The rAge expo as we know it has been going for over ten years, so it’s inevitable that the inaugural Cape Town rAge Expo be compared to its bigger brother. I’m a lifelong attendee of the Joburg rAge, alternatively as a retail slave, a media person, and just a general gaming member of the public. So it was with that ‘expertise’ that I set off to Cape Town last week to check it out.
Held pretty far away from the hub of Cape Town at the GrandWest Casino, rAge was split in two, with the LAN being held on one side of the casino’s food court, and the show floor itself hidden behind the arcade section on the opposite side. I’m used to everything being in the same place and not having to leave the Ticketpro Dome at all, so the split layout was disconcerting. The guys at the NAG LAN must have enjoyed it, their section was relatively quiet and calm, and there wasn’t a lot of space for the public to gawk at them.
But, once I was on the main show floor, it felt pretty much the same as any rAge, just a lot smaller. I forget how enormous the TicketPro Dome show floor actually is, so everything at GrandWest felt condensed and scaled down. It was definitely all still there though, from the same retailers we know and love in Joburg to the boardgames guys in the Unplug Yourself section, and even the same kind of WTF randomness, this time in the form of an O2 Bar (I didn’t really get it either).
Unfortunately thanks to the time of the year, there weren’t any major new releases to play test, besides for The Division, but the lines still formed for both PlayStation and Xbox stands. The Telkom DGL Masters CS:GO Tournament also kept everyone entertained on the show floor instead of being hidden away in a basement, and it was nice to have such a prominent tournament front and centre for everyone to see.
As far as vibe goes, Cape Town was very different to Joburg. I don’t know what they put in your water, but everyone was so chilled. I did miss the frantic, hyperactive energy of the Joburg show, but having a relaxed expo with space to walk around and air-con you could actually feel was nice for a change. Even though Saturday got very busy, I didn’t walk out of there completely exhausted.
You could see the Cape Town rAge was an expo in its infancy, and it’s probably going to go through the same teething problems that we saw 14 years ago when rAge first began. As a proof of concept though, it was definitely a success.
Pictures by Nicholas Reay.
Last Updated: March 22, 2016