SA geeks gear up for gaming expo
It’s been eight years since South Africa’s biggest gaming expo first opened its doors and rAge—the Really Awesome Gaming Expo—is going from strength to strength.
This weekend at the Coca-Cola Dome in Northgate, Johannesburg, rAge offers anyone with a interest in electronic entertainment somewhere to browse, try and buy the latest in videogames, gadgets, computer hardware and software.
Although rAge is more accurately an exhibition, it is the closest that South African geeks will get to a convention. Superhero T-shirts are de rigueur, and earnest fanboys—and girls—will spend hours trying out as-yet unreleased video games and browsing for bargains at the many stalls.
Among the games on display will be Guitar Hero 6: Warriors of Rock, Need for Speed Hot Pursuit, EA Sports MMA, and the highly anticipated Fable 3.
Some of the exhibits promise to be gimmicky, but fun. To build excitement around their MMA (mixed martial arts) game, EA Games will host a cage fighting exhibition featuring mixed martial arts. Across the floor, fans of videogame news show The Verge can gather around to see host Pippa Tshabalala take on V-Entertainment’s Lalla Hirayama at WWE wrestling.
If you fancy yourself a sharpshooter, you can try your skills against some of the world’s best Quake players, who will be flying in for the event. And if you can’t hold your own against them, perhaps a round or two against “super-hot FHM models” will lift your mood.
A handful of international developers and producers are also expected to attend but details have not yet been finalised.
Undoubtedly, rAge’s biggest drawcard is its massive LAN dedicated to interactive gaming. For the uninitiated, a LAN is a small network of locally-based computers. But the LAN at rAge could hardly be termed small. This year there are 2 080 computers and participants. Organisers are hoping to break the record for the largest temporary LAN in the Southern hemisphere.
Tickets to the LAN were in high demand and, though priced at R300 each, they sold out in less than 36 hours. “We’re definitely going to expand it next year,” said rAge product manager Michael James, who is confident that even if the number of spots at the LAN were doubled, they would sell out.
Those lucky enough to get their hands on a ticket will spend the entire weekend facing off against friends and foes on the virtual battlefield. Their computers and their physical selves meanwhile will be secured in a dedicated area at the Dome.
This year, the other big drawcard at rAge includes the unveiling of the new motion-control systems from gaming giants Microsoft and Sony. “Microsoft [Xbox] Kinect and PlayStation Move are two of the highlights this year. They’re introducing new casual games for non-gaming people. It’s their response to the Nintendo Wii,” said James.
The PlayStation Move operates with the help of a motion-sensitive “wand” while the Microsoft Kinect registers the movement of a player’s body. Even casual gamers will be queuing up to find out whether the Move and Kinect will live up to the media hype.
Tickets are available at the door and cost R50 per person. A weekend ticket will set you back R80. Family tickets (two adults and two kids) are R160 and kids under six enter for free.