It’s that time of year again. The time when you break open the savings account, beg the easier parent and consider pimping your significant other or least-favourite sibling (not recommended) to afford that upgrade you’ve been putting off for the last six months. It’s time for you to scrounge your camping supplies, book those plane or bus tickets, and mentally prepare yourself for the biggest LANning event in Africa. Yep – it’s almost time for the NAG LAN at rAge, and this year it’s bigger than ever before.

First – the numbers: This year we’ll be running the same format as last year, with a total of 1800 gamers sprawled between the mezzanine level and the animal cage on the main floor, but with a twist. AGASA and Telkom have taken control over a secret basement level of the dome and reserved 500 additional seats for their own nefarious purposes. There they will run a series of tournaments and competitions for SA’s gaming l33t.

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Right, so you want in but keep asking yourself “But Geoff, how do I get in?” What you need is a ticket. These mystical pieces of paper go on sale this Saturday (August the 1st) at Computicket for the price of R250 – which includes entrance to the main expo event. I won’t harp on too much about what you need to bring, or all the rules and regulations, but please make sure that your power cables have a red plug attached to them. No red plug means no power, and a powerless PC is about as exciting as dry toast. Just to be safe, don’t bank on there being any cables for sale at the venue: make sure you’ve sorted yourself out first by grabbing one from any decent hardware or department store. If you’ve got any other concerns, please read the FAQ on our forums. Last year, the tickets sold out in the first two weeks, so make sure you’re on the ball this year. If you somehow manage to miss out, however, you might still be able to snag a spot in the AGASA LAN if you or your clan are deemed worthy enough.

rage02“Thanks Geoff, you’re so handsome and clever, but what can I expect to find at the LAN?” I hear you ask. As always, Vaalhooligan Crew (VC) will be in charge of the whole process, with hardware sponsored by D-Link and Intel, but that’s not what you’re asking, is it? No, you’re interested in the hundreds, if not thousands, of games that will be played during this 54 hour marathon, and that’s perfectly reasonable. The short answer is, we don’t know exactly what will be played, but you can expect pretty much every mainstream title to at least make an appearance. Call of Duty 4 and 5, Crysis, Team Fortress 2, Unreal Tournament 3, Quake 3, Counter-Strike and Half-Life 2, Demigod, Warcraft III and DotA, Red Alert 3, Command and Conquer 3, Starcraft and tons more. There will also be chill areas, food available for purchase and, of course, 1799 other gamers to chat to. Servers will be a mix of official, VC-hosted machines and private games between players, to ensure there’s a game to play even deep into the wee morning hours. There will also be a number of semi-official competitions running during the event. Keep an eye on the rAge section of the NAG forums, or look out for further information at the event.

Even if you’ve never been to rAge, there’s no better way to enjoy the show than from within a pile of like-minded individuals who want nothing more from their weekend than to play computer games.

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