Sup Earthlings, it’s your friendly community gal StevieSG...
When we thought about growing the Insomnia community, we decided to go about it in a different way to just ‘lets put up some posters and see what happens’. We decided, it was time... to be snobby.
Yes thats right, we decided to think about the kind of people who would enjoy LAN, and go after them, and not the normal PC enthusiasts and friends of lanners. We wanted to find people who ‘might’ enjoy LAN, and say ‘Hey, you like all that stuff, I bet you’d like this’. So we decided to put together the Insomnia Gaming Lounge. A snippet of LAN, a travelling version of Insomnia Gaming Festival filled with the games we love, and the people of LAN who could go and chat and game with new people around the UK and beyond and tell them all about Insomnia.
So where should we go to first?
It’s no secret that the world of gaming has always been obsessed with Scifi. From Space Marines to Portals, as soon as game designers realized they could create the imaginary, the first thing they played with was physics. Physics soon turned into Space Invaders and in a blink of an eye the gaming world was full of imaginary weapons, strange planets full of lasers and moving levels and massive Mechs fighting each other for supremacy. When the dudes from Scifi Weekender contacted us about running a ticket giveaway for their show. It was almost a no brainer.
“Can.. can we come to your show?”
As soon as we knew Scifi weekender wanted us, we immediately got to work planning the roadshow. We filled our new (still unnamed) van up with racing rigs, awesome Mad Catz peripherals and swag from 2K Games and set off on the 6 hour drive to Wales. As soon as we set up, the crowds poured in in their hundreds, most dressed in awesome Scifi costumes and lots interested in gaming. We even had some Insomnia regulars turn up. Points for guessing who the Pinhead is below!
“Can I leave my kid here?”
We decided it would be fun to run Minecraft on some of our PC’s. All of a sudden we had 6 children on every machine. Now, although they were incredibly adorable (I may have tried to steal one) it was also a little bit scary.. firstly because we were trying to grow our Lanning Community (which is mostly 16+) and most of the tiddlers will not be of lanning age for years, and secondly because a lot of their parents seemed to want to leave them with us! A quick rejig of the setup put Rush and Trackmania on the PC’s and Guitar Hero and Star Wars on the Kinect. This meant that parents tended to want to stick around to take pictures of their kids, freeing up some of the PC’s for older gamers. I will say one more thing about us making first contact with gamers under the age of 10. They are incredibly passionate about their games, and know Minecraft better than most adults who sat down to have a go. The next 10 years for Insomnia will be bright when these kids are of age to come and worship at the LAN tree!
Joining The Dark Side
Whilst I could go on about different games for ages, there was one thing that really made the event stand out from all the others: the Scifi Community are amazing, hilarious, creative and incredibly great at cosplay. There were also various homages to gaming characters around the halls, including Halo characters, Mario’s and a team from Portal, so it is obvious there is room for the two communitys to merge. There were some magical moments where we had Jedi teaching kids how to play Star Wars on the Kinect and Darth Vader commanding his TK’s to ‘teabag’ my Street Fighter opponent and screaming “NOOOOOOOoooo” when I lost. There were also some awesome dudes who hung around on Guitar Hero for ages and saw us home on the end of day one with an incredibly loud rendition of “Bohemian Rhapsody” which even had famous author Robert Rankin headbanging.
The future, is ours...
So what’s next for Insomnia Gaming Lounge? Well, I’d have to say the first go at it was a success, so stay tuned for where it will turn up next (wed welcome and ideas and suggestions). We met some awesome new people who seem really excited about coming to Insomnia, and recruited at least one or two new Red Shirts ..
Do they make Red Shirts in kids sizes? I’m sure they’d help out on the Ice Cream machine...
You can check out my first IGL Vlog here:
May the force be with you,
For more pictures of our SciFi adventure, please check out our gallery on Facebook.