On the 5th to the 7th of October 2018, South Africa’s annual premiere gaming and technology expo – the rAge Gaming Expo, was held in Johannesburg, South Africa.
To tens-of-thousands of fans of gaming in South Africa this expo is the one time a year that they can go and get their fix of games, technology and a little bit of cosplay. The numbers per year vary but during the 2017 rendition of the expo, a total of 130 exhibitors exhibited their stand to over 35000 visitors, making it easily the biggest gaming expo in Southern Africa. This year it is set to break that milestone, but we are still waiting on the numbers for 2018.

A Background to rAge Gaming Expo:

The rAge Gaming Expo started way back in 2002. Back then gaming and similar hobbies (like cosplay) were not very big in South Africa and rAge started so that people could spread the word about the hobby that was gaming. rAge Expo also annually hosts the NAG LAN, which is a massive LAN (over 2000 gamers) that is held in and around the Ticketpro Dome while rAge is going on. The NAG LAN is for the true dedicated gamers that want to spend the weekend with super-fast internet and good ping (and also don’t want to sleep for the entire weekend).

A Walk-through of the Expo:

This year there were many places to go and see at the expo, with my personal favourite being the MSI/Evetech stand where there were some really awesome PC’s and products on display and then right behind them was a small stage where they were hosting CS:GO 1v1’s against Julia ‘Bish’ Robson – a professional gamer and streamer that is sponsored by MSI. The entire atmosphere of the expo was that of excitement and wonder, as you walked in you could almost smell the new PC tech that was on display and your eyes were blessed by a momentous sight before them – an entire 10000m² dome dedicated to gaming and tech, with RGB streaming out of every banner and stand to see and thousands of people walking around excitedly looking at the exhibitors’ stands.

Julia 'Bish' Robson streaming from the CoolerMaster stand
Julia ‘Bish’ Robson streaming from the CoolerMaster stand at the rAge Gaming Expo 2018

As you came through the main entrance, you were greeted by helpers handing out a small bag with some flyers and adverts in it, this is very useful as you get given a lot of flyers and you need somewhere to put them. You then walk into the actual expo and are greeted by a magnificent sight, on your right is a stand dedicated to showing off the new Assassins Creed game, on your right is a shop that is showing off their new RTX 2080 and 2080Ti stock and in front of you is a massive Xbox stand that is hosting an in-house Fortnite competition. The lines at the Fortnite competition were already full of many hopefuls wanting to win themselves some prizes and get their fill of Fortnite action.
As you carried on walking through the expo, you get greeted by many helpers offering you flyers and free keychains advertising the brands they’re working for (who doesn’t like free stuff). From here on it’s basically following the flow of people to all the different stands, seeing what they have to offer.

NAG LAN 2018:

This year I had the privilege of attending the annual NAG LAN, this year hosted by Ginx eSports TV. I left to get into the line for the LAN on the morning of the 5th of October at about 7:30am. I got there at about 8am and the lines for the expo were already filling up. Nonetheless, I went to my section of the dome and waited to get into the LAN and set up my PC. I got into the LAN at about 8:30am, so the line was not too long for me, which was a little plus. I had finished my set-up and test of the network at about 9am and I was ready for some awesome gaming action.

The first thing I did was jump into a game of PUBG as I was eager to get my rank (this was just after the ranked placement update), I was immediately impressed with my ping to the EU servers as I was running around the streets and jungles of Sanhok with 160-180 ping (I usually play on about 190-210).
I played a good 4-5 games of PUBG before moving onto CS:GO and seeing that my ping to the local servers was literally 2ms, so I knew I was going to be playing a lot of CS that night.

I had an average download speed of about 13MBps, which here in South Africa is really good as the national average is about 400KBps. So I immediately downloaded all of the updates for all of my games and essentially filled up my mass storage hard drives. From then on I just played games with my friends that were also at the LAN, we played titles such as “Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Wildlands” and PUBG.

That night they had the in-house PUBG competition hosted by South African PUBG player and streamer ‘Godfather’. The comp was 5 rounds on Sanhok. In the first round I died very early on with no kills which resulted in me getting no points. Round 2 was a great game for me as I won with 5 kills, earning myself a good amount of points and a top 10 position on the leader board. I also cemented myself in ZA PUBG as a good sniper with this shot to finish off the round. Round 3 was again a failure as I placed really low down and only got 1 kill. Round 4 was yet another chicken dinner for me, this time with a measly 3 kills, but this was enough to push me to 2nd place on the leader board, only 100 or so points behind number one, I needed to come in the top 5 with at least 2 kills to win the competition overall – a tough call for me as I was really feeling the nerves. In round 5 I started well, with good weapons and a good spawn in zone, but no kills. As the round progressed I made my way to the centre of the zone, only to be shot and killed by the leader and then winner of the competition. I ended in 3rd place overall but it was definitely an amazing competition and one of my favourites that I was ever involved in.

SoulSlayer24 3rd Place rAge expo
Me collecting my prize for 3rd place

Overall the 2018 rendition of the rAge Gaming Expo was one of my favourites I’ve been to (I’ve been now 5 times in succession). From the LAN to the actual expo it was one massive joyride and I can’t wait to be involved in it next year.

If you want to check out Caffeine Gaming’s coverage of the Insomnia 63 event you can check it out here.

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