Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Concerning Rage

“No, I am not going for a shoe sale”

As I responded to the tenth BBM contact that asked me what I was going to do at Rage this weekend, I realised that the premier gaming event still needs time to embed itself in the public consciousness. This is not so much a slight on the event itself but rather a sobering observation of the industry.

Video Games are an entertainment juggernaut, far outpacing cinema, yet the stereotype of gamers being these awkward, geeky, pimply faced teens is still prevalent in mainstream media.

I attended Rage (my first one) hoping to dispel this notion, and hook up with like minded folks who can discuss objectivist philosophy in bioshock, while being able to pull off a clean headshot.

The first thing that hit me was the amount of cars at the Dome. It took me 20 minutes to find parking. I’ve been to the Dome for a few events (Cirque Du Soleil and its less elegant sister, WWE wrestling) but ‘ive never seen the place so packed. This set the mood, as I like my events to have a buzz (unlike graveyards)

The queues were frustratingly long (well, frustrating for my wife as I had a media pass) but it wasn’t like standing at home affairs. Everyone was excited for previewing new games, grabbing some gamer swag or just hoping to get a glimpse of Lara Croft.

A friend told me that Rage was just Ster Kinekor and EA showing off some games on a small monitor, and the rest of the stalls would be computer retailers, so I was glad he was completely wrong. Xbox, Ubisoft, Nintendo among others had a huge presence, but so did anime vendors and science fiction bobble-head makers. Various Retail stores were touting their goods, with Look and Listen, Cats Digital and Top CD claiming the best spots.

I spent some time interviewing Rocksteady’s Paul Crocker (interview will be uploaded in a few days) as well as Nintendo’s Matthew Grose, to get their thoughts on Batman Arkham city as well as the 3DS respectively.

The main stage was crammed with activities from demos to the obligatory dancing girls. I stuck around for freebies, but I was too far to catch any (note to self – borrow father in laws pool cleaning net for next year)

I popped in at the Lan to do an informal survey, but most of the guys had already moulded into large amorphous gaming beasts, plugged into a vast matrix of red bull and call of duty. On the plus side – Not that many pimples. Take that mainstream media!

The comparisons to E3 and the Tokyo Game Show etc will be made, but at the end of the day, I want to remember Rage for what is was – A celebration of gaming in Africa.