This weekend saw the annual RAGE expo at the Ticketpro Dome in Johannesburg showcasing the latest in video gaming, technology, gadgets and geek lifestyle culture.
To most gaming enthusiasts and pure-blooded geeks, myself included, RAGE is a highlight in our yearly calendars.
On Saturday morning I got in my car all excited to be covering the RAGE expo for InfoRocked, however my excitement soon turned to jaw dropping astonishment as I rounded the corner of the Ticketpro Dome. The queues were already stretching over the bridge connecting the additional parking area across the freeway. The queues also extended into the parking lot of the main entrances. I calmed myself and thought that it was to be expected and as the doors opened the crowds will disperse… they didn’t. Overcrowding aside, let’s get down to business.
This year’s expo saw the crowd pitching up in marvellous and exciting cosplay (Definition: “The practice of dressing up as a character from a film, book, or video game, especially one from the Japanese genres of manga or anime.”). They came in all shapes and sizes from Batman’s Harlequin to Goku from Dragon Ball Z. I even saw a little boy dressed as Harry Potter with the signature lightning bolt scar drawn on his forehead. Give those parents a Bells!
As a RAGE veteran I have come to set the bar very high in regards to awe and amazement of the new technology being showcased, but same as last year it seemed lacking for me. So here’s a run-down of the highs and the lows of this year’s RAGE expo.
The Oculus Rift
The highlight technology of this year was the Oculus Rift. It is a head worn Virtual Reality device with screens fitted inside which provides 360® views of your game, immersing you right into the action.
Intel RealSense 3D Depth Camera
Intel also exhibited their new imaging camera and software that allows users to 3D scan an individual and place them right into a game as an avatar. The scan can also be 3d printed so you can get a life-size you, or whomever you choose. Pretty cool right?
Well those were the only two things I could get excited about. Majority of the rest of the expo saw the same old exhibitions. The few exceptions included The Rectron/Rebeltech stand, the NAG Overclocking Workshop; the Evetech and Asus stands were also worth a visit as they displayed interesting hardware tech.
Another highlight was the NAG LAN held in conjunction with the expo. It’s the largest peer to peer LAN held in South Africa with gamers coming far and wide. Fortunately for the people traveling all the way from Cape Town to attend, the organizers of RAGE has announced RAGE Cape Town is set for March 2016.
A low was the lack of new and exciting stalls which can steal the show. Also overcrowding as mentioned before is of real concern. If there is a technology or gadget you want to try you’ll have to wait in a long queue to get your hands on it. Same goes for the novelty stalls. Something worth mentioning is also the lack of “freebies”. Previous years you got a plastic bag with multiple gaming or computer hardware magazines and a bunch of catalogues. This year… Nothing. You got a bag at the entrance, but as for magazines, you had to visit each stall to see who had them.
So would I attend RAGE again next year? Yes I probably will. That’s because you can’t beat the amazing atmosphere and the adrenalin you get when seeing that new shiny gadget for the first time. Yes some things are lack lustre, but it still remains the largest technology and gaming expo in South Africa.
I definitely agree with Kobus on the vibrant atmosphere at rAge Ex 2015. Hopefully organisers are now confident that they can pull massive enough crowds and get a larger venue!