What did you think of rAge this year?

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This weekend saw another rAge – South Africa’s singular gaming expo – come and go. While it was probably a pretty awesome experience for the gaming enthusiast devoid of an internet connection, for those who lap up every bit of information about every game online, it would probably be a little underwhelming.

So let’s take a quick look at what was happening at rAge, shall we?

Megarom utilised much the same layout as they did last year, only switching out the games. It’s telling that they still managed to have one of the better stands, thanks to the number of unreleased games they were demoing. The clear standout titles they showed were Enslaved (which has very quickly become a “must-have,” and Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood, which they had running in System-link to show off the game’s multiplayer. Other notable titles included the pretty cool looking Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 2 fighting game and DJ Hero 2.

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Pic courtesy of NAG

Nu Metro had their own stand this year, and chose to use the space to largely demonstrate F1 2010. Pretty smart choice, as their 4 player setup complete with large screens and racing seats drew in a sizeable crowd. More interesting to me though was the fact that they had playable code of Capcom’s Marvel vs Capcom 3. Although marred by a few controller battery issues, the game looks incredible. they also showed off Platinum game’s fantastic, and soon to be released Vanquish, and the already-on-retail shelves Dead Rising 2.

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EA EA’s area was a little strange.  It was mostly taken up by their MMA octagon, and real-life MMA fighting, later, switching to the much more hilarious fat-suit sumo wrestling. I can’t say I’m all that interested in large, sweaty men pummelling each other, but EA’s MMA is definitely a visually impressive game, certainly topping THQ’s licenced UFC games as far as technical achievement goes. The most impressive showing from EA, for me at least, was playable code of Dead Space 2, which is suitably impressive, and quite possibly my game of show.

Microsoft, naturally, focused on their upcoming motion control tech, Kinect. They had a pretty cool stand, showcasing all the Kinect stuff you’d want to see, including Kinect Sports, Kinect Adventures, Kinectimals and Joyride. While Kinect offers me very little personally, it was easy to see that’ll it’s going to be huge, huge hit with the casual crowd. We gave it a bash, and it was pretty fun – but I must admit that there was considerable input lag. I can only hope that once it’s in homes, more personalised calibration will help alleviate the delay. I did find it surprising though that there was little mention, other than the initial official announcement, of Xbox Live’s launch in South Africa next month.

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Pic courtesy of NAG

Ster Kinekor had a pretty nicely set-up stand, with the obvious standout being playable GT5 (3D!) code, with a few GT5 racing seats peppered around the showfloor, showing the impressive racer off. Naturally, they also decided to show off Playstation Move a bit, with sports Champions and a playable demo of “The Fight.” They also had  a few of their older games, like God of War 3 on show.

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LLNinty

There was unfortunately no real Nintendo presence, with Core’s Nintendo stand, very similar to the ones they’d had running in shopping malls, being integrated in to Look & Listen’s retail outlet. There were the usual retailers and smaller stands, but I struggled to find any real, intriguing specials on anything other than PC hardware.

It was my girlfriend’s first time at rAge, and as a casual gamer she too was underwhelmed. She was, she tells me, expecting more of a spectacle – more, interesting things on the live stage, more crazy costumed mascots and cosplay and generally more to do and see than just play some games. Was she expecting too much? Probably.

I certainly appreciate the effort that our local distributors  have gone to, getting playable code of unreleased games, and setting up these obviously expensive stands to promote our favourite pass-time, but is it enough for the general populace?

What was your rAge experience like? Did it live up to your expectations, or was it, like ours, a little flat?

Last Updated: October 4, 2010

Geoffrey Tim

Editor. I'm old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time - they were capable of being masterpieces. I'm here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

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