Insomnia64 – What We Saw at the UK’s Biggest Gaming Festival
Mike Sanders / 10 months ago
When it comes to gaming events in the UK, there is (arguably) few bigger than Insomnia. Admittedly, we haven’t attended the last few years as we generally began to feel that the show as a whole wasn’t quite what it was.
Now being held at the Birmingham NEC, however, it certainly has a pretty impressive venue! We at eTeknix, therefore, decided to take a trip to Insomnia64 to see what we could see!
Check out our highlights below!
Similar to EGX 2018, Nintendo was certainly one of the biggest attendees at the event with them having the largest area committed to their games and promotional displays.
One of the biggest key parts of Nintendo’s display was their stage area in which they regularly conducted competitions and gameplay via their huge screen. If you wanted to get involved as well, audience participation was welcomed!
It was certainly great to see them have so many systems available for people to try out their latest releases. My personal favourite was Yoshi’s Crafted World which I did end up buying before I left the show.
While not having any specific big releases, Sony still decided to put on a show for Insomnia64 with a lot of games and demo systems ready for people to try out!
One of their biggest pushes was for the upcoming game ‘Dreams’. This game first came onto the radar in 2017 and with various systems allowing you to try it out, it seems that it may be nearing completion!
One of the biggest focuses for Sony was clearly placed upon their VR system. This is, in no small part, due to the fact that the PS:VR has been so popular (and successful) since it’s release.
I personally also got to check out a game I’m more than a little excited about. Namely, Five Nights At Freddy’s VR.
Sadly, due to their being only one system running this, demand is rather high. So if you do want to check it out (and you don’t have the punch of the media pass) you need to express your interest early.
While I am a little limited to what I can say and show you (such is the nature of VR) the version on display was very impressive indeed.
Sony also decided to give their upcoming release ‘Days Gone’ more than a little promotional with a barricade style display. This got a lot of attention from those in attendance.
Sadly, I was not permitted to take pictures or film from within, but from what I saw (and played) this is definitely one of the more interesting releases on the way. That’s interesting in a good way!
Alienware were in attendance at Insomnia64 and had a pretty slick display. This shouldn’t, incidentally, come as a surprise to anyone familiar with their branding. It’s all about the looks baby!
Front and centre was their Area-51M laptop. A laptop that Alienware is pushing specifically because of it’s ‘upgradable’ features.
As with any Alienware product, it looked fantastic and being such a popular brand, this display got a lot of attention. With a price tag of around £3,000, however, many will consider this a ‘typical’ product of theirs.
ASUS & The ROG Bus!
ASUS was perhaps one of the biggest manufacturers in attendance at Insomnia64. Featuring both a display and their brand new ROG bus!
It was so big, in fact, that we decided to give them a little love (and detail) with an article of their own! – You can check that out here!
If a picture tells a thousand words, then a video must surely cover a million so make sure you check out those above!
Razer, being one of the main highlight brands of Insomnia64 were also in attendance and were keen to show off their latest gaming products.
Focusing significantly on their laptops and mobile gaming you can check out what they had to offer via the link here!
Samsung was there to showcase some of their gaming monitors currently on the market. While there didn’t appear to be anything new, what they did have on display (particularly their widescreen curved set-ups) were particularly impressive.
With a number of games ready for you to try out, if you were in the market for a new monitor, it was a fantastic opportunity to see what Samsung has on offer to tempt you!
In what was something of a surprise, Insomnia64 devoted a huge section to retro gaming. This featured a wide variety of games and platforms to really pay homage to gamings roots. It was, perhaps, somewhat depressing (in regards to my age) and pleasing to see so many kids who had never grown up with this technology trying it out for the first time!
Systems such as NES consoles, SNES, Sega Genesis and even early PlayStation and Xbox consoles were all available for you to try out with some of the most classic games free for all!
