Billed as the UK’s biggest gaming festival, Insomnia 61 is a haven for gaming and tech enthusiasts. Stretching out over four days at the end of August, Insomnia 61 offers visitors the chance to check out the latest releases and previews, watch some competitive gaming or even meet their favourite YouTube personalities.
With several halls of the NEC venue in Birmingham absolutely packed out, there’s plenty of games, new technology, merch and more to go around.
We were lucky enough to visit over the weekend and managed to get some time with a couple of blockbuster titles including Call of Duty: WW2, Project Cars 2 and Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle, although the bulk of our time was split between the Indie Zone and trying to get a seat at the Smash Bros Melee table.
If you couldn’t manage to make it, we’ve brought together a few of our best bits below. Enjoy!
Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle (and the Nintendo stand in general)
Probably the biggest surprise of the festival was how much I enjoyed playing a turn-based strategy game involving Rabbids. It was great to see people of all ages enjoying the game, with the cutesy visual appeal masking a game with surprising strategic depth. You can find a review roundup of the game here.
Nintendo’s presence in general was excellent, a refreshing change to the complete lack of any real marketing or presence that occurred during the WiiU years. With top shelf games like Super Mario Odyssey and Splatoon 2 crammed right next to excitable groups taking part in impromptu Mario Kart tournaments, it really embraced the ‘party’ atmosphere that the Switch has built itself on.
Plus, I never knew I wanted a lifesize Rabbid Mario statue until now.
Robot Wars is my guilty pleasure. I love the fact it’s mostly lawnmowers stripped down and rebuilt to be offensive weapons. I love hearing Jonathan Pearce scream about how Sir Killalot can crush solid steel. I am Craig Charles’ leather coat. Imagine my delight then when I hear an almighty crack and turn to see bits of some poor bloke’s weekend project go smashing against the perspex cage like shrapnel.
Insomnia 61 featured a number of tech showcases for enthusiasts and casuals alike, the main two being Drone Racing and this take on Robot Wars. While I didn’t manage to catch it all, it was a welcome alternative for an event that is primarily all about the vidya games.
My first discovery in the Indie Zone and probably my favourite overall. Jarheads is a squad-based tactical shooter developed by Gareth Williams, a modern refresh of Cannon Fodder with lovely voxel-based destruction.
It’s fast-paced and bloody, as you move your four soldiers through a map shooting enemies and blowing up everything in your path.
I absolutely love this style of game and the use of the voxel engine is great, especially when you finally get your hands on the ultra satisfying rocket launcher. Currently in open-alpha and set to feature over 50 single-player missions as well as co-op play and multiplayer, this is one to watch.
The sheer size of the Bring Your Own Computer (BYOC) area
Look at it. Look how many people are crammed in there doing all the good LAN stuff. I felt a little bit left out to tell the truth. (Photo courtesy of Insomnia Gaming Festival)
My initial interaction with Blockships was that moment when you walk past a stand and there’s one controller left but you’re not sure whether to jump in. I’m glad I did. Described by the creator as the ‘illegitimate love child of Space Invaders and Tetris’, Blockships is a great idea and potentially a couch multiplayer classic.
Four players start off in opposing corners of an arena filled with spaceship parts and race to build a ship and be the last one standing. You can choose from boosters (which increase your speed), engines (which are vital for powering your ship as you collect more block parts) and guns (which help you wipe out the opposition). Your ship can take on any shape depending on what you collect, making for some frantic improvisation as you dodge bullets to collect that extra engine part you desperately need.
Probably the most polished of all the indie games I played at Insomnia, Elevate is a weird one. It’s a game about getting the neutral ball in the middle of the field and firing it through your opponents goal. Also, everyone has guns and can terraform the stadium at will, which complicates things slightly.
If you’ve played Halo’s Oddball or the Uplink game mode of the most recent Call of Duty titles, you’ve got the core of what Elevate is about. What seperates it is the abilities that can be deployed by each player.
It’s a game that I could see taking off, reminiscent of the first time I played Rocket League. With the potential for a very high skill ceiling and the ease with which it could become an eSport, this is my top pick of the Indie Zone this year.
