If you follow me on my social media, then you know Friday 24th August I hopped on a plane to attend the Insomnia Gaming Festival in Birmingham, United Kingdom. I wrote this post to talk about my experience at the festival. If you are interested in attending, the next Insomnia is planned for Easter 2019.

It was also my first time meeting EenPlaysGames aka Ian and his wife Kayleigh (we met through Twitch). We have been friends close to 4 years now and even sent each other birthday and Christmas presents. They let me and my friend stay at their house (which also includes a fluffy doge named Delta).

We packed up at about 8:30am on Saturday, had a nice breakfast at McDonald’s and then set out on a trip to Birmingham, which took about an hour.

The festival was being held in the NEC, which is a huge exhibition centre. We checked in, got a nice stamp on the back of our hands and we could get a lanyard for 2GBP after the check-in point if we didn’t get it with a priority ticket. I didn’t, so I got the lanyard separately.

The lines moved fairly quickly, the only issue I had with entering the NEC was the alarming lack of security at the door. The security lady just waved us in without even checking our bags, which in hindsight is pretty scary considering recent events in Florida. I don’t know whether that was maybe just a momentary lapse or if it was like this all weekend but certainly it should have been handled better.

Although there were Youtubers and Twitch streamers announced (Syndicate, Yogscast, ImAlexx among others), we didn’t have a fave so we didn’t queue up to their meet and greet. The queues weren’t all that bad from what I’ve seen walking around.

The area was split into several parts, the main stage where the open and closing ceremonies  and other events were held, then there was the E-sports and BYOC (bring your own computer) areas and next the exhibition floor which was further split up into areas such as cosplay, retro, tabletop games, meet and greets and shopping area.

We decided just to walk around at first, get the feel of the place. We went through the expo area and found ourselves in the marketplace where we geeked out over so many merchandise from video games to popular culture (including memes) and wished we had more money. We each got some sweet gaming and/or superhero swag. But more on that later.

Ian and Kayleigh went to check out the new Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey and played a little bit in secrecy as there was a tent around the AC gaming area. While they were queuing to play, me and my friend Bjorn went around the rest of the place. We stumbled upon the drone flightball arena, then a corner where you could try and compete to enter the official Guiness World Records.

We stopped by the retro gaming area with all the retro consoles, games and pinball machines you can think of. We played a little bit of Mortal Kombat on Sega Dreamcast and raced a little bit on the original Xbox. My friends wanted to buy the whole retro store which had tons and tons of old cartridges, consoles and related merch.

Before lunch we decided to grab one of the mysterious boxes. The guys at the Amazing Mystery Box were very friendly (in fact all merchants were friendly and helpful). Me and Ian chose the gaming box, Kayleigh chose the superhero themed one. Each box was for £19.99 (roughly $25) and selection of T-shirt sizes up to XXL. Bjorn chose a Fallout box from another vendor.

As we were staying at Ian’s place, we decided to do a little improptu unboxing stream on his Twitch channel. I’ll be reviewing my gaming box in a separate post on my blog.

There were a lot of options for lunch, so we each grabbed what we felt like. The queueing wasn’t so bad but it was lunch time, so waiting a bit was to be expected. After lunch we went around the whole place again, stopping by the retro zone to play some games and pinball machines.

We went to watch the cosplay championship and the community cosplay parade; there were some great costumes, my favorite had to be the massive costume of Reinhardt from Overwatch. Easily in my top three cosplays of the entire line up. I was a bit bummed that he didn’t get any of the prizes.

Here’s some more photos from the event:

Overall I really loved the experience and will definitely be attending the Insomnia Gaming Festival in the future! Have you been to Insomnia i63? Let me know! If you haven’t, would you like to go?