I have always viewed the annual rAge (Really Awesome Gaming Event) expo as an event that hosts all kinds of ‘nerds’ and ‘geeks’ in one venue. A time of the year where they get to camp out and play computer games together for the whole weekend. Something that does not sound fun to me at all.
Well, at least that was my initial perspective of it.
Earlier this year, I officially joined the Vamers Crew and it has been a really awesome and very eye opening experience. For starters, I learnt that gamers and geeks are severely stereotyped. Most shockingly, I came to the realisation that I am actually a geek in my own way – a music and art geek for those who are wondering. Joining Vamers also took me out of my comfort zone and has allowed me to be a part of different and unique events; experiences far removed from “normal” scenes that I would usually find myself in. One of these ‘unusual’ events was attending rAge.
As you might have noticed in my opening comment, I was not completely “amped out of my socks” to attend a gaming event that is stereotypically aimed at “geeks” and “nerds”. Nevertheless, for the first time ever, I went along with the Vamers Crew to see what it was all about… and I am glad that I did!
Walking into rAge was like visiting a ‘whole new world’; except Alladin was not flying on his carpet alongside Jasmine. Then again, I would not have put that scene past some of the people there, as there were more than a handful of cosplay characters walking around. These cosplayers, in their eccentric and detailed costumes, definitely added to the rAge experience and atmosphere. Some of them really put their all into it and almost seemed like they were living their creations (Dear scary blood covered girl with a dead baby… that was super scary!). I really enjoyed seeing how all of these people were being true to themselves, in a setting that allowed them to be anything they wanted to be. It was so wonderfully liberating.
One of the coolest parts of the show was the ‘cosplay wing’. Apparently it is new to rAge, and if it is, then I must admit that it is quite a good addition. I actually discovered a friend-of-a-friend selling steampunk headgear there – I had no idea he even made those things. All of the different arts and crafts on offer were fantastic and I actually picked up the details for an airbrushing kit that I have been looking everywhere for. Cosplay and arts and crafts aside, I was also introduced to a whole new way of playing video games.
Although I do not consider myself as a ‘gamer’ in the normal sense of the word, I do tend to enjoy playing video games on my phone (Hans says that makes me a “casual gamer”). However, I have played games on ‘Xbox’ and ‘PlayStation’ before, and when I do I really enjoy it (although I sometimes struggle with the controls). A big surprise for me was to see how big and lavish the stands were for those companies at rAge. From being swathed in genie blue at PlayStation all the way to Hulk green at Xbox, there seemed to be something for everyone.
One of the absolute best experiences for me at rAge was getting to try out PlayStation VR. I may not be a gamer in the traditional sense, but it was honestly the most amazing thing ever! I got to play Arkham VR, which allowed me to literally be Batman! I cannot explain how epically cool the experience was (I am actually holding back my excitement, to save you, dear reader, from reading a page full of “Raaaaaaaaaaah”)! Honestly, I wish I could be Batman all day, everyday! Granted, it may look a bit weird to the on lookers as I grabbed the virtual Batarangs (bat shaped ninja stars) from the front of my virtual belt to throw them around into virtual mid air; but it was so much fun because it felt so, so real!
Batman in virtual reality aside, the best part of the event for me was seeing how a series of different communities can grow and belong together under one roof. I adored how people went out of their way to dress up, get involved and live up to the Vamers slogan: “embrace your inner geek”.
From being able to view new releases of games and having a hands-on time with the gaming world, to interacting with cosplayers and escaping the daily norm of life, by literally being absorbed into another dimension; I must sat that rAge was really cool and nothing like I thought it would be. It was a great first experience for me, one that was made even better with the Vamers Crew (y’all rock).
Given my experience, I would say that even if you are not a die hard gamer (I certainly am not), you should definitely take the time to visit rAge in the future. For me, it is now definitely an event that I will be adding to my annual list of things to do.
In 2016 I popped my geek cherry at rAge... and now all I want is more!