rAge Expo 2022 has come and gone and what a return for South Africa’s biggest gaming convention. While it hurt to not be at its regular venue again, the Gallagher Convention Centre was a sizeable new location that provided plenty of floor space to make it feel less cluttered and overall well-balanced and spaced out between stalls and displays.
However, it also brought the same amount of energy you’d typically come to expect from rAge each year, with the biggest brands and companies showing up with their latest products to put on a show that appealed to its core audiences. Reminiscing on rAge 2022 today, we’re looking back at a few of the best activities, brands and retailers that managed to impress us while also assuring visitors that rAge can still pack punches.
Best Activity of The Show: rAge DRIVE
This one was a personal highlight of the show. Being a big fan of fighting games, I’m always drawn to conventions that host any and all fighting game tournaments. Thankfully, rAge and UGCZA put on the rAge DRIVE tournament this year that delivered one-on-one matches in both Street Fighter V and Tekken 7.
The stage took up a bit of space in Hall 2, where these tournaments were held. Match after match, up to 96 participants could take part in exciting Street Fighter and Tekken match-ups that highlighted the fighting game community’s best – and sometimes unexpected – talents. The thrill of fighting games, seeing a combo executed with precision or counters flawlessly executed, still persisted and it felt wonderful being in the presence of yet another terrific fighting game event.
In the end, winners or losers, there was a great sense of camaraderie between players who all uplifted themselves and supported the rising talents. I sincerely hope that fighting games can continue to grow to the heights of bigger esports regulars in South Africa because if anything, rAge DRIVE proved that our country really has some untapped potential and passionate fans.
Best Brand of The Show: MSI
Overlooking Hall 3 from the balcony, the first thing you would’ve noticed was the giant red MSI logo. The company’s section paid attention to its overall layout and design, for sure, but what was packed inside was a lot more than anyone could’ve bargained for.
One of the staples of the MSI stand was the aptly named 1v1 ME BRO!? battles across both World of Warships, which had fantastic audience interaction, as well as CS: GO. Merchandise hampers were given away as participants took part in World of Warships’ unique brand of competitive warship-based combat, while CS: GO brought the heat as well.
That’s not even mentioning the plethora of other professionally handled activities that didn’t alienate any audiences but actively encouraging engagement. The MSI Geek Trivia flexed audiences’ knowledge on a variety of tech and video games held across the whole weekend at select times. MSI also held a cosplay photo booth throughout the weekend with professional photographer Stephen Segal.
TikTok also played an integral part in its success through the #MSITOK to WIN competition, encouraging people to create TikToks and win motherboards and processors.
All of this culminated in a fantastic overall experience at the MSI stand this year at rAge that couldn’t have been missed, earning the best brand to leave an imprint at the event this year.
Best Retailer of the Show: Incredible
Incredible’s large floor space and colourful design palette was unmissable at rAge Expo 2022, but beneath the surface, it also boasted some of the most unexpected challenges of the entire show. While retail is its name, Incredible’s highlight was the amount of challenge stations it had set up for crowds to participate in various games, competing for high scores and times.
Winners would be awarded a variety of prizes from gaming accessories to peripherals and even PlayStation 5s (one of the victors was GUNPLA SA’s Paul who managed to win a console). The engagement was high with the promise of some excellent prizes that all delivered high-quality products that made it such an enticing challenge.
The joy of going to rAge every year, at least for me, was to see what I could enter or compete in to win some awesome prizes and it was great to see Incredible continuing that tradition. It really made it feel like rAge again and we hope we see more of that in future events!
– Cricut South Africa was the headlining sponsor for the main cosplay competition and did a stellar job providing refreshments for cosplayers.
– RGB Gaming also held a number of activities, including bringing together over a dozen schools for the Minecraft Speedrun tournament, the Overwatch 2 tournament, and Minecraft coding challenges.
– Special mention to GUNPLA SA brought the spirit of GUNDAM to rAge this year and saw quite a number of new and returning builders.