What made us glad and sad at rAge 2014

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Rage2014 batman

The rAge weekend has come and gone. I had the joy of keeping Darryn chained in my basement hosting Darryn, seeing lots of cool people at our social drink and watching an unnamed loved one on a power trip. But the expo itself was the main event, and here are all our thoughts in one place.

The Glad

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rAge had a ton of awesome code this year. With fantastic offerings from most of our major distributors, it was wonderful to see people getting a chance to kill each other in Mortal Kombat or Evolve, as well as seeing all the frequent deaths in Bloodborne or the gleeful destruction in Assassin’s Creed Unity and Far Cry 4. Even off-the-wall favourites like Splatoon and Sunset Overdrive were consistently busy. It was excellent to see such a wide variety of games available to play and I thoroughly enjoyed watching everyone gleefully experience the things I had to fly to other countries to play.

Those fantastic games were also presented better than ever. The design and layout of the show was much better than previous years, allowing for more free flow of foot traffic, even on the ridiculously busy Saturday. Some of those stands looked like something straight out of E3 or Gamescom, with the Mortal Kombat and Evolve set ups getting a particular amount of attention.

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The novelty goods were there in force, with the artist’s alley finally moved to a more spacious area. It was excellent to see local talent on show so visibly, especially as they accepted commissions for custom art and made some glorious prints and apparel. Hot Toys had some incredible figurines on show that made all of us ache for larger wallets (and display areas) and there were some excellent toys and comics available for those willing and able to dish out the necessary cash.

The cosplay this year was at a stellar level. People put some serious effort into recreating their favourite characters, although of course Darryn wins our award for most awesome – his Batman was so impressive that he could barely move two steps without a request for a photo, and maybe some codpiece groping.

The Sad

Rage2014 Splatoon

While there were certainly some excellent things on show, we couldn’t help but notice some glaring absentees. As usual, Call of Duty was missing from the line up, despite releasing soon. It seems that every year rAge struggles to get Call of Duty, and this year was no exception. Then again, its major competition was also notably absent this year, with no sign of Battlefield Hardline anywhere. In fact, EA was almost completely absent from rAge this year, with only a FIFA 15 section included in the Xbox stand.

Wow there were a lot of people! While it makes me happy to see how people come out in droves for the event, the venue simply feels over crowded, stiflingly hot and uncomfortable, especially on Saturday. While I disagree with people who want to change the venue entirely, I certainly believe that rAge could benefit from moving the LAN to a separate (but close) location in order to make more room for the public exhibition.

Rage2014 acu farcry

Speaking of layout, the eSports at rAge was difficult to spot again. While fans knew about their friends playing in the DGCs, it was almost impossible to spot anything regarding the DGL at rAge. Even the NGL, the newly reformed NAG Gaming League was tricky to pick out of the crowd – yes it was broadcast at the event, but it seemed to get lost in the shuffle. Added to that, the NGL shout casters were separated from the event, actually broadcasting from the already too small press room. I’d complain about them stealing our food or drink, but that was almost non-existent anyway. Woe are we, poor journalists.

Additionally, moving the cosplay competition to Sunday, it felt like it lost a lot of focus. Plenty of people don’t even attend on the last day of rAge, and plenty of people are tired of being in costume by the end of the weekend. Plus, without a cosplay village or set place for them to relax and pose for pictures, it made it more of a free for all on the show floor.

Finally, we were rather disappointed in the lack of awesome specials. One of my favorite things to do is buy all the awesome novelties, comics or games at ridiculous rates. Instead… there was nothing that really jumped out at me this time around. Perhaps each of us missed out on the specials, but there didn’t seem to be anything worthwhile. Did you all sneak in and swoop up all the specials before we could spot them?

Your highlights/lowlights?

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I’m sure meeting us is a highlight, right? Right? Don’t worry, I know we’re not that special, but please tell us what you enjoyed from rAge – were the games incredible, or were you blown away by the cosplay and people? What were your highs and lows? We agree that this was the best rAge in years, but you are welcome to call us complete idiots.

Last Updated: October 14, 2014

Zoe Hawkins

Wielding my lasso of truth, I am the combination of nerd passion and grammar nazi. I delve into all things awesome and geek-tastic. You can read more of my words over at www.borngeek.co.za, or just follow me on all the social networks to get the true range of my sarcasm and wit.

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