Myself and Laurence Headed to this years Insomnia at Birmingham NEC thanks to Invision Community and our close PR friends getting us Press passes, we where hoping to get some interviews but after trying to make contact with our PR contacts, so sort us out, it was clear they where to busy to answer and we had to go it alone.
On the first day on the event, it was simply minding blowing and the scope and size of this event was huge, and it took some time to get through the entire showfloor.
We would like to make a personal thanks to MSI and all the companies that took there time to talk to us during the event and hope to work with you soon.
Now for our Blog Layout Article for Insomnia 61
Rocker had some of their “Gaming” chairs available for people to use, these were pretty comfy! However I could not see them being that great for PC users, too low and too unmovable, but for a solid console set-up these would be perfect.
Sound was pretty good out of them too, but in the middle of the expo they didn’t have the ability to shine too much, got to play some Wipeout here though.
Drone races! A straight up race course made up for drones, it was pretty impressive, even if it was near impossible to get a good picture of them for their fast-moving speeds.
The Drone racing course was really interesting, having heard of and seen videos of this kind of thing before, I was excited to be able to see it up close. Next to the course was the workshop area where the drones were worked on and repaired, where a lot of fiddly electronics and soldering irons were in evidence. The racing itself was very fast paced, and I thought this was a great introduction for anyone interested in the burgeoning sport.
Sat around and watched the “Grand prix” which was first drone to 8 laps, and they went on for about an hour, a good watch, though that net is there for safety as there were a lot of crashes, just like normal Formula 1, good fun.
More robots near by, got to see the Robot War villain robots! I forgot this chaps name, but I do remember him being the scary one.
Matilda was close by and looked pretty vicious up front, shame we didn’t get to see them moving and having a fight.
Having always been a Robot Wars fan (never been the same without Craig Charles though) it was great to see these beasts up close. Their size was quite surprising! There was a small Battle Bots arena with much smaller competitors than this where you could try your luck in a melee.
MSI had a fantastic booth set up with computers usable and ones to loop pretty (And to hurt your wallets). They also had a League of Legends tournament setup, with First price getting a GTX 1050, Second place getting a MSI headset, and the rest getting a little MSI dragon to make use of.
Lawrence went first to try and beat his contender, and as the first contender to the tournament.
I’ve played League before, but only casually, and I didn’t go into the tournament with much hope. As expected I got stomped down heavily, but it was good fun. The casters made you feel comfortable and helped you out if you were a bit unsure of things. Was a good opportunity to try out the gear as well. Suffice to say I wish I had the setup I used there at home instead!
He was very focused when he went into his first match.
However looked pretty sad when he lost first ( I got third place out of 8, not to rub it into Lawrence’s face)
Some of the computers that were put into show were absolutely stunning and made my wallet hurt a little looking at the price of the setups, with LED lighting all in show.
Not only could you gaze longingly at these dream machines, you could try them out with any of the installed games that you wished. To say everything ran smooth as silk would be an understatement, but for the asking price of the full system, I would have expected nothing less!
Even some open air cases were shown off, and again hurt the wallet more than often.
This has to have been my 2nd favourite setup I saw all weekend. Maybe not to everyone’s taste, but I liked the simplistic nature of it without it going too overboard on the lights and ‘bling’ factor, which I think many rigs can be guilty of.
We had to say goodbye to the MSI section with a quick pic of the MSI dragon.
I wanted to give the dragon a new home with me, but alas I think we would have been spotted trying to sneak it away from the booth!
We took a look over at the Retro corner next, we spent FAR too long here, a lot of games and consoles were all set up at different zones, and nostalga’d far too hard.
The glory of CRT’s all lined up, with Xbox OG to Master System set ups.
A highlight for me was the 8 v 8 Halo 2 setup. Of course, it was running Capture the Flag on the blood gulch map. Being able to communicate with your team in person rather than over a headset was a refreshing change. And being able to share your celebration or disappointment at the end of the match made your victory or defeat that much more poignant.
Even had some pinballs set up! I am not great at these, I do love looking at the extreme ingenuity
A cheeky early look at the area being set up for some esports later on In the weekend, CSGO, HearthStone and League are going to be played on later.
There was a bar here (Best not to look at the prices though) and I wanted to spend probably too long having a cheeky pint and watching some games. Alas, my wallet and other attractions cut this time short, but the area had a good vibe to it when the competitions were approaching the semi finals and final matches.
Some general computers set up from BELONG, there were a LOT set up, but we got to play a few games of PLAYER UNKNOWN and Overwatch, no chicken dinners though.
A good opportunity for some downtime, there were also sofas in this area with consoles running Smash Bros. among other titles. Again it was good to be able to try out different keyboards and mice (if you happen to be in the market) and get away from the hustle and bustle of the main areas.
Lawrence did quite enjoy Mario Oddessy, he kept the hat for most of the weekend yes.
Well I had to show my support! There was a lot of different hat wear on display around the convention, as well as a few cosplayers. There was also a booth aimed at budding cosplayers showing the basics as well as tips and tricks for all aspects of costume making, and ultimately how to become your favourite character for a weekend. Good stuff!
There were a lot of racing sim setups around the floor with full control setups. There was even a full setup for Farm Simulator, with all of the buttons levers and switches you would need in a real tractor. These were a blast to play, although I really wanted to have a go at the VR racing setup they had. Unfortunately, the queue was quite long, but it used a Vive headset, coupled with a moving seat mount that reacted to the acceleration, braking and turns that you were performing in game. Quite cool!
As a fan of F1, this was great to see, a life size F1 car! There were cool displayers like this all over that catered for one niche or another. I don’t think anybody could come here and not find an area that really interested them.
Anyone familiar with Counter Strike: Global Offensive will find these familiar. The real life form of knife skins. I found it amusing to think that for a fraction of the price you could have a real life version of some quite expensive in game digital items. 18+ only buyers for obvious reasons, but with free shipping to your choice of address, they were very tempting!
On Sunday there was the main event, Reason Gaming Vs Vexed GG and what as upset it was for Reason Gaming fans and a 3 – 1 win to Vexed. Even with some sites showing there allegiance to Vexed and not showing a professional impartial overview, we would like to say well played to both teams.
It was a long event and plenty to do and see, but TBH covering everything was impossible and writing up an article to cover everything is also impossible, so this is the best we can offer and we hope you like the read, we have a little more on Insomnia 61 here, for now its gameover, our feet are killing, our minds are blown wide open and are looking forward to Play Expo Manchester.