New attendees to rAge may be surprised to discover that in amongst the high-tech gadgets and cutting-edge technology, the expo offers a home to something quite different. A market of stalls known as Artist Alley has been running at rAge since 2009, and has become an integral part of the event, despite being the very antithesis of the games, electronics and esports that headline the expo.
Artist Alley is home to dozens of small businesses, each focused on creating new, original, and highly creative products that can’t be found anywhere else. Each stall is owner managed, and the products they sell are either handmade originals from limited runs, or bespoke craft items created on the spot to a customer’s specifications. These businesses are the very epitome of people using their skills and passions to make a living, and they have found a home, and it seems, a passionate client base at rAge.
Browsing Artist Alley a shopper may stumble upon unique pieces of jewellery, or discover original comic book series, steam punk clothing, gaming miniatures, and décor items straight from a wizard’s tower. There are original artworks, vinyls, wall hangings, and Hand sculpted polymer clay fantasy figurines. Anime inspired cosplay items vie for attention with hand forged blades and bespoke DnD dice sets, while artists paint new works from attendee commissions at their desks.
Spokesperson for Legion Events, who runs the Artist Alley each year, Nadja Späth says that while Artist Alley was created by a passionate group of people, to give artists and creators a space to showcase their talents and network with like-minded people, it has grown to be so much more.
“Artists and creators have had success stories by being part of the Artist Alley at rAge Expo as some have found job opportunities, new clients and collaborations,” explains Späth.
This success, she says, is in large part due to the support for small businesses that the rAge community has, and their appreciation for the entrepreneurial spirit and great work being turned out by the various Artist Alley stall holders.
So, whether you are picking up custom designed gaming and mouse mats from “Artificial Ink”, a unique novelty lamp from “Genie in a Bottle”, a hand sewn and screened T-shirt from “No reason clothing” or any number of other wonderful treasures at Artist Alley, you know you are directly supporting the creatives who made these items, stocking your life with something truly unique and launching careers in the process.
But what if your primary interest is just gaming, and you still want to support our local development industry? Well, for many years rAge and NAG have incubated a special space at rAge called: Home_Coded. This is a unique zone at the expo for local South African game development talent to showcase their new game projects. Over the years we’ve seen everything from early alpha developments to complete released products available on international platforms like Steam.
“There is nothing more satisfying than seeing a local developer showcase their hard work to the rAge audience and beyond through the NAG website. Developing local talent is one of the primary objectives of rAge,” says Michael James, owner of rAge Expo.
Pretoria based Aligned Games will showcase two new games already available to wish list on Steam. Both games are expected to release in the first half of 2023, but visitors to rAge will have an opportunity to see them in action before they officially release.
Also exhibiting at rAge will be Yellow Lab Games, whose highly original music and apocalypse themed game Metavoidal is out now.
Both Artist Alley and Home_Coded have something unique to offer visitors so be sure to visit them and support creative South Africans in the process.
Tickets to rAge Expo are available to purchase online at Howler.co.za.
rAge Expo 2022:
|Dates:||9 – 11 December 2022|
|Expo times:||Friday: 10:00-18:00 | Saturday: 09:00-18:00 | Sunday: 09:00-16:00|
|Day pass:||R180 per person online | R190 at the door|
|Weekend pass:||R400 per person online | R420 at the door|
|Kids under 6:||Free|
|Venue:||Gallagher Convention Centre, Midrand, Gauteng|