It might seem redundant to go to a gaming festival full of new titles and then end up playing the N64 but that’s what makes the Retro Zone so great.
As one of the fan-favourite features of Insomnia 61, I always take some time out to check the selection of old-school games on offer. From the rhythm section filled with Donkey Kong Jungle Beat and Rock Band to the old school platformers of the NES and Mega Drive, it’s great to take some time out to re-discover a classic, if only briefly.
Call of Duty: WW2
It’s Call of Duty without jetpacks and perks so if you like being grounded and you like the M1 Garand, you’ll enjoy this.
The Tabletop Zone
Another area of the festival that is continuing to grow is the Tabletop Zone, where you can find anything from collectible card games to people playing Risk.
If you’re a fan of board games, collecting trading cards or painting miniatures, this area is either heaven or where your bank balance goes to die. Probably a bit of both. (Photo courtesy of Insomnia Gaming Festival)
Transylvania Comic Con kicks off in exactly two weeks
In exactly two weeks, an epic journey will start in the heart of Transylvania for all those who love comics, games, and movies. The Transylvania Comic Con starts on October 18 and invites all participants to enjoy a three-day event where they will get to unleash their imagination at the cosplay contest, meet their favorite actors at the photo ops and photographs sessions, or find out interesting things at the panels hosted by the event. Great fun is granted even for those who would just like to take a look at the ComicCon and do some shopping of really cool items or snap some pictures with famous props, such as the Iron Throne.
The Transylvania Comic Con will take place in the heart of Transylvania, at the BT Arena in Cluj-Napoca. The event starts on Friday, October 18 at 4 P.M and lasts until Sunday, October 20. The stage hosts’ roles will be filled by Maria Muller and Ken Huegel. Some of the celebrities invited to the event are ‘Vikings’ and ‘Hunger Games’ star Alexander Ludwig, Kevin McNally Pirate of the Caribbean, ‘Spartacus’, ‘Arrow’, and ‘Shanarra’ star Manu Bennet, Rick Cosnett, from ‘The Vampire Diaries’, ‘Stargate Atlantis’ star David Nykl, and Roger Ashton- Griffiths, who played Mace Tyrell in Game of Thrones. Cosplay enthusiasts will get to see Daisy Cosplay and Imriel Cosplay.
Transylvania Comic Con will also welcome three featured artists and a Cosplay Guest, who wasn’t announced yet. The schedule is not public yet, and the timetable is subject to change, however, on October 5 participants will get the first glimpse at the program, from where they will find out more about the guests of the event. What we already know is that Transylvania Comic Con will host cosplay competitions on Saturday and Sunday. The General Cosplay Competition hosted on Saturday targets solo cosplay enthusiasts only, while on Sunday groups will get the chance to show off their costumes. This is also the day of the qualifiers for the international cosplay competition Clara Cow Cosplay Cup.
Tickets for the Transylvania Comic Con are still available for purchase, except for the VIP 3 Days Tickets, which are all sold out. The rules for participants and the tickets can all be found on the event’s homepage, here. It will definitely be an epic event, so we hope to see you there!
Less than three weeks to go until Transylvania ComicCon
The countdown has begun. There are less than three weeks until Transylvania ComicCon kicks off. The three-day event will take place in the heart of Transylvania, in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, between 18 October and 20 October at the BT Arena. Those who will attend the event will get to meet some really cool guests and can participate in numerous activities, all of which are going to be amazingly fun. The schedule of the event won’t be available for another couple of days, however, the majority of guests are known.
Transylvania ComicCon will welcome some beloved actors, such as Alexander Ludwig, Kevin McNally, Manu Bennett, Rick Cosnett, David Nykl, and Roger Ashton- Griffiths. The event will be hosted by Maria Muller and Ken Huegel, and the YouTubers/ streamers of the Transylvania ComicCon will be Cluj-Napoca’s own Creative Monkeyz. It is not yet clear who the featured artists will be, but this should become known on October 5th, when the event’s schedule will become available on the website.