I must admit that some of the old arcade cabinets certainly caught my attention. While there was only around a dozen or so on site, it was impressive to see just many people were eager to try them out. In many instances, for the first time ever!
Displays & Sales!
As you might expect, a major part of the show is to offer retailers the opportunity to show their wares to the gaming world. This included rather substantial stalls from Tokyo Toys, high-street retailer Game and also smaller independent traders.
One such example was Solly Mohammed from SM-artworks who was more than happy to have a chat with me and show me his (very impressive) catalogue of (largely Star Wars themed) art. All of which, I might add, was available at a surprisingly reasonable price and certainly seems to be well within the remit of the show’s attendees!
If you are interested in learning more, you can check out his website via the link here!
Insomnia64 also had a rather large floor section allowing people to try out a number of highly popular board games. This is a market that has grown significantly in recent years and I suspect ties in well to gaming thanks to the various cross-overs such as Fallout and Dark Souls.
People were welcome to try out the games on display and, as you might imagine, a wide variety was on offer for you to buy and take home. It is, if nothing else, nice to try before you buy though!
At events such as this, Fortnite rarely has to advertise itself. Why? Well, put simply, the vast majority of systems available for people to play generally tend to run either this, Apex Legends or Anthem.
Fortnite did, however, have a booth to announce something new is on the way! – Parents! Brace your wallets!
Fortnite has revealed that they plan to release a line of figurines including the (more than famous) bus. Although prices are still a little sketchy at the moment, individual figurines will cost around £5.
Battle Royale Zone!
Keeping on the theme of Fortnite. Insomnia64 was an entire area (and masses of PCs) dedicated to battle royale games. These are entirely free to try out and, although this is easily enough done at home, might give gamers an opportunity to try out some of their favourite games on the PC platform.
Special Effect – The Gamers’ Charity
It is nice to close our summary with perhaps what was personally one of my favourite displays. Gaming is something that the able bodied to tend to take for granted. For those who have lost limbs, movement or even paralysis, it can be very difficult to find a gateway into it. Generally since all controllers are designed for those with at least 2 functioning hands.
I was, therefore, delighted to speak with Special Effect. A charity that looks to provide help and support to give those with difficulties a way into gaming!
One of the main highlights of the display was their ‘two player’ set-up. Utilising Microsoft’s brand new ‘handicap-friendly’ controller and a few other tools. Two players had to successfully complete a level of ‘Trials’. Instead of a standard controller, however, they had to use their chins to move an analogue stick and utilise the Microsoft adaptor.
I must admit that my attention was initially drawn by the controller itself. This was the first time I’d seen Microsoft’s ‘Adaptive’ controller and I must say I was very impressed.
Featuring a few mofications from the charity, while the controller itself was standard, the additional buttons required were affixed to a Velcro mat. This allows a gamer to move them depending on what their best method of accessibility would be.
As this is a charity, I’d openly invite you to check them out and, if you can, spare a little change. This is a very noble cause and doesn’t just affect those who were born with disabilities. It also helps former soldiers or those who suffered life-changing injuries get back into what they loved!
You can check out their official website via the link here!
Is It Worth Attending?
So, at this point, with the event running until the 22nd of April, you might be asking ‘is it worth going to?’.
Well, in all honesty, while there was plenty to see, the event itself isn’t particularly huge and as such, unless you really want to check out every individual item and play every single game, you could probably check-out everything you wanted to see inside 2-3 hours.
It is, of course, a no-brainer that the ‘the UKs biggest gaming event’ is all about gaming. There just wasn’t as much as you might have hoped. No big announcements (well, not many) and very little to tickle your tech-bones.
Putting it best, it’s an event for gamers and, perhaps, younger audiences rather than those looking to see the latest gaming hardware. Still, it’s the Easter Weekend and I can think of far worse ways to spend it!
What do you think? Do you plan to attend Insomnia64? What do you like the look of the most? – Let us know in the comments!
For more information on the event, you can visit the official website via the link here!