While the rAge Expo has become an institution in the South African gaming and IT community, a growing amount of gamers means that every year there is an ever-increasing number of first time expo-goers. 2012 marked the first rAge for a very special gamer, the Afrihost Brand Team mascot, Sheepy.
Sheepy was uber-excited to get first hand experience of the best that SA Gaming had to offer. First things first though, Sheepy had to get the Afrihost stand ready for the 25,000 plus visitors who would be passing through over the weekend. Luckily the good folks from El33tonline were around to help out, and pretty soon the stand was pumping with excited expo-goers, swarming to win amazing prizes. Sadly, someone had the terrible idea of throwing Sheepy into the crowd, and luckily Sheepy had the foresight to bring his own stunt double. So our fluffy little friend watched as Afrihost and El33tonline gave away 3 Xbox Kinect Bundles, a Samsung Galaxy S3 and Galaxy Note 2, Limited Edition Games, New Releases, T-Shirts, and all sorts of freebies. Sheepy was amazed at the amount of excitement generated at the Afrihost stand, and was certain that the chants of "AfriLeet" could be heard throughout the Dome!!
But by the second day, Sheepy wanted to go out and explore, and see what the world of rAge had to offer. Although Sheepy felt that Afrihost's stand was among the most interesting, there was no doubt about the amount of care, detail and effort that had gone into each stall to make this one of the most impressive experiences anyone on two (or four) legs can have in the Southern Hemisphere. Ranging from Console Vendors, PC hardware, Software, Game Houses, comic books and paraphernalia, the entire video game, card gaming and comic book community had put their best foot forward. Sheepy then made his way to the strategy gaming section when players were facing off in everything from Magic to Warhammer and other tabletop strategy/war games. The intense concentration was amazing, but Sheepy was happy that many of the players still took the time to chat and explain their games to him, and pose for the occasional photo.
Next it was off the the LAN gaming area, where some of Sheepy's friends from the Afrihost support team were blasting away on the network. With Afrihost being the Official Internet Sponsor, Sheepy was given an all access pass to visit his buddies and get a sense of the other side of rAge that most expo-goers were fenced away from. And what better guide than Geoff, NAG's Online Editor and All Purpose Game Fundi. Over 2,500 gamers gathered in one area is more than enough to blow the socks off of any uninitiated lamb! What's more, there were beds, mattresses and sleeping bags all over - gamers slept at the venue from Friday to Sunday to ensure they got the most out of their rAge experience. While Sheepy did let off a few shots here and there in Counterstrike and Call of Duty, he had to concede in the end that this was a pursuit for only the most dedicated gamers.
Lastly it was off the the press room, where Sheepy got to meet some of the gaming journalists and personalities, who were enjoying the comfort (and fast ADSL bandwidth) provided by Afrihost. Sheepy also got to meet the awesome team from NAG magazine who are responsible for putting rAge together. It was real pleasure for him to be introduced to Michael and Jacqui, who are the main forces behind making sure that rAge is a resounding success every year.
So all in all, it was a great experience for our woolly little buddy - he had an awesome time giving away amazing prizes, and got his picture taken with just about all of the most colourful characters at the expo. And all Sheepy can think about now is rAge 2013!