rAge 2007 – a few impressions

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Thanks to the fact that LazySAGamer was tied up with another engagement today, I was able to attend a rather interesting media briefing held by AMD at the rAge expo.While the obvious benefits of attending media functions – namely, free booze, free stuff (we got copies of Enemy Territory: Quake Wars) and no entrance fees – should never go unappreciated, there were a few other noteworthy elements of the media briefing.

Obviously, the star of the show was the hardware and us lucky press-types were able to take a peek at some upcoming technologies from AMD (which, you may recall acquired ATI last year). The briefing focused primarily on the ATI 2*** HD series of graphics cards, and this blogger certainly came away impressed. We also got to lay our paws on a very impressive gaming rig featuring “crossfired” HD2900s. A sneaky journo actually got 3DMark 2006 up and running while the AMD people weren’t looking but he wasn’t able to do any benchmarking before getting busted. Pity.

Anyway, if you’re thinking that this all sounds a little too PC-orientated for a console gaming site, remember that everybody’s favourite 2 consoles (sorry Sony) make use of ATI hardware. So just a quick thank you to Lana and everyone else at AMD for putting together a very informative event.

From the AMD briefing, I headed straight down to NAG’s Guitar Hero 2 stage where I wowed the crowd with my skillz. Pictured here are myself and the lovely Electrra (I’ll let you guess who’s who :p). From there I went over to Megarom’s stand where they had a copy of Guitar Hero 3 available to play.

Unfortunately, the TV’s sound was really low and the ambient noise at the Dome was very high, so it was pretty much impossible to hear anything. Needless to say, my attempt at an unfamiliar song (Tenacious D’s The Metal) on hard, with a guitar that’s different from the GH2 controller, and no sound was unsuccessful – I failed the song 67% of the way through. Still, my very brief experience with the game was encouraging. The graphics are much better this time around, and the new controller’s wireless, so this game will be making its way to my collection when it comes out.

With Guitar Hero out of the way, I was able to take a more leisurely stroll around the rest of the event. In addition to the usual array of games and hardware on display, there were comic book stalls, a cosplay competition, all sorts of board gaming displays, and obviously the massive rAge LAN.

Particular stand-outs for me were the Wii stand (very slick presentation here, with a whole lot of Wiis that were pulling in very large crowds of excited showgoers); the Halo 3 presence (Halo 3 could be played on xboxes at what seemed like every stand); and the number of females at this year’s event. It’s nice to see that gaming is becoming increasingly popular with a broader market, and I think with the release of the Wii here in SA, gaming’s going to go mainstream like never before. Strangely, I didn’t notice a Sony stand (but in truth, I didn’t look too hard).

Overall, rAge this year was great, and continued the trend of each year’s expo being better than the previous year. If you haven’t gone through yet, go and check it out, it’s well worth it.

Last Updated: September 29, 2007

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