Rush Esports and GeekFest 2019: Reception
However, the reception to the mixed event was, in itself, mixed. Feedback around the event ranged from gripes on the venue; “GeekFest should be an outdoor event“, or complaints that Shoutcasters at one stage, were out shouting the Shoutcasters at another stage. (say that ten times fast).
Others loved the mix, saying that: “It’s great to have everything I love in one place”, citing that they could go shop or geek around when not watching a CS;GO, FIFA or Tekken game.
Personally, I had a great time and thought that while the event was “smaller” in size, the quality of what was delivered was generally better.
Yes, I feel that GeekFest felt like the shanty town attached to the highly funded Rush Esports event, yes, the lanes between stalls and food outlets were tiny, and caused many a foot traffic jam, and the fewer stalls meant that there was less to see, but not five shops all selling the same thing.
Overall, nothing to break an event, but maybe that’s also a problem.
GeekFest 2019: A Falling-Star:
There was nothing new, exciting or interesting to look forward to at GeekFest 2019.
Every year, geeks normally look forward to their favourite geek shows, events and activities, but this year, the event felt lacking overall, or, leaner.
Why didn’t we have the Catan South African Championships, where was the Warhammer 40K Tournament, or the Magic the Gathering GeekRush Champion finals? (Oh yeah, I’m taking you guys on too). Gaming fandoms that have had nearly three decades of investment in the local geek community hitched their chairs and tables not fifty meters from some of the newest and well-funded gaming events in the country.
Yes, board gaming and wargaming, is mostly considered more of a hobby, but why shouldn’t there be prizes for Geekfest’s greatest Catan player?
Where’s the Zombie run? Where’s the wider exposure for the cosplayers?
Yes, I know I’m being a little heavy on the above-mentioned fandoms and their defacto gatekeepers, but they’re just examples of what I consider the stagnation of the current meta of organisations in the space. Whether its due to laziness or a lack of interest or even investment, there feels a lot less, to care about at GeekFest, and the event’s like GeekFest (Looking at you ICON).
I did have fun, yes, I laughed and had a great time, but, I fear that in the coming years, there won’t be a GeekFest anymore, because we’ll get our laughs and geeky fun elsewhere.
Rush Esports 2019: Enter FIFA and Tekken:
While not the mainstage, the FIFA and Tekken esports stages dominated the wider volume of gaming activity. Screams and wales from Tekken fans and roars from the crowd at FIFA consistently outweighed the once bi-hourly awe from the “bigger” DOTA2 and Hearthstone events. (again, I don’t know enough about esports).
What I saw, was more consistent and diverse energy surrounding the FIFA and Tekken stages. Not the bigger competitive DOTA2 stage (mainstage).
Why? Well, I can make some educated guesses: “easy of understanding”.
Just like in the real world, everyone understands; get the ball to the back of the net, or get Ken’s life to 0. DOTA2 or Hearthstone, well, those are vastly more complex in contrast. (Not to say that they’re better or worse), but they include layers of complex strategy and gameplay.
During one of my settings during the DOTA Tournament, I noted a gentleman in the back, explaining in hyperactive detail, what each move in the DOTA game did, meant and would have on the wider match, to whom I’m assuming was a noob like me (thank you, random stranger).
I don’t pretend to know esports, but I think that if esports is going to get the thousands of fans entering stadiums annually, we need games that a local audience can own. South Korea can be said to have StarCraft 2, why can’t we have a Fighting and FIFA crown?
Just an outsider’s observations for the experts to think about.
Fu-Sion-Ha! Did it work?
Let’s rip the bandage off shall we; I don’t think it worked as well as it could have.
Dividing the venue down the middle, one side GeekFest, the other Rush, while it “makes sense”, doesn’t give the communities from either side to engage as much as they could have. Yes, granted, there could have been reasons for this: sound, stage, and lighting etc. but why not have the three stages dotted around the event, with vendors in the middle, acting as the go-between.
Outside of layout, I feel that there was little effort made to integrate the events or the communities. You’re taking two very passionate kinds of people; gamers and fandoms, and putting them in one room, they’re going to clash somewhat. Both as cultures, and in preference.
It nearly felt like, some kids were on the gaming side of the room, and the others the geek side.
Could there have been a stronger attempt at getting more activities, and getting attendees involved in the cultures of the other? Sure. Did it kill the day, no.
But what needs to be realised is that; they’re different events for a reason. Everyone has different preferences and tastes. Either, make a solid attempt at having people integrate their various fandoms, or keep them apart.
Cosplayers may not want to engage with the local crowd of Tekken 5.
At the end of the day, I felt I had attended a rAge Expo from 2009 (yes I’ve been going since then), and while nice, it didn’t do anything new, nor create anything interesting. A good show, but not a great one.
The next conversation you and I will have is if we should spend our money on rAge Expo 2019 or Comic-con Africa 2019.
I do feel that merging both events is a good move, while not totally successful for either theme on its own, a move to a better overall merged event and enriched community. Great idea, however, maybe a better execution is needed for future events (Make #GeekRush2020 happen).
What did you think though? Did you attend? Tell me about your experiences in the comments.
I like to promote other platforms, but also provide you with alternative points of view.
Marco Cocomello, Managing Editor at Glitched Africa, said: “This past weekend, Times Square Arena in Pretoria hosted Geekfest 2019 and Rush 2019. The combination of the two events was a step in the right direction but it was hard to miss the poor execution sticking out under the rug where it was swept away hours before it opened.” … please read the full story here.
I love Marco’s work, he always manages to speak to the deeper sense of the community and for the attendees with a lack of industry or brand bias. Check out his story, he makes some excellent points regarding management and organisation, said better than I ever could.