Insomnia has always had a bit of a special place in my heart. Although I don’t LAN game I was brought up a gamer and amongst people who built PCs from scratch every seven months, so Insomnia (to me) just brings back all the things that made me happy as a child.
Insomnia happens three times a year and is essentially a 52 hour LAN party where people rock up with their PCs, play each other on the game of their choice (normally League) and just go at each other for the entire weekend! When they aren’t streaming there are food and camping facilities available, nearby hotels and entertainment in the form of panels. The panels featured gaming teams and live streams with famous gaming YouTubers such as Yogscast and Syndicate.
For anyone who loves online PC gaming this is probably the con for you. This year it seemed to be bursting at the seams with the con barely being contained within the grounds of the Coventry Rugby stadium. Insomnia 56 is so big it’s being moved to the NEC in Birmingham. For a con as big as Insomnia, it wasn’t as busy as you would expect it to be.
I was expecting MCM levels of congestion but the whole thing seemed pretty well organised. The only time that there were any real types of congestion was where there were queues of children and young teens queuing up to “YouTube” stars who looked barely old enough to shave. I’m not going to lie, looking at some of these stars as they swaggered around with an arm around two girls or trying to act all cool with their little gang pretty much confirmed my opinion about getting too much attention so young.
I didn’t get a huge amount of time to take a proper look around the convention due to my duties of being a cosplay guest who had to man the photography table, but what I did see was pretty sweet. The stands and displays in the main exhibition room were fantastic, with Game creating a diner style stand to display all their gadgets. EA had a huge stand of scaffolding and lights and then there were the displays for all the fancy new gaming keyboards and mice, which all light up with the colours of the rainbow.
If the sight and sounds of the exhibition hall didn’t stun you then maybe a glance at the two enormous stages would have. I have never been on a stage so big and I think the only one that really rivals it is the main stage at Japan Expo. They were huge and the lighting, set up and organisation of these stages were incredible! There is a lot to be learned from the teams behind the Insomnia stage set ups.
As I didn’t really get a chance to experience the con from more than behind the table that’s all I can really say about Insomnia 55 but I would highly recommend it to any gaming fan. It’s such a good con and I enjoyed it just as much this year as I did last year when I went. I think it helped that this year I stayed there for a few nights and had the chance to hang out with everyone after hours and got the chance to watch Hatfilms getting egged on by Syndicate in a boatrace and then somehow ended up in the VIP room chatting to many people that I don’t remember the names of. Just another day in the life of a congoer.
All images from the official Insomnia Gaming Festival Flickr.