Rage Expo 2017

The 2017 Rage Expo marks the 15th year since the event's inception, an admirable milestone for any event. The organizers have put their blood, sweat and tears on the line to make sure Rage evolves each year and 2017 was no exception. Keep reading to see what South-Africa's premium gaming expo was all about.

Rage Expo 2017. Proudly representing KeenGamer.com at the 15th annual Rage Expo

15 years of awesome

It's hard to believe it's been 15 years since the first Rage Expo. Back then it was little more than a glorified flea market with a cute little LAN event for the sad souls who still lacked broadband at home. Today, Rage is a platform where world leaders in the industry showcase state-of-the-art technology and the latest AAA gaming titles. That cute LAN has also grown into an impressive network that supports over 2000 players.
Additionally, this year's Rage featured live CS:GO tournaments hosted by V/S Gaming and Kwesé e-Sports. South-Africa's elite CS:GO players put on quite a show and had the fans on the edge of their seats for 3 straight days. 

We also shouldn't forget the mountains of prize giveaways, a massive cosplay stage and an endless supply of geeky stuff that will reduce your bank account to tears.

Keep reading for a more in-depth look at this year's event.
Rage Expo 2017 flying those flags high

Rage Expo 2017. So much to see, so little time

The Tech

The day started with a long wait outside closed doors. Like so many others, I arrived an hour early to try and miss most of the early morning rush but this meant that myself and many others had to stand in the hot African sun for much longer than was comfortable (A special thanks to Roland, Britney and Jared for keeping me company). We might be from Africa, but most of us were geeks and thus might spontaneously turn to ash when exposed sunlight, like vampires. Thankfully I didn't step over any smoldering remains on my way inside.

Rage Expo 2017. This cabinet can stand in my bedroom any day.

Despite being part of the third world, Rage was visited by some of the most respected tech companies on the planet. Most notably was Hewelett Packard, who also happened to be one of the main sponsors of the event. One of the largest stands at the event was dedicated to showing off HP's latest contribution to the gaming world, the Omen performance laptop range. I managed to get an up-close look at these monstrosities and was surprised by how incredibly thin HP have managed to get their new flagships. We all know performance laptops to be big, bulky things. They need to be large to allow for better airflow to aid heat distribution but HP claims to have found a new way to deal with this issue which allowed them to keep their Omen range sleek, beautiful and above all, lightweight. If they can pull this off then it means those hefty hippo-sized gaming rigs might soon be a thing of the past. Skinny gaming folk, rejoice!

Another big name to mention is MSI. They unveiled their new high-end performance motherboards which included the Z370 and Tomahawk. They gave us a quick rundown of what to expect from these boards in the year to come and while I can bore you with some of the more technical details, what got me excited is the potential of adding up to 6 (you read that right) video cards onto a single motherboard and achieving up to 4000mbps download speeds with the variety of onboard network ports that come as standard. Why would you have 6 video cards in your PC you may ask? Well, bragging rights of course… and perhaps digital currency mining. 

Rage Expo 2017. MSI, one the most respected hardware manufacturers showing off their new flagship gaming mobo.

If you're picky about who manufactures your hardware then Rage would not have disappointed. Among the numerous names I came across were Razer, Steel Series, Logitech, Red Dragon, Astrum and Coolermaster, all with a wide range of products and some fantastic special offers, specifically for the expo. 

The Games

Those who were willing to wait in line could get their sweaty palms on some of the most eagerly awaited games of the year and see if they were worth all the hype. There were countless numbers of test rigs spread out all over the arena giving players access to the most anticipated titles on PC, XBox One and PS4.

Assassin's Creed Origins, Forza 7 and Call of Duty: WW2 were three of the most notable titles on offer and while I wasn't able to try those out, I did manage to spend a few minutes with the charming, Lego Marvel Superheroes 2. Unfortunately, I was politely asked not to take any pictures of this yet-to-be-released title so you'll have to take my word that it looks like about as much fun as a jumping castle full of jellybeans.

Rage Expo 2017. This stunning Focus RS is brought to you by Ford, XBox and Forza

Rage Expo 2017. Take a seat, drive like hell, and maybe win a PS4.I also managed to do a few laps behind the wheel Ken Block's intimidating 650bhp Ford Fiesta in Gymkhana Grid. Fun, this may have been but despite my delusions of being a phenomenal driver, I found that it would certainly take more than 4 laps for me to master the art of hooligan drifting. Monster, who were hosting the rigs that allowed me to test Gymkhana Grid were also offering tickets to the actual Gymkhana event in Johannesburg later this year. Only the biggest hooligans with the best lap times would qualify for those, however.

