Insomnia Gaming Festival
So this past month I got my first chance to go to a gaming convention, Insomnia Gaming Festival i63 has just gone by and I figured Id write a post about my experience and outline my favourite parts and favourite games. They was sooo much there it would be crazy to fit it all into one article so I am going to concentrate on the gaming elements.
The first thing I would like to mention is how friendly everyone is, the atmosphere was so electric and loud, everyone was there to play some amazing games and have fun and it really showed. As soon as I arrived and went for a cheeky pint in the local Wetherspoons the excitment was clear on everyones faces and I couldn’t wait to get stuck in! I went and obtained my press pass and was soon set lose on the venue, like a kid in a toy shop I wanted to view everything immediately.
So they were quite a few companies with a presence this year and the PlayStation booth pretty much had it all. Plenty of games to play, plenty of prizes to be won and some employees with a clear passion for gaming. Lets go through what PlayStation had on show.
The main event for PlayStation was off course Spider-Man, the web slinging hero was there in force with a whole booth section of people being able to play the beta and one huge screen where people are picked out of the crowd to play in front of everyone else to win a Spider-Man t-shirt. They was a nice statue of the hero perched upon a skylight to get some nice photos of. Since the only reason I got a PS4 was for this game I decided I had to have a go so jumped in the queue. The very first thing I did once on the game was jump into the river to see whether he could swim… low and behold he can! I had a good swing about the city and felt impressed with how fluid it felt, don’t get me wrong they were some frustrating things like when you hit a building and he did nothing but I figured that’s just the type of thing that happens with things like that, like Assassins Creed for example. The combat is really where the game shines in my opinion, its not easy.. far from it. It is pretty much the same as playing the Batman series games and I loved that series! At the end of the day, yes hes a super hero but he can still be killed by a bullet so as you expect fighting goons is easy until they pull out the assault rifle or rocket launcher.
Spider-Man is now out world wide and it has positive reviews all around. The PlayStation community are screaming game of the year for it. Pick up a copy and have a go, you wont be disappointed!
PlayStation has a nice little indie games section right next to the Spider-Man section but I dont think it was a part of Sony’s section. They were some really fun games in this section but the main one I could not pull myself away from was Strange Brigade. This game has a comic book cartoon style and follows a group of acriologist heroes called the Strange Brigade. The game is based on an evil undead women who has raised armies of the dead to try and take over the world. The game is so enjoyable! Each hero has its own abilities and amulet powers, hidden throughout each level they is plenty of treasure to find and cat statues to destroy. The main thing that stood out for me in this game was the narrator, with witty lines and constant narration on the game play it made me laugh. I actually preordered the game after playing at Insomnia and now enjoy it with my friends, its a blast!
Okay so just to say, Fortnite was absolutely everywhere! Its main presence was at the Playstation stage where the game was on 3 huge monitors and players were picked from the crowd to hit the Victory Royale, all day t-shirts where thrown into the crowd for every kill. The stage was just crowded by people aged 8-14 which is understandable considering that is the games main target audience. The crowd could be heard all over the insomnia hall throughout the entire day, they were complaints put in by pretty much everyone especially the VR section at PlayStation as it made it hard to play the games. Still, you can’t blame them for enjoying the global phenomenon. I decided not to have a go since I was older than most of the players added together!
Off course no gaming conventiion is complete without a VR section now-a-days and PlayStation decided to show off their VR. The section was right next to the Fortnite stage and they had multiple VR games to show, you just queue up and let them know what you want to play. The game I played was called Firewall Zero Hour, its a squad shooter pitting 2 teams against each other. The premise of the game was very enjoyable but you were pretty much just thrown in without being able to understand the controls. Problems were faced instantly with this game but mainly just typically problems that VR faces such as calibration issues. It was still enjoyable to some extent.
The other huge gaming company there was Nintendo. They seemed to make a huge weekend out of things but I didn’t get much chance to see what was on offer. They was a huge tournament stage where teams were competing with different games throughout the weekend and I did get chance to see some of the Pokken gameplay which looked electric! Whenever I was around the Nintendo area however you could feel a buzz in the air, people of many different ages enjoying the games there on Switch and competing with each other. It was the perfect symbol of what Nintendo stands for. Other than the tournament Nintendo just had plenty of booths showing off the latest Nintendo games and to be quite honest they were always so busy I could never find one to try anything.
As expected Ubisoft had a slight presence at the convention. They had a few things on show with a booth squeezed between PlayStation and Nintendo. They was a Division 2 booth which I did not get chance to go in and play as they closed this early.
Just Dance World Qualifiers
The biggest thing Ubisoft had going off was a big stage with Just Dance on it, people were able to go up and compete on 3 different songs and the ones with the highest scores were able to qualify for the world cup which I didn’t even know existed but seemed pretty cool. The only slight problem with this was that by the end of a few hours there you got so sick of hearing the same songs over and over again! I feel for the booths right next to the stage! However people seemed to have a lot of fun dancing in front of everyone and they were plenty of smiles around.
It wouldn’t be a Ubisoft booth without some Assassins Creed. They was a secret tent which you qued up next to and you were allowed to go in and play the game for 10 minutes. The game consists of 2 heroes, 1 male and 1 female however you were advised to pick the male since, for the demo, he was leveled up meaning you could take enemies on. Playing the game it felt just like its previous title which was really enjoyable in terms of moving around and exploring the map. I did however spend most of the demo trying to kill 1 guy that kept killing because much like Origins the combat system was completely rewritten to what I am used to. They is a huge learning curve with the combat system especially when you’re used to playing the other games. Nether the less the game seems like a hell of a world to explore.
The very first thing I noticed once I walked into the hall was a huge area designated to PUBG, after inquiring I found out it was a LAN of 100 PC’s to enable a full game of PUBG. This looked amazing! Everyone was in costume to really add to the experience, the area was within a huge cargo plane identically to the one you drop out off in the game. They was a front desk where you collected your ticket to be able to play and the staff were dressed up as either pilots or air hostesses and to top it off the tickets for your time to play were designed like a boarding pass for a plane. This was the first time I had played PUBG on the PC as Xbox is my usual gaming outlet but god was it good fun, whilst that chicken dinner eluded me it was still a barrel of laughs. Despite the negativity that PUBG has received recently it was nice to see hundreds of people enjoying it in the same place, it made me think I would love to be involved in some e-sports for it.
The main thing that I think needs talking about at these conventions is the indie developers. I spoke to a few of the developers there and the thing that really made me smile was hearing the passion they have for the games they have made, I made it an objective to speak about each game that was in the indie zone and hear about the journey they have made to get to where they are now. The tireless nights and endless grafting behind a computer, its no wonder there immensely proud of what they have made. They were plenty of enjoyable games to play and the video below outlines just a few.
All in all, I very much enjoyed my experience at Insomnia, you can feel the passion in the atmosphere and who wouldn’t want to be involve with that? If you’re teetering on the fence of attending the next Insomnia my verdict is to absolutely go for it! Let me know you’re opinion in the comments below or on our forums here!
You can catch our coverage from i63 here