rAge 2023 – All about fan interactions

rAge 2023 - All About The Fan Interactions

The Really Awesome Gaming Expo (rAge) is back for its 2023 edition. rAge has been a recurring annual event for the Fortress team, aside from the apparent gap due to the global lockdown. The event has evolved from year to year, from its beginnings to numerous changes of location. Now held regularly at the Gallagher Convention Center in Midrand, Johannesburg, rAge will once again be a slightly different experience for me in 2023. Let's take a quick look back at the weekend spent celebrating another year of success, attending one of the most loved events on the South African geek calendar.

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While the early rAge meetups focused on celebrating all things gaming, the culture has grown significantly over the past decade to go beyond that. With side events like Cosplay Contests, Gaming Tournaments, New Tech Unveils, and the ever-present NAG LAN, there's plenty to see and do at rAge.

The morning visit to the MSI booth for a presentation of the latest product line and breakfast set the stage for the rest of the weekend event. MSI had set up an experience zone for fans to interact with their product line and create content with a Game of Thrones inspired setup. Once the doors opened to the public, it was obvious that this area would immediately become a favorite with visitors, with queues forming to play with the array of laptops and PCs and take a few photos of the area.

The room was filled with similar booths, where it wasn’t just about promoting the next sale, but rather an engagement between like-minded people. As a result, I spent hours wandering the halls, interacting with many people, both passing by and in Cosplay, exchanging jokes and compliments. However, I spent most of my time on the different stands, talking with creators, artists and enthusiasts.

What I learned from these discussions was the tremendous growth of the animated scene. Before the 2020 lockdown, it would have been difficult to find half of the participants among anime fans. Three years later, most attendees and exhibitors were able to talk about their favorite series. What is interesting in these exchanges is the eagerness of many to talk about their favorite series and characters, even if the link with their stand is not direct. Anime has become a huge part of today's geek scene and continues to grow among the masses.

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Thanks to this trend, the increase in the quality and variety of anime-related products was also easily noticeable year-over-year. The range was much wider than in previous years, offering a good mix of products from earrings and keyrings to posters and figurines. That said, one of the visitors' favorite products was Demon Slayer, thanks to its global success and easy distribution. It was also a favorite among 2023 cosplayers, with the quartet of characters Tanjiro, Nezuko, Inosuke, and Zenitsu easily spotted in the crowd at every turn.

Additionally, the event hosted numerous gaming tournaments, another essential part of rAge. These attracted a large crowd who registered on the day or qualified before the event. While there were plenty of opportunities to compete and test out some of the latest games, tech and rigs throughout the weekend, the big attraction this time around was Spider-Man 2. Massive success for Sony on PlayStation over the past couple of months, the game remains in the crosshairs of many fans this holiday season and has attracted many people lining up to spend a few moments with Peter and Miles.

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There was plenty of fun to be had on the day or throughout the weekend. The main feature of this year's event is its interactive setup, which allowed fans to experience more. This is a great path for the years to come, because it's all about bringing fans the latest in culture. From my side, rAge 2023 was a significant improvement overall.