written by Eden Da Costa
When both Staffordshire University and EFL ask you to collect media content at Insomnia65 and then provide you with an All-Access Media Pass, You Do Not Say No! Seriously! Having skipped the event for a few years for one reason or another, I went in excited but with a fresh pair of eyes and a new perspective on the industry.
Friday 23rd at around 8:30 I arrived at the NEC. Getting into the venue before the doors opened to the public, I took a gander around all the stalls, most of which were set up while others were adding their final few touches.
The main entrance opened out into the Insomnia main stage where the weekends cosplay championships, hot seat talks with special guests and the afternoons Just Dance Lip Sync Battles took place. Just through the Insomnia Stage the halls opened out to a massive space taken up by a map of stalls, vendors and gaming set ups, each with its own activities.
Overwatch Show Match – Army vs Royal Air Force
On the Friday afternoon I decided to explore the Esports scene at Inomnia65. Hosted by Belong Arena’s on the Belong Stage, the Army and RAF took to Insomnia to show their newfound PC skills in a best of 1 map Overwatch tournament. Having previously competed against each other at last year's Insomnia playing CS:GO the Army had seen defeat. They returned this year for revenge; did they get the result they wanted?
With 30 minutes to go, the Belong Esports arena began filling up with seats overrun by the RAF, they had come to show support for their team. Teams from other games dotted around the arena started to show interest, however, there was very few Army personal to be seen. As Joe ‘heymunchables’ Fenny comes out to open, the crowd sits in silence, introducing the tournament and teams, awkward murmurs could be heard through the crowd as he refers to the Army as ‘Royal’. Shout casters Stan ‘GreyHart’ Barker and Phillip ‘BigHungryPhill’ Moxley break down how they think the game is going to go.
The game began with the Army steam rolling onto the first check point. Josh as DVA stole the first kill clearing the path for the Army with only Nashy on Reaper from the RAF to fight back taking a double kill, giving the RAF enough momentum to take the first point in just under 6 minutes. Each point after seem to go exactly the same way with Nashy carrying the RAF and Gonzio close behind to assist, the RAF ‘deletes’ the Army taking the win and moving forward to face the Belong AllStars.
The rest of the weekend
Saturday & Sunday were pretty much the same. In the morning, I took the opportunity to catch anything I may have missed Friday, from exploring the cosplay stands to checking out the stalls selling anime merch. I found it far harder to experience much over these two days, as far more people attended and it quickly became very busy and cramped, queues lining up to play Borderlands 3 before release. While teams begin signing up at the small battle zones to compete in games tournaments against one another for fun.
Mid-day Saturday I got to watch the Borderlands Cosplay Championship on the main stage. With the most realistic, group of ‘Not So’ Tiny Tina’s walk across the stage, posing and reenacting Borderlands characters they clearly love; The amazing detail put into the mask of FL4K the Hunter, (with lights and all!); And the mesmerizing glow of Maya the Siren’s Phaselock orb, seeing the time and dedication people put into the costumes was truly inspirational and kind of made me wish I was up on that stage.
Sunday was rather uneventful, having seen everything there was to see I spent a vast majority of the day taking small videos and photos for social media and ensuring I had everything I needed. I did however get to meet Pikachu!
That about sums up the weekend. To anyone considering going to Insomnia, I’d strongly suggest visiting the website and seeing what is on. Even if you aren’t passionate about gaming, it is a good opportunity to get out the house. Personally, I didn’t feel like enough was happening throughout the weekend to constitute going for four days straight. If I hadn’t been there volunteering, I honestly would have only gone for a maximum of two days.