Insomnia 2019: Gaming Paradise


The Entertainment Team went to the Insomnia Gaming Festival this year in Dublin and Entertainment Editor Andrew Burke shares his thoughts.

The Insomnia Gaming Festival made its return to Dublin this year on the 9th-10th November. Our Editor-in-Chief, Dan Webb, and I had the pleasure of attending. While conventions like Dublin Comic Con cater to a wide variety of nerdy things and always has something for everyone, Insomnia focuses on a personal love of mine: gaming. 

All over the venue, there were video games in sight. It was exciting to see the amount of games that were playable. There was a dedicated retro corner with our favourite games on the SNES and Sega Genesis such as Mario Kart and Mortal Kombat. There were even arcade machines for people to play classics like Donkey Kong. Playing these retro games together was nostalgic and great fun.

Alongside the retro area, there were multiple PCs that had Fortnite playable on them. It was easily the biggest section in the venue besides the stage. It looked like there was nearly enough PCs to fill an entire lobby of 100 players. There were also tournaments that people could compete in, mainly Super Smash Bros Ultimate, Rocket League, Overwatch and Fifa 20

A surprise to see was that one of the biggest gaming companies, Ubisoft, were at Insomnia with a special playable showcase of their newest game to the Tom Clancy franchise, Ghost Recon Breakpoint. I was glad to see a triple A studio recognise their massive following here in Ireland and give back to the community.

The were a massive range of games available in virtual reality. It is amazing to see such a push for VR to be brought into the mainstream. I feel it is important to show people how fun and accessible it can be. I even saw HTC/Valve had a showcase of their Vive headset that you could try out. I myself played two games of Beatsaber, which is basically Guitar Hero but in VR. I’m sure I looked very silly waving my hands around frantically, but I had an absolute blast playing it!

Of course with every convention, there are special guests and this year was certainly no different. Guests included John Romero, who is famous for creating games such as Doom, Quake and Wolfenstein, and a wide variety of Youtubers, such as Pyrocynical from the UK, RTgames from Dublin and Call Me Kevin, Cork’s biggest YouTuber and someone I was very excited to finally meet. All guests had a connection to video games, whether they made them and/or played them. 

Finally, there is the most important part of a convention – the people who attended. While there was a primarily younger audience, it was a place welcoming to and filled with all ages. There were multiple stalls that contained well made fan-art and hand-made merchandise of people’s favourite gaming franchises. My favourite purchase was a mini lego set with instructions to build a lego Snorlax from Pokémon. And of course, there are the cosplayers. Our highlights included Reaper from Overwatch and a Jawa from Star Wars, who took Dan’s phone when we tried to get a photo and attempted to pawn it off to random attendees. It took some convincing, but we managed to get it back!

It is always heartwarming to see a space for gamers in Ireland to congregate and share our love of the world of video games, and it was fantastic to see the gaming industry giving back. The Motley Entertainment team had an absolute blast at Insomnia and can’t wait to go again next year! Thank you to the team over at Insomnia for inviting us.