Our good friend (and top streamer) Kirsty Smith made her first ever trip to an Insomnia gaming festival last weekend and she’s been kind enough to write about her experience for FULLSYNC.
i60 a small streamer’s POV
Gaming festivals are something that I personally don’t have much experience with. I had never been to one before and had only ever seen the after effects of Insomnia through blurry pictures and the odd drunk Youtuber Snapchat video. So having the opportunity to go to Insomnia60 seemed an opportunity too good to miss.
I was on a tight budget, so decided the best way to make the most of the event was to go down in the early hours of Saturday morning and stay until Sunday afternoon.
I only started planning my visit to i60 a few weeks before the event date, so booking the hotel became number one priority. There are many hotels surrounding the NEC arena, most being within a 5-mile radius but I very quickly realised that they had already been fully booked up by the die-hard Insomnia tourists. I eventually found a nice hotel close to a local train station (NEC Arena is a 15-minute walk from the closest train station) and it was affordable, which always helps. Who doesn’t like last minute bargains?
In the upcoming few weeks to the event, the excitement was rapidly building and being the enthusiasticTwittererr that I am, I wanted to share the news of going to i60 with everybody. I very quickly realised just how welcoming the gaming community can be when I was invited to meet up with the gaming community that goes by the name ETNL. I was still curious about what exactly Insomnia would have to offer me, just a small streamer who plays games for the banter and to meet new people.
Finally, the big day came. The day of i60.
My alarm rang at 5 am and I eagerly got ready. Leaving for the train station with my shaker of X Gamer in hand. I was ready for whatever awesomeness would be thrown at me. By the time I had reached NEC arena, I was buzzing with excitement to meet all of the well-known YouTubers who were now less than 5 minutes away. The first person who I met up with is a growing Youtuber known as TheGamingScotsmanYT. I had only ever previously seen him stream so seeing him in person was surreal.
The realisation of where I was finally hit me. I was surrounded by cosplayers and excited Vloggers with a huge camera attachment – what I feel should be known as a ‘posh selfie stick’. After a short introduction, it was time to get stuck in and play some games!
I felt like a kid in a candy shop, I didn’t quite know which games I wanted to go and play first or which stall to start at. I just kept walking forwards until I saw a game which I felt I wouldn’t completely embarrass myself at. I mean there were thousands of people about after all, and I may be a streamer but I am one who has the gameplay skill of a parsnip. I needed to set myself up for a win streak just in case anybody would be watching me.
I decided the safest option for that would be the ‘retro zone’ booth where you could play Call Of Duty: Blackops 2 against fellow i60 guests. As soon as I picked up the Xbox 360 controller, the nostalgia kicked in and my competitive side took over. I have to win this. Luckily, my teammates were on the same noob skill level as me and we successfully worked together and got the win! Good news all round, GG to the guys who lost.
My group decided that we wanted some food and went on the search for some. Inside the NEC, there are at least 3 subways and a Wetherspoons. Subway seemed the easiest food to get so once we had grabbed our lunch, we went and sat in the garden outside which was full of fellow gamers and the odd cosplayer. There just so happened to be 2 guys dressed as what I think were Vikings with huge swords. I have always been intrigued in how many people do cosplay and how great the little details are that they put in. All of the hours they had put in do pay off with the final outfit better than what I imagine the real thing to look like. Anyway, dinner entertainment was sorted when the Vikings broke out into a sword fight, the crowd cheering them on. A young boy dressed as Deadpool then got involved, gently tapping the Viking with a fake sword and then he pretended to die. The young boy smiled proudly as the crowd clapped. It’s not every day you see Deadpool fight a Viking.
After lunch, we were on our way back into the hall when the famous Youtuber LTZonda approached us. He was friends with someone in the group I was with so came over to say hi. I had a fangirl moment and loudly whispered “Omg it’s LTZonda!!!!” to my friend, to which the Zonda replied with “OMG! Where?!”. He was a genuinely friendly, a really nice guy, and it was great to have met him. You realise just how small the world is and meeting him will always make me smile when it crosses my mind.
Once you meet the people you have spent so long showing support and love to in person, you feel like maybe one day you can become as successful as them.
After a day full of playing games such as; World Of Warships, Paladins, Call Of Duty: Blackops 2 and Tekken 7. It was time to get ready for the famous Insomnia music event. We managed to reach the music event just as it was kicking off with a set by Years & Years. The crowd quickly went from being quiet and calm to dancing and singing along in unison. Something quite beautiful I think. Throughout the night, fellow gamers would come and dance with us and have a laugh with us. If you didn’t feel like dancing, you could easily just sit and chill with whoever you chose to.
My overall opinion of i60 was that it was amazing. It had a huge variety of games, merchandise and great deals that you can only get if you went to the event. Every person I met was wonderful, especially the staff at the stalls and I am extremely excited to be going to i61.