How to rock your first NAG LAN…and make it out alive
If you frequent social media or this blog then you probably already know what rAge is, if you don’t, I’ll summarise it for you: It’s a three-day long expo featuring all kinds of gaming, hardware, comics, esports, and cosplay.
At least that’s what everyone tells you it is. But in reality, it’s so much more.
rAge is home to the NAG LAN, South Africas biggest ‘bring your own PC/Console’ local area network event. A group of roughly 2500 people from all walks of life coming together to unite in celebration of their pure love and passion for gaming, and to effectively live in the Dome for 72 hours. This article is my guide to how you can ROCK your first NAG LAN (this is my group of friends 15th rAge and I’m going to be sharing ALL of the pro tips):
The actual “LAN” is held Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at the Ticket Pro Done but for my group of friends, and MANY others, it actually starts on Thursday morning already. If you’re one of us (the crazy ones as people like to call us) who want to start camping outside the Dome on Thursday morning already then you should be warned that you’re adding an additional 19 or so hours of pretty much 0 sleep to your rAge experience. Now I say 19 and not 24 because they usually feel pity for you and open the doors at about 4 am so you can go inside and set up/catch a power nap before the actual LAN begins.
So you want the fully sleep deprived experience? Well here is how to rock pre rAge Thursday like a pro
(if you are one of the ‘sane’ people who plan on starting the LAN at 8 am on Friday like you’re supposed to then just skip this section)
If you arrive early then make sure you have a gazebo or an umbrella with you, there is no sun quite like the October pre-rage sun, trust me, it burns hotter than any other.
Bring a camping chair, sitting on the floor might seem fun for the first few hours, but it gets older quicker than what you’d think.
Sunblock. You don’t want to sit LANing looking like a burnt lobster.
A cooler bag for some cold beverages, the day gets long and you’re gonna get thirsty.
Unless you want to give up your spot in queue to walk to the McDonalds or the Mall (and trust me, there will be a queue) then you’re gonna want to bring some food with for the day. Pre-made hotdogs are KING.
Something to entertain yourself with, be it a tabletop game you can enjoy with friends, your Nintendo Switch, a camera for photos or even a speaker to play music – entertainment is a must.
The 5 necessities (okay for those of you who skipped, this is your section again now):
I.E things that you absolutely NEED in order to survive 72 hours of nonstop gaming.
1) Your LAN ticket, seriously, you can never be too sure that you have this. NEVER.
2) A Red plug. If you don’t know what this is, it’s basically a three-point plug that’s red (DUH) and has a flat pin on the top, you can buy these at any hardware store and you will need it in order to have power for your box and screen at rAge.
This is even more important than your ticket, trust me.
*pro tip: if your machine takes a special plug or you really can’t find the red plug I’m talking about, then you can ask them to file your own plug down, BUT I would strongly suggest you just go buy the plug.
3) Your PC setup, this includes:
Headset/Mic (trust me on this, rAge is LOUD and the sound levels never die, so if you want to play with your friends AND talk to them, then this is a must)
Mousepad (again, do NOT forget your mousepad. It happens to someone in our group every single year and it SUCKS)
All the cables you usually use (except for your internet network cable, rAge doesn’t supply any other cables)
4) A USB phone charger
5) A giant bag that contains the following:
Body Spray (this one is not just for you, but for everyone around you)
A change of clothes
A blowup matress (or something else you can sleep on)
Stuff your mom never told you about rAge NAG LAN (This is that part of the article where I share with you all the pro tips you pick up after 15 NAG LANS)
Make sure you have enough space available on your PC or that you bring a USB powered external drive. If there is one thing that’s done more than gaming at rAge it’s the sharing of EVERYTHING with each other via the network. Trust me, 2500 odd people can share a LOT.
When you’re arriving to ‘check into’ the LAN you’re going to need to have your PC box with you. Before you’re allowed to take it in they first check to make sure it switches on without tripping the power system. They also check through every. single. bag. that you have to make sure you aren’t bringing food or drinks in. I’m not even kidding. No matter what time you arrive at ‘check in’ there is pretty much always a queue you have to stand in for anything from 30 minutes to over an hour, which is REALLY unpleasant if you’re carrying everything listed above with you, that’s where my next tip comes in:
Leave EVERYTHING in the car except for your PC box and your LAN ticket. Stand in the queue with only that, let them test your box, walk in, find your new home for the weekend, put your box on the table to claim it and then walk out to fetch the rest of your stuff.
The reason why the above makes your life SO much easier is because you only need to stand in the queue ONCE, the moment you’re checked in they give you a wristband to wear which lets you pass in and out of the Dome as you want, so the trip back in with the rest of your bags might take you a max of 5 minutes of heavy carrying instead of an hour…
As I said above, you aren’t allowed to bring any food or drinks into the Dome, and trust me, the security REALLY make sure you don’t, so make sure you have enough cash. Cards are fine until the machines go down and you need to stand in queue for the ATM for half your day.
You’re allowed to take your own chair to the LAN. This might not be something that really matters to you, but if you do suffer from back pain or you just want to sit in comfort for the next 72 hours then it might be worth bringing your own chair instead of using their steal ‘school’ style chairs.
This tip might just be the most important of the bunch: When you go sleep and or walk around the expo you need to do one of three things. Lock everything that isn’t your PC (wallet, keys, phone, anything you bought during the expo) up in a bag that you put under the table. Put everything that isn’t your PC (see above) in a bag that you carry on your person… OR ask someone you know and trust to stay and watch your stuff while you sleep or go exploring and then do the same for them later on. Please trust me, rAge is a wonderful place and they really do everything in their power to make it as safe as possible for you but the reality is there are going to be roughly 2500 other people you don’t know LANing, a whole bunch of managing staff walking around and a cleaning crew that come through CONSTANTLY. So unless you take initiative and watch your loose stuff, there is a pretty high chance something of yours will find a new home, and nothing ruins a rAge for you, and for those around you, quite like the loss of a wallet or phone… I talk from years of experience and countless losses here.
The above covers pretty much everything that you will need to make your first ever NAG LAN one for the record books, and don’t let it overwhelm you either, at the end of the day what happens happens and if you do forget anything there will always be someone who is happy and willing to help you out. That is the beauty of rAge.
The NAG LAN is an opportunity to experience what it’s like to come together with people of all genders, ethnicities, ages, and stereotypes, and then not be seen as any of those, but instead, to see each other as you really are, gamers .
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have bags to pack and a red plug to find… I know it’s here somewhere…
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