It’s been a long time coming. The very successful rAge expo is finally heading to the Mother City. Yes, Cape Town, you can now stop your complaining about having to fly up to Johannesburg every year. It’s now right on your doorstep. To differentiate between the two shows this will be known as the “really Awesome geek experience”, while Johannesburg will keep to the tried and tested “really Awesome gaming expo”.
The good news is that it’ll take place on Friday 18 March to Sunday 20 March 2016 at GrandWest Casino and Entertainment World in Goodwood. The LAN? Yes, it’s there. It’s not as big as the Johannesburg version just yet (remember, this is the first show), and it’ll take place at the same venue.
People in Cape Town have been wanting this forever, but how long has rAge Cape Town been actively planned towards?
We started rAge in 2002 without knowing what we were getting ourselves into and from then to now the expo has evolved and grown organically, reaching over 30,000 visitors in 2014. If you’re asking about actively planning, it has probably been just over a year, but since 2008 we’ve been considering and talking and arguing and trying to figure out a way to make a Cape Town expo work. I’ve always been careful when asked about rAge Cape Town in the past because I wasn’t sure if we could pull it off, and I’m always hesitant to do something unless it’s representative of the quality experience we have in Johannesburg. I still have no idea how it’s all going to look or work but in my experience these things just sort themselves out if the right people with the right kind of passion put them together.
Why was GrandWest chosen as a venue?
We visited three venues in Cape Town after narrowing down a list of potentials. We looked at everything from air force bases to square-shaped venues to sports arenas. We chose GrandWest because it just feels like it has the right kind of energy. The LAN is a 52-hour non-stop event so we also need to think about that from a security point of view and parents being comfortable with where their kids are staying all weekend. Out of all the places we looked at and spoke about, GrandWest kind of just fell into place when we had specific dates in mind that had to coincide with school holidays. After meeting with the team that own the venue I’m convinced that this is a long term partnership that will see many cool things pop up around South Africa in the years to come.
How will it compare floor-space-wise to JHB’s rAge?
The venue is approximately half the size of rAge JHB but this isn’t taking into account the LAN areas at rAge JHB. There are some logistical issues getting many of the Jo’burg-based exhibitors down to Cape Town so as the show grows we’re hoping it will expand and eventually fill up the venue (a problem we’re enjoying in Jo’burg each year). It’s hard to try and compare the two events so instead I’m going to work hard on bringing something different to Cape Town so each expo is unique and cool in its own way.
Can attendees expect a greater number of hipsters at rAge in Cape Town, and if so how does one interact with them without wanting to gargle wasps?
As with most things in life, the important thing to remember is that they (the wasps) are as scared of you as you are of them. It might also help to wear your skinniest jeans and remove the lenses from all your oversized spectacles on the day, just to blend in.
What can Cape Town attendees expect that will make rAge Cape Town different to rAge Jo’burg?
I honestly don’t know exactly how the two expos will end up comparing. I’m sure there will be a lot of discussion about this after the first Cape Town event has happened, and I do encourage suggestions and feedback from everyone who attends and is involved. I also expect some of this debate to come from people that didn’t attend either expo. Regardless, rAge Cape Town can’t be similar to rAge Johannesburg for a million reasons. Just know one thing, I’m going to tirelessly work on making the Cape Town expo the very best that I can and continue to innovate and invent for both expos going forward. I think both will have their own rhythm and it’s going to be exciting finding that pulse.
Do you know how big the Cape Town NAG LAN will be?
For 2016 the venue can accommodate 576 gamers – we hope to increase that in 2017 as more space at the venue becomes available for us to use.
The press release says that the closure of NAG magazine has meant that rAge Cape Town has become a possibility. So can the rest of South Africa blame Cape Town for the demise of the last gaming magazine in the country? We can, can’t we? Thanks for nothing, Cape Town. :<
LOL. No, you can blame two things. Print costs increasing exponentially and the advertising world abandoning print advertising for online advertising. Cape Town had nothing to do with it but will now benefit from it. If you want to point the finger of blame at anything, blame the Internet; it’s a fad that just hasn’t gone away. As the saying goes, for every door that closes, another one opens up. We’re thrilled to finally have the opportunity to open this one up!
IGN: What can gamers look forward to at rAge in Cape Town?
MJ: Due to the timing of release dates for big-name titles local game distributors will have limited access to preview code, but there are many new and exciting games shipping early and middle of the year that we’re hoping to showcase in Cape Town. We will also continue to support and assist local game developers via our home_coded initiative where garage and bedroom development teams can show visitors what games are being developed in SA.
Besides gaming, Cape Town is going to have plenty of geek content like comics, figurines, artists, cosplay and related goodies. On the hardware front we’re speaking to our partners about bringing some cool hardware to the show and perhaps even having an overclocking event.
We have a lot of support in the industry thanks to the success of rAge, so getting these companies to Cape Town and making a big success of rAge Cape Town, while challenging, is something many of our clients want to see happen. That all said, each year we aim pretty high and each year at rAge there are surprises mixed with things that didn’t work out and other things that came together almost like magic. I expect no different from the Cape Town event.
IGN: Tell us more about the LAN.
MJ: The LAN will initially be smaller than the NAG LAN at rAge JHB, with 576 seats being the maximum we can fit into the space available to us, but in future years we will be looking to expand and also include eSports. Let’s see how this first one goes. Getting high speed Internet across a reliable LAN so that everyone has a good experience is top priority and is something that’s taken us years to get right in Joburg. We hope to be able to duplicate that in Cape Town and grow from there.
IGN: Cape Town is better than Johannesburg. This isn’t even a question.
MJ: Each part of this beautiful country of ours has something unique to offer. That’s the best example of dodging a question that you’ll see this whole week.
IGN: Anything else? The, um, chips want to know.
MJ: This is a message to the gamers and geeks and other interested people. It’s taken a long time to get to Cape Town, but I think we’ll have something memorable and exciting for you to be a part of in March that can only get better in the coming years. We’ve spent a lot of time perfecting rAge and it’s inspiring to almost start all over again. I’m looking forward to building something unique and exclusive in Cape Town. With that all said I have no idea how it’s going to end up looking which makes it even more of a challenge.
There’s more news though for those based in Johannesburg. There is a second NAG LAN in the making. With the increase in interest every year at rAge there’s always been a very limited area for LAN events. Getting a ticket was always a bit of a headache and another LAN event, which means more space as there’s no expo taking place, will fill that void.
rAge Cape Town 2016 NAG LAN tickets will go on sale at Computicket on Saturday 28 November 2015 at 09:00 and tickets to the expo on 1 December 2015.
There you have it folks. Cape Town, are you happy? Now you have TWO expos. It’ll now be very interesting to see how EGE goes about their next event.