Besides having photo ops and autograph sessions with the aforementioned guests, participants will also be able to show off their imagination and skills at the cosplay contests. The solo General Cosplay Competition starts on October 19 from 13:00. The group competition starts on Sunday, also at 13:00. At the same time, the qualifiers for the international cosplay competition Clara Cow Cosplay Cup will start. Other activities participants can attend at the Transylvania ComicCon include panels, and props& booths. Naturally, there will be an artists’ alley, a gaming area, and a shopping area too.
The entry fee for the Transylvania ComicCon is really affordable. Those who want to have a photo op and get the autograph of Kevin McNally or Roger Ashton-Griffiths have to pay less than 15 Euros for the treat. The VIP three-day tickets cost less than 100 Euros, while one-day entry fees are as low as 10 Euros. These prices may be incredibly low but the level of fun will go incredibly high at the Transylvania ComicCon. Check out the event and all it has to offer here.
The 5 best MMORPG games you can play right now
Let’s travel back to 2000s. Can you remember the time when MMORPG genre popped up out of nowhere? Early genre games such as Everquest, World of Warcraft or Guild Wars were considered to be the prophets of the new age of PC gaming. MMORPGs or Massively Multiplayer Role-Playing Games have been considered the most gratifying, rewarding, immersive, and time-soaking games out there. However, as time went by, only a handful of MMORPGs managed to secure their communities and stay a little while longer.
So today we’re talking some time (and internet space), introducing the very best games of the MMORPG genre. Some of these games are old and can brag about their long history while some of them are fairly fresh inviting fans of the genre to explore seemingly unending content. Most importantly – all of these games are alive and will grant you hundreds of hours of joy.
- The Elder Scrolls Online
We begin our list with the youngest of the bunch. ZeniMax Online Studios creation, The Elder Scrolls Online is set in the magical continent of Tamriel which will be familiar to the fans of TES franchise. The game’s storyline is indirectly related to other games of the franchise; however, the game is set way far back before the events of Oblivion, or Skyrim. Currently the game has two expansions: The Morrowind and the Summerset, however, the developers have promised a third expansion The Elder Scrolls Online: Elsweyr which is coming out on June 4, 2019.
- Final Fantasy XIV
Final Fantasy XIV is developed and published by Square Enix. First released back in 2013 the game quickly became a hit among many MMORPG genre fans across PC and PlayStation communities. It has tons of great content which is keep on coming even to this day. Recently Square Enix has announced yet another game expansion titled Shadowbringers which will bring a variety of new dungeons and include yet another playable race: the rabbit-like Viera, already known to the fans of Final Fantasy XII. The game will also increase its level cap from 70 to 80 and introduce a number of new zones to explore.
- Guild Wars 2
This ArenaNet MMORPG game certainly deserves a spotlight in our list. Guild Wars 2 is an attractive piece because of its ever-living world structure which captivates players with multiple quests, continuing storyline, and rewarding gameplay mechanics. The game is also considered among the best MMORPGs because of its freedom and versatility when it comes to personalization. You can literally create, augment, and specialize your character in such a way that it would be exceptionally unique to your preferred playstyle.
RuneScape is the oldest game on our list, however, it carries the very same explorer’s spirit within. It’s safe to assume that if you’re interested in MMORPG genre you’ve tried this game already at a certain point in time. We can still remember the wood chopping, fire making, and fishing activities which required hours upon hours of discipline, and we also remember how much joy did that provide. And it still does if you’re patient enough. That’s why it secured a spot on our list!
- World of Warcraft
No MMORPG games list would be complete without the king of the genre. It has been over 14 years since Blizzard released World of Warcraft. The game was a phenomenal success and became one of the most iconic titles of all time. World of Warcraft is even included in the video game Hall of Fame and there are plenty of reasons why. Even today the game is huge and has millions of players logging in to play it every month. Throughout its history World of Warcraft has seen 7 major game expansions with tons of great content to explore. Furthermore, Blizzard is planning to release a Classic version of the game sometime this summer which means that the king of MMORPGs can be entering its second lifecycle. If you’ve never played – we do recommend you give it a try.
While some of these games can be played for free, some will require you to purchase certain expansions (or game time). On Eneba Marketplace you’ll find everything you need in order to start your new MMORPG adventure!
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