Have you ever been to a LAN before? If not, you should go at least once – and here is why.
It was always a dream of mine growing up and getting into esports to attend a gaming event whether it be a small or large event.
Since joining Esports News UK I have been to many events both small and large from NUEL Live, to ESL Finals at the ESL Studio One in Leicester to the big event of the year: Insomnia. From each and every event I have taken away so much, whether it’s gaining new friends or a greater understanding of the UK scene.
Insomnia is a lot different than usual events dedicated to a specific game. It’s billed by organisers as the Glastonbury of gaming; the atmosphere is buzzing because you get to meet the friends you’ve met online in real life.
Specifically at Insomnia you get decent side events that are the talk of the BYOC (Bring Your Own Computer) area such as the infamous Insomnia pub quiz.
Walking around the event hall you can see many YouTube and Twitch streamers, to name a few at this year’s Insomnia there was Mini Ladd and TheSyndicateProject in attendance.
There are also new games and hardware to test in the expo hall, from big companies such as PlayStation, AOC and retailers like Maplin, to smaller developers trying to get their product off the ground.
At Insomnia there are so many things to do in the exhibition hall, from meeting your favorite social media personalities, flying robot drones, testing new products or watching live robot wars.
There is a host of tournaments for you to participate in, whether you’re an organisation that wants to participate in more serious tournaments, or you’re a group of friends wanting to play in an intermediate tournament just for fun.
Esports within the UK is always growing and is becoming a huge spectator sport, so much so that event tickets sell out quickly. At Insomnia there are various open cups with prize pools, such as the League of Legends BYOC Open, won by ViR Mortalis at i61.
At Insomnia61 the open cups had a range of prize pools up for grabs, from Hearthstone’s £500 to CSGO’s £7,500. Other tournaments include Team Fortress 2, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegroudns, Overwatch and more.
There’s also the UK Masters, the LoL final of which was won by MnM this time around
After playing and watching the tournaments, of course there is the nightlife of Insomnia and there are a few options for you to choose from. There’s Wetherspoons, where everyone goes to have a good time (but it usually ends up with a rough morning), or the infamous pub quiz on the Friday, where you can get your game on and test your gaming fandom knowledge, that is if you’re lucky enough to secure yourself some tickets.
Everyone who has gone to pub quiz has always told me how great it is but what actually goes on? Well, some stuff you would expect and some that you would not. There are general knowledge questions, gaming knowledge questions, name the game (from video clips), name the song/album and finally a picture round.
Whilst results are counted there are songs being played which many people get up and dance to. Songs played include that Tenacious D one (‘F*** Her Gently’), and after the winners are announced there is a traditional singalong to Queen’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’.
The evening of the pub quiz is dedicated to fundraising; at Insomnia 61 funds were raised for Special Effect, a charity for which ENUK has previously raised funds. While numbers have not been confirmed as of yet, it has been said that over £9,000 (yes I did make an outdated meme reference) has been raised for Special Effect.
If Spoons is closed or the pub quiz is not on, but you want to keep the party going, then the casino is the place for you. This is where several players have been known to ‘reinvest’ their winnings.
Whilst I don’t gamble myself, here is some advice from a good friend of mine, caster Tridd: “Only go to the casino if you’re prepared to lose the money you take with you.”
And that, folks, is why I’ve never gone to the casino.
Either way, you will probably end up back in the BYOC area drinking with your friends or at the casino close to the NEC.