Then there was the possibility of winning a PS4 by beating the 1:30 lap time set in one of the tracks on Gran Turismo. This was tempting, but waiting in line for what I estimated would be well over an hour was not, especially after that stupidly impractical Ford made me realize that my measly driving skills were average at best.

Rage Expo 2017. Be on the lookout for Jengo, it's going to be epic.

One of the highlights for me personally was being treated to a presentation of South-African developers Robot-Wizard's game Jengo. Being a local product, which is pretty rare as far as game development goes, I've heard of this game and spent all of 2 minutes checking it out online. Upon finding a point-and-click adventure, a genre I never appreciated, I speedily headed the nearest exit. However, one of the developers, Louis Du Pisani, made me fall head over heels in love with this game, after seeing him present only a few short minutes of it. He describes Jengo as being a "Retro fallback to the point-and-click golden era that enveloped our childhoods when we were aspiring to be rockstars". These types of games have a habit of boring me to the point of plugging my ears to prevent my grey matter from leaking but Jengo features so much personality that I honestly can't wait to get my hands on it and do an in-depth review.

Rage Expo 2017. Louis Du Pisani was a treat to behold while presenting their creation, Jengo.

They are still miles from completion but they will soon be starting several fundraising campaigns to help them finish their creation. They mentioned aiming for over 100 characters to be included in the game and having voice acting for most, if not all, of them. One of these lovable characters I met during my brief time with Jengo was a blonde babe in a pink dress with an obvious drinking problem. Her troubles started when her Italian, plumber boyfriend dumped her after he realized that she wasn't a true princess and proceeding to pursue someone with an actual kingdom. After meeting her and finding a large green pipe in the bathroom of a bar and having to kill the giant venus fly-trap residing there before descending down it to the next part of the game, I have a strange urge to get out my old SNES.

Rage Expo 2017. The grid for V/S Gaming's CS:GO series.


Two large sections of the floor were dedicated to hosting professional CS:GO matches between the best players in the country. With so much else to see I was only able to catch a portion of one match that featured MSI's Aperture Gaming and Corsair's Veneration E-Sports, but they made sure I got my money's worth.

Aperture Gaming was my favorite to win the series but Veneration E-Sports proved that they would not go quietly into that good night. In fact, Veneration didn't just beat Aperture, they gave them a proper spanking, and went on to finish third in the series.

With professionals like Devin "HellBirD" Rigotti, Ryan "Parker" Macquet and Gregory "FPSFingers" Robinson as presenters, this was a highly enjoyable segment of the expo.

Rage Expo 2017. Aperture Gaming doing what they can but ultimately not matching up to Veneration e-sports

the lan

One of the biggest attractions at Rage each year is the massive LAN. Unfortunately for us locals, the high-speed Internet connections most first-world countries now take for granted are still either unobtainable or unaffordable here and thus LAN parties are still a thing. Rage reportedly had over 2000 gamers eat, sleep and kick ass in front of their PC's on this massive network sponsored by NAG Magazine. I hope they all had their anti-viruses up to date.

Rage Expo 2017. Local artists showing off their incredible talent.

wrapping up

Rage's 15th anniversary was, pardon the pun, a raging success. I constantly felt pulled in several directions, and after an entire day, there was still a lot to be seen. 

After attending the expo a few years ago and having an awful experience because of hopeless overcrowding, I vowed not to return until they moved to a larger venue. The venue has not changed but the organizers opened up some additional areas to ease the traffic with phenomenal results. Things were still busy but this year I could actually take my time and browse through some of the paraphernalia on display, something I was entirely unable to do last time around. 

Had I not been afraid of my wife banishing me from my bedroom to sleep next to my dogs outside for the foreseeable future, I might have spent all my savings on some of the amazing gadgetry on show. One of those MSI Godlike Gaming Motherboards would look oh so pretty standing on my desk in a newly built rig with an ultra-wide UHD monitor, and just imagine the six-pack I'd have after spending all that cash and having to give up eating for a couple of weeks. 

Rage Expo 2017. Uhm, I got nothing...

The LAN was highly alluring but I realize that my age is catching up to me when I cringe at the thought of being caged in with 2000 caffeine fueled geeks for nearly 3 full days. Once you have kids, you realize the true value of a good night's sleep and thus I had to leave this part of the event to those with the dreadful fashion sense who listen to Taylor Swift.

There was also a constant stream of cosplayers running amok at the TicketPro Dome. With no official media section at the stage to allow the capturing of proper pictures, I wasn't able to present much of this but I can report that some of those costumes were absolutely amazing.

Despite some minor annoyances, I highly suspect that I'll be back next year. My biggest complaint still involves the size of the venue but this wasn't nearly as much of an issue as before. Soon, my son will be old enough to appreciate his daddy's obsessions and he too can be baptized in the rivers of geekdom at Rage. See you then!

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