rAge, South Africa’s largest gaming and technology expo has come and gone once again – and proven, as it does every year, that video games and the culture surrounding them aren’t just viable – they’re actually big damned business. Gamers from all walks of life swarmed the Dome in Northgate to see the newest in games and technology. Here’s what we thought.
It seemed, on the Friday, to be a somewhat subdued affair this year; there were fewer exhibitors and what seemed like far more space thanks to wider isles, more open stands and a generally improved layout. and then Saturday happened – and once again, the Dome was full to bursting,making for a pretty unpleasant experience for your average claustrophobe. I really think the event has outgrown its venue.
Was it all worth coming through though? Depends on the gamer. There were quite a number of rad new, unreleased games to play. EA had Battlefield 4, running on some pretty beefy Pc’s, along with FIFA 14 and Need for Speed Rivals on show. I asked EA why there was no TitanFall – and they tried, they really did – but as Gavin pointed out earlier today, Igromir in Russia and the EBGames expo in Australia get preference – which is why there was a relative lack of PS4 and Xbox One games on show; the dev units and display kits are all being used elsewhere right now.
Both next-gen consoles were on display of course; the PS4 was there, but Sony could only secure two games for rAge; DriveClub and Knack – which are, quite frankly, two of the dullest games in the PS4 launch line up. Warner Bros. had a ridiculously impressive Batman: Arkham Origins stand, thought it was unfortunately the only game of theirs really on show. would have loved for Sa consumers to see how good Mad Max and Dying Light are shaping up.
Microsoft did quite bit better, I thought, With Ryse: Son of Rome’s multiplayer on the floor for everyone to play, along with Forza 5. Dead Rising 3, the game to own on the Xbox One and the game that’s seriously making me consider switching my Ps4 pre-order for Xbox One was also on show, but not openly playable for all. If you’d sat in the presentation for the game though, you’d have had the chance to see and perhaps even have the chance to play it .
Megarom had a host of stuff; Skylanders Swop Force, Assassin’s Creed 4 (running on PS4 devkits), NBA 2K14, WWE2K14, Dark Souls II and Final Fantasy XII: Lightning Returns, plus demos of South Park: The Stick of Truth and Watch Dogs. Rad. Nintendo had some pretty amazing stuff on show; Mario Kart 8, Super Mario 3D world – and that new Legend of Zelda for the 3DS.
For us though, the AAA stuff or the new console on display wasn’t a big draw; we’ve been to E3 and Gamescom, so we’ve seen and played it already. Far more exciting for us this year, and I think most of our local journalists, was the opportunity to have a look at some of the frankly impressive locally made indie games at the MakeGamesSA stand, and chat to the developers of those games about their work.
There were 15 home-brewed made by really passionate people, with highlights (for me, at least) being retrofuture’s zX hyperbalst, a rad as all hell, tough-as-nails shmup; Giant Box Games’ Pixelboy, a top-down, rogue-like(ish) quirky adventure RPG shooter that turns genre conventions around, and Free Lives’ Broforce, a terribly violent, ridiculously fun shooter in the Contra vein. We’ll have some more in-depth looks at all fifteen games, along with profiles on their creators and some neat interviews later. We’ll be paying a much closer eye to the local indie scene; there’s some serious game-making passion and talent in SA.
Did you head out to rAge? What did you think of this year’s expo?
Last Updated: October 7, 2013