Insomnia Gaming Festival: Living up to it’s name


I55 was massive, fun and exciting, so where does that leave us?

I’ve been following this event for a few years now.

Although I haven’t had a chance to attend each year, I’ve witnessed how it’s grown truly into the biggest gaming festival in the UK.

Now with Multiplays recent acquisition by game for 20 million, it could be set to take off even more at it’s new NEC Birmingham venue.

From this years Insomnia 55 we put together a little video to show you just how packed and enjoyable it is:

Multiplay started in 1999, with the first ever Insomnia event.

In all this time the extent of support and experience that’s been put in place can clearly be seen through the sheer amount of gaming activities that are available throughout the weekend.

There’s always room for improvement but this is the place to have the glastonbury of gaming  

That taken into account let’s take a look at what exactly gamers get our of Insomnia:

PC’s, lots and lots and lots of PCs

Whilst at the event an unconfirmed source informed me how there was around 2,700 people who had brought their own PC to the event.



That is alot of Gaming rigs all in one place…

But the one question that played on my mind was why on earth do people even bring their own PC?

Yasmin and Connor told me about their experience with BYOC (Bring your own PC):

In a tiresome and exhausted voice, Connor, who traveled from North Wales informed me how:

Having no social life is an advantage, you get to meet people that you like and you get alot of friends from here.

So friendship comes from an event like this but Yasmin included the key element:

I guess it’s the atmosphere really, the atmosphere is nice. You’e around the same people, doing the same thing. You feel more comfortable.

And I can back that up.

Despite the musky smell of energy drinks and sweat, I and the rest of my team could certainly feel this atmosphere that so clearly filled the air.

Stay subscribed for an up and coming video interview about why people bring their pc’s to a lan event. 

The exhibition halls

The event was slightly let down in my opinion by the exhibition halls.

There’s plenty going on… That’s not the problem.

exbo hall

It’s when we split the showfloor up from people trying to sell you something to people genuinely showing off some of the cool bits of gaming.


There were game previews of games such as Battleborn, Fifa and Gears of War. But that was pretty much it (excluding the indie halls of course).

In coming years I’d like to see the community element from everywhere else in this event, brought into the one room excluding it.

The Main festival stage

If bright lights and loud music is what you love then the main stage is certainly for you!

Throughout the day you’ll be able to visit the spectacle of live events that are constantly taking place.

main stage

You heard me mention how this event is the glastonbury of gaming.

Well here’s why:

During the day there are plenty tournaments on screen between gaming professionals and celebrity YouTuber’s ( yes that’s a term now).

During the night however…

The music get’s kicked up high and the crowd starts to get wild. If there’s one thing we could recommend, that’s to get your pub quiz tickets reserved as early as possible.

You want to be there.

From “the boat race” to the prizes given out on stage, all of it is as hectic as you could imagine.

What is this “Boat race” you ask?

boat race

This occurs during the after hours of Insomnia where people compete to be the first to finish their pint of beer. The first to place their cup on the top of their head wins.

As for the prizes?

Just imagine the word “box” being chanted a load, (and then for people to be going absolutely crazy over said box).

Festival activities (Retro area and Minecraft)

Of course it’s not all as action packed as the Main stage.

If you venture down to the activities area you’ll come across a spectacular site:

Retro games and consoles, all in a pristine playable condition.

retro sign

Maintained by “World of Nintendo”, there’s plenty to be doing here.

From playing one of the very first Mario bro’s game to a Simpsons arcade style game, there’s literally hundreds of variations to choose from.

Given enough time, the team and I would’ve spent most of our time in here, reminiscing about the many hours of fun spent playing these childhood games.

The Indie Section

As you may know already, DoubleUpGaming is certainly an Indie focused site.

What can I say? We love Indie games!

indie zone

However it’s a little hard to tell… Does Multiplay like Indie games too?

Hidden towards the back of a large maze like tent, we finally found our way to the shrouded “Indie Section”.

Compared to previous years we’d seen this worthy area united with the expo halls, in front view of all to see.

(Maybe the new, large NEC setup will leave more room for the often forgotten about indie devs?)


Regardless of this, when we made it, we were happy to be greeted with a few familiar, and not so familiar faces.

The amazing games on display were again some that had just been released, and others that were in the process of being worked on. (Stay subscribed to our site to see a few of our Indie Insomnia articles!)

Youtuber meet and greet’s

By far one of the most attendee drawing factors is the countless number of meet and greet’s available with popular YouTubers.

stage sideman

We interviewed numerous amounts of day attendees on the exhibition, showroom floor and many of the responses where the same:

I’m here to see my favorite YouTuber

Is it that surprising to see so many children and teens flock to have a chance of meeting their internet idols?


Not really.

However it’s the sheer amount of time that some of these kids spend queuing up less than 45 seconds with this person.

meet and greets

In some cases this goes into the excess of over three hours! And if you remember correctly, last year we published an article on how Syndicate was determined to meet and greet all fans

The Future of Insomnia

This is a tough one.

From the looks of things, Insomnia is shaping up to become bigger and better with each year its on.

But in all the year’s it’s been running, it may be time for a shake up.

Nothing drastic. Just something to keep it fresh, vibrant, and better than the rest.

people on stage floor

We absolutely love the atmosphere and Vibe that Insomnia never fails to give off.

It’s as if everyone involved is part of a family. From the Yellow to green shirt volunteers everyone pulls their weight together to create what is Insomnia.

The only question that remains now? Will becoming bigger, and better hinder the community drive?

We’ll let you know  if our thoughts change the next time we’re at Insomnia!

In the meantime leave us a comment of your experiences and if you think becoming bigger will change the way insomnia is ran.

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