radioactive gamers rage

Yup, it’s true, I’ve never actually been to rAge. It’s not because I’m a recent gaming convert or anything, I’ve just never lived in Joburg. I’ve spent most of my life in the Eastern Cape, foraging for nuts and berries and a faster ADSL connection.

I moved up to Joburg to study full-time last year, so 2013 marks the first time me and a rAge event have been in the same place. I’ll be making the most of it by spending the full three days there, and sharing my experiences right here on this website. Please, hold your applause.

This then is my possibly unhelpful, potentially unreliable and completely uninformed set of tips for getting the most out of your rAge experience.

If you’re interested in some advice that’s far more likely to be useful, I advise you to check out Wesley Fick’s more informed opinion here. If, however, you’re the kind of person who prefers the advice of someone with zero practical experience and entirely untested suggestions, hit the jump.

Do Something New

I think a lot of us, almost all of us really, come to rAge with preconceived ideas about what we want to do and what we want to see.

We want to try out the new consoles, play the games that interest us the most and do a circuit of the booths, skipping the ones we don’t recognise or think we’ll have no interest in.

If you do all that, you are going to have a good time – but you could have had a better time. There’s so much going on at rAge that it’s really worth getting out of your comfort zone and trying something completely different.

You might be a dedicated gamer, but have you ever gotten into a collectible card game or table-top game? Who cares if you suck or have no idea what you’re doing; people are always eager to teach new players and these games can be highly addictive and incredibly fun once you wrap your head around the rules.

Don’t be tunnel-visioned about what you want to do. Go in open to new experiences, there’s a ton of less mainstream stuff such as comics, figurines and anime which you (and I) might have simply dismissed or ignored. Give it a try, you may be pleasantly surprised.

The advantage of table-top games is looking your opponent in the eye while you crush them.

The advantage of table-top games is looking your opponent in the eye while you crush them.

Make Friends

Taking a friend or two with you to share the experience is good advice, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make more friends along the way; or even go in solo.

This is a room filled with thousands of people who all have the same interests and hobbies as you, in a fun, laid-back and social environment. You’ll likely be stuck in lines for a couple of hours, so take the opportunity to strike up a conversation with the people around you.

This links back to my previous tip, as while you might have a lot of similar interests to the person next to you, they could introduce you to some new stuff as well.

Who knows, you might leave the event with more than some new gear, you might be leaving with a future husband/wife/girlfriend/boyfriend/mate/gaming partner/stalker as well. Don’t be shy; take risks; meet new people.

Deodorant, Deodorant, Deodorant

This is particularly for you LAN folk. Now I know what it’s like to spend 48 hours gaming with no opportunity for adequate nourishment and hygiene, but that doesn’t mean we need 2,000 gamers attempting to fight to remain conscious in a smog of sweaty ass-crack.

Wear breathable material like cotton, wear lots of deodorant and bring a fresh change of clothes so you can at least attempt some kind of five-minute bathroom freshen up if going home isn’t an option.

I think everybody needs a little less of this in their lives.

I think everybody needs a little less of this in their lives.

Get Into e-Sports

e-Sports is a growing phenomenon globally, and let me tell you, it’s a ton of fun. Most of you reading this will probably have at least one sport you enjoy, but all of us enjoy gaming, and watching it played competitively is exciting and addictive.

At rAge you’ll find a ton of DoGaming League e-Sports action, and I really encourage you to get involved. Seeing matches played out on a big stage with a crowd gasping and cheering and going nuts at big plays is every bit as exhilarating as watching the big game at Ellis Park or Centurion. I advise you to pick an individual or team you like and support them through the tournament; it adds that extra layer of excitement to every match.

Don’t just watch the games you like either – if you’re an FPS player, why not go check out the DotA 2 matches (or vice versa)? Once again, you can meet new people and discover something new and fun.

Lastly, it adds to the tension to remember there’s some big money on the line here. The DotA Championship alone has R15,000 in cash up for grabs as well as Steelseries-sponsored hardware.

Don't worry, you can actually see their screens.

Don’t worry, you can actually see their screens.

Be Comfortable

Back in Wesley Fick’s much more informed set of tips, he advised you bring comfortable shoes for long waits in line.

I think we can go a step further than that; wear comfortable everything. It’s heading into Joburg summer, you have thousands of people and machines pumping hot air into a closed space; that air-conditioning is going to be working overtime.

It’s a LAN party and expo for geeks, not a speed dating service; there’s no need to look fancy. Wear loose-fitting, comfortable clothes, comfortable shoes and something that you’re not going to get too hot in. Your main goal is to have a fantastic time; if you’re getting a rash from your skinny jeans and your fedora’s headband is too tight that’s not going to happen.

Besides, a comfortable, underdressed person is probably more attractive than a sweaty, awkward, overdressed one anyway, no matter how much you think that turquoise bow-tie accents your eyes.

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