Despite dropping 8 inches of snow over the weekend, the unseasonable weather did nothing to dampen the spirits of punters attending the Spring iSeries.
Multiplay Insmonia is the UK’s biggest gaming festival. It takes place three times a year during Winter, Spring and Summer at the International Conference Centre in Telford. i48 attracted hundreds of gamers through it’s doors for two and a half days of no scoping, raid forming and team ganking.
It is not uncommon for game developers to preview their games at iSeries and i48 stayed true to form. In the Exhibition Hall
Gamers got hands-on with Injustice: Gods Among Us on 4 gaming machines and 2 gaming pods weeks before it was released. Shootmania had recently left Beta development before i48, yet it was already receiving a lot of attention from the eSports community. The online FPS was showcased at i48 through an open play area. Shootmania held 3v3 and 1v1 tournaments throughout the weekend where the winners could win up to £600. Team Dignitas won the 3v3 final three games to nothing against Team Infused.
The Retro Zone was perhaps my favourite spot at iSeries. Here was virtually every console that had ever existed, ready and willing to play. It is a major nostalgiafest and great fun too!
In the comfort of their own desks, Bring Your Own Computer (BYOC) and Turn Up and Play (TUP) ticket holders could game to their heart’s content for the entire event. Amongst the stacks of pizza boxes and man smell, gaming-induced insomniacs filled the i48 gaming hall forming the heart of every iSeries. The immense size of the gaming hall meant that it could play host to hundreds of gamers. Spring and Winter iSeries tend to be much smaller than the Summer iSeries for the simple fact that attendees are more likely to have time off.
Attendants were on hand to provide technical support around the clock. Gamers in need of refueling could even order pizza for delivery straight to their desk. However, you are hereby warned that these delicious treats are expensive (£5 for a 9” pizza) so bring loads of money. If you fancy, there is an Asda along with a McDonalds in the shopping centre that you could use to stock up on food and other essentials.
Insomnia gives you the chance to completely immerse yourself in three to four days of gaming. The reason people attend Insomnia and return again and again is to have a good time with friends and make new ones. There is an incredible social atmosphere unlike any other event you will attend. Gamers rarely attend for the big money prize tournaments but more for Insomnia’s main events; the pub quiz and boat race. I met one iSeries veteran who has attended virtually every iSeries since i3! Insomnia is a gaming event which maintains an element of eSports, but is strongly focused on bringing the gaming community together for a good time.
Despite the expansive size of Insomnia everything maintained a relative vicinity. One moment you could be playing Time Crisis 2 (my fifth favourite arcade game) and a second later watching an adrenaline filled Black Ops 2 tournament. There is so much for gamers to do that your only worry will be how much time you have left before it’s all over. In this sense the event offers excellent value for money even as a spectator on a weekend pass. See the table below for the gamer and spectator passes.
|BYOC||£73.60||Unlimited access – Bring own console/pc|
|TUP||£55||Weekend + Ad-Hoc access to TUP machines, TUP tourns. entry|
|Spectator Weekend||£25||Day + Camping, 24/7 Gaming Hall Access|
|Spectator Day||£10||F2P tourns. entry and Exhibition Hall Access|
Group discounts are available for BYOC and TUP tickets.
Your options for where you stay while in Telford are wide and can fit any budget. Camping is included with Weekend Spectator passes and above but Insomnia also offers an ‘Indoor Resting Area’. The Indoor Resting Area does not include a mattress so you will have to bring your own. See the table below some accommodation options.
|Hotels||£55.60 – £65.55|
|Camping||Included in ticket|
|Sleeping Area||£10||Popular, book early and bring inflatable bed|
|Uni Accomodation||£21.85 + VAT||Shuttle bus runs every half hour|
Travelling from London via train? There is a service from London Euston to Birmingham New Street via Virgin Trains that takes around an hour and a half. There is Wi-Fi available on the train for £5 but I got away with using my iPhone as a personal hotspot. Birmingham New Street to Telford Central via London Midland takes 40 minutes. The International Centre is just a 10 minute walk away from the Telford Station through the shopping centre. Ticketline offer a return ticket for £52.80 when bought a couple of weeks in advance. This is around a 50% discount compared to buying the day before. You can print your tickets in the Euston ticket hall which has plenty of ticket machines.
In summary, Insomnia is an incredible event with a genuine community atmosphere. Despite being expensive at times you can easily cut costs by car pooling with mates, shopping at Asda before arriving and dusting off that tent for some good old fashioned camping. If this is what iSeries looks like in the Spring then I can’t wait for i49 this Summer.
A massive thanks to Multiplay (and more specifically Alexis) for giving us access to the event.
i49 takes place on the 23rd to the 26th August 2013. Velocity Gaming will be there. Will you?
Grab your ticket now by clicking here to take advantage of the early bird discount on BYOC tickets.