun little game where you utilize different ninja skills to allow your hamster to seek revenge against the Samurai Cats. Available for Android and iOS devices, Rescue is already at about 500 downloads and just received its first update.

I also tried WeFiend’s SushiBoy, a “twitchy arcade dodger” game where you tilt –or tap if you prefer- your iOS device to steer your character along an intense obstacle course to collect as much Sushi as you can and use power-ups to destroy obstacles along your way. The art style in this game is tremendous. Once it drops on Oct. 26, I highly recommend it to any iOS owner. (Watch a trailer at YouTube here.)

Among the other games I saw on display was “Muse,” a third person iOS shooter from Lab Rats Studio, and two titles from Mighty Rabbit Games.

Cylinder is a former iOS title that has been ported to Xbox Live Arcade and should be available soon. Cylinder is a fun puzzle game with a futuristic look to it. We played some four way multiplayer where the objective is to connect 4 or more pieces of the same color on a cylinder of blocks that rotates around. If you get 5 or more you “attack” your opponents, adding blocks to a randomly assigned enemy.

My favorite title of the show turned out to be Mighty Rabbit’s other title, the iOS title “Saturday Morning RPG.” This is an RPG largely based around 90’s TV and Movie spoofs, it has great classic RPG gameplay mixed with a very charming story and design. As far as iOS games go it is one of the most tempting ones that I have seen. It sold me when I was able to draw a pencil from my inventory and watch as it grow to mammoth proportions as it hurled itself toward my Cobra Kai-esque villain’s face.

Fabulous products, great people and good times, I would say Raleigh Game On’s debut was a great success. If you didn’t make it out, have no fear, because more Raleigh Game On events are on their way soon!

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