Feature: one last look at rAge 2009

It’s been a few days since rAge 2009 closed its doors. The event was an outstanding success, with both guests and exhibitors thrilled with the experience as a whole. This year saw more attendees (almost 20 000) and stalls than ever before – both good signs for the gaming industry in our lovely country. Whether you visited for the hardware, games, babes, anime, or whatever, you could find the latest and greatest of the whole gamut to exercise your drool glands over. There was something for everyone to get excited about, no matter which facet of our diverse gaming culture you inhabit. There were a large number of highlights that really stood out, but I’ll only mention a few, or else we’d be here all day.

rage wrap-up 01It was truly wonderful to have guys visiting from international game developers Ubisoft and 2K. It’s easy to anonymise the hard-working folks behind the games we play – but seeing them speak about their products with endless passion and enthusiasm really drives home how much time and effort they put in. Next time you’re sitting in the afterglow of a freshly-completed title, give a thought to the team of men and women who were responsible. Thank you to Brent George and Dave Halse for travelling the “1000 hour flight” to our fair country! (PS, don’t feed the lions.) It will be hard to forget the enormous 103” television at the NAG stand – every person who played on it no doubt has a new item at the top of Santa’s list (or possibly a scar where their kidney used to be). At the very least, many will be considering a second mortgage to finance one of the damn things. The Quake 3 tournament was fascinating to witness – seeing those guys play was inspiring, and one can take comfort from the fact that it is actually possible to make a living playing games despite what your teachers said.

rAge set an unofficial record for LAN attendees in SA – a total of 2162 players plugged in to 30km of cable for 54 hours of non-stop multiplayer madness. The tickets sold out in a matter of days, no doubt leaving a lot of disappointed people, but those who were able to nab one had an excellent (if hand-cramping, butt-numbing) time.

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Thanks go out to all the suppliers (especially MSI and Incredible Connection) who provided the awesome prizes that were awarded throughout the weekend. Because of you, there are a lot of happy gamers out there with fresh hardware to cuddle up to at night!

What about next year? More of the same please! All tournaments should be local entry only though – sure, it would be great to have international players on hand for exhibition matches, but actual competition should be kept to homegrown players to keep things on a level field. And maybe open up the main stage to more speakers – the local game dev guys would no doubt be happy to share their experiences, and the cosplay competition should be visible to all.

To those who couldn’t make it this year – bribe, threaten, whine or cajole* your way here next year! You really missed out. To those who travelled from far and wide to be with us, a special thank you for your effort. And to everyone who attended (be they from Earth, Middle Earth or Mars) thank you for your support!

*Neither NAG nor its employees condone or recommend the use of violence to obtain gaming satisfaction, no matter how righteously awesome it is.