The Really Awesome Gaming Expo (rAge) has returned for its 2023 edition after a gap due to the global lockdown.
rAge has evolved over the years to include not just gaming, but also side events like Cosplay competitions, gaming tournaments, and new tech unveilings.
MSI had an experience zone at the event where fans could interact with their product line and create content.
The Really Awesome Gaming Expo (rAge) has returned for its 2023 edition. rAge has been a recurring annual event for the Fortress team, apart from the apparent gap due to the global lockdown. The event has evolved year-on-year from its early beginnings to the numerous location changes. Now a regular feature at The Gallagher Convention Centre in Midrand, Johannesburg, rAge will again be a slightly different experience for me in 2023. Let’s take a quick look back at the weekend that was celebrating another successful year, attending one of South Africa’s beloved geek calendar events.
While the earlier meet-ups at rAge revolved around celebrating all things games, the culture has grown significantly over the past decade to go beyond this. With showpiece side events like Cosplay competitions, gaming tournaments, new tech unveilings and the ever-present NAG LAN, there’s plenty to see and do at rAge.
Having started with an early morning visit to the MSI stand for a particular run-through of their latest product lineup and breakfast, it set the scene for the rest of the event over the weekend. MSI had an experience zone for fans to interact with their product line and create content with a Game of Thrones-inspired configuration. Once the doors were opened to the public, it was clear to see it becoming an instant favourite amongst the patrons, with queues forming to play around with the range of laptops and PCs and take a few snaps at the zone.
The venue was filled with similar stands, where it wasn’t simply a matter of pushing the next sale but rather an engagement between like-minded people. As a result, I spent hours roaming the halls, interacting with many people, whether passing by or in Cosplay, to exchange pleasantries and compliments. However, I spent most of this time at the various booths, engaging with creators, artists and hobbyists.
The key takeaway from these interactions has been the fantastic boom in the anime scene. Before the 2020 lockdown, you’d be hard-pressed to find half of the attendees being anime fans. Fast-forward just three years, and most attendees and exhibitors could share some knowledge on their favourite series. What was interesting among a few of these exchanges was the eagerness of many to discuss their favourite shows and characters, even when the link to their stands wasn’t directly related. Anime has become a big part of the current geek scene and continues to grow among the masses.
As a result of this trend, the increased quality and variety of anime-related products were also easily noticeable year-on-year. The range was much broader than in previous years, offering a good mix of products from earrings and keychains to posters and figurines. That said, there was a clear favourite among the crowd, thanks to its global success and readily available broadcast, Demon Slayer. This was also a favourite for Cosplayers in 2023, with the quartet of characters Tanjiro, Nezuko, Inosuke and Zenitsu being easily spotted in the crowd at every turn.
Furthermore, the event hosted plenty of gaming tournaments, another staple of rAge. These drew large crowds who either signed up on the day to compete or qualified in the run-up to the event. While there were plenty of opportunities to compete and test some of the latest games, technologies and setups throughout the weekend, the big draw this time was that of Spider-Man 2. A massive hit for Sony on PlayStation over the past two months, the game is still on the radar for many fans this festive season and drew large crowds waiting in line to have just a few moments with Peter and Miles.
There was plenty to enjoy on the day or across the weekend. The key takeaway from this year’s event was its interactive configuration, which allowed fans to experience more. This is an excellent path for the years ahead, as bringing the latest in culture to the fans is really what it’s about. From my side, rAge 2023 was a significant improvement on the whole.
Evan Saunders is a seasoned professional with over two decades of experience in the tech industry. With a deep passion for technology and a talent for design, Evan has made a name for himself as a skilled and innovative techie.
In addition to his love for all things tech, Evan is also a dedicated sneakerhead with an impressive collection of kicks. He is a sports enthusiast, and enjoys playing football and watching a variety of sports. When he's not keeping up with the latest games or streaming his favorite series, he enjoys indulging in his love of anime.
Despite his busy schedule, Evan Saunders always makes time for his other hobbies, including gaming and web and graphic design. He has a talent for creating engaging and visually stunning content, and is always looking for new ways to push the boundaries of his craft.
Evan's unique combination of technical expertise, design talent, and diverse interests make him a valuable contributor to FortressofSolitude.co.za and SneakerFortress.com. His contributions to the site are sure to engage and entertain readers with his insights into technology, sports, movies, and more.