Once the Vlogging Stops: Insomnia60 MY EXPERIENCE

Good morning again readers, welcome to today’s second blog post: as promised in my review of ‘The Cure’ by Lady Gaga (which can be found here) I am going to be discussing my experience at yesterday’s Insomnia60 Gaming Festival.

As I believe in fairness I am going to be discussing all the positives and the negatives of the event, I’m expecting this post to be quite a long one so I’ll include a read more link below, however I do recommend reading because it’s going to be good and will definitely be quite eye-opening to some readers.

Okay so I just want to begin by thanking the kind people at Multiplay Events for granting me a press pass and allowing me to attend and enjoy the event, there were no major conditions for the press pass meaning that I have the freedom to be completely honest and unbiased. On the unlikely event that anyone from Multiplay reads this I hope you enjoy it and consider me for a press pass for Insomnia61, as I am very much interested.

The Venue

NECLOGO
Exterior of the NEC Birmingham – Photo retrieved via Creative Commons, all rights reserved for the rightful owners no copyright infringement intended.

For those unaware the event took place at the NEC in Birmingham, UK. The venue as a whole was very nice: lots to see and do and plenty of places to eat, drink etc. For those travelling from outside of Birmingham the venue is very accessible: there is a free monorail in operation between Birmingham Airport and the NEC (these run every 2 minutes and are very efficient).

The Staff

I’ve had several different types of communication with Insomnia and Multiplay staff over the last few weeks and all have been pleasant: prior to the event the Multiplay team who deal with the press did their job superbly and cannot be faulted, same goes to the “Volunteers” on hand throughout the event. Whenever I had a query they were always tremendously helpful and in the event that they didn’t have the information I required they were quick to find it, again cannot be faulted.

However, staff from the NEC…now thats a different story: I don’t know whether or not people from Birmingham don’t like Scouser’s because throughout the day I felt like I was often being judged by the staff employed directly by the NEC. An example that sticks in my mind in particular was my exchange with one of the stewards (an older gentleman) running the queue for the 13:30 ‘Insomnia Show’, the exchange went like so:

Me: “Hi, what’s this queue for?”

Steward: “The half-one insomnia show”

Me: “Oh alright! Do you happen to know how long it’s on for?”

Steward: “I don’t know, about forty-five minutes but thats all the information I’ve been given”

Me: “Okay, it’s just I’ve got an interview planned at—-“

Steward -interrupting-: “THAT’S ALL THE INFORMATION I’VE BEEN GIVEN!”

Me: “That’s fine…I was just going to ask whether or not you can leave early?..”

Steward: “You’re not being held captive”

Me: “Right…”

Honestly it was at this point that I realised why members of the press aren’t given lanyards by the event organisers: subtly, if this man knew I had the intention on writing an in-depth report on the event I highly doubt he’d have spoken to me in such a manner, but if that’s how staff are treating paying customers well then I think the NEC needs to take a good look at themselves.

The Shows

Insomnia60 hosted two MainStage shows: ‘Awaken: an interactive AI experience’ and ‘The Insomnia Show’. My favourite of the two has got to be ‘Awaken’: without spoiling too much ‘Awaken’ is an audience participation show which showcases a brand new artificial intelligence.

‘The Insomnia Show’ takes the form of a short talk-show in which three big YouTubers take the stage and are interviewed by an in-house presenter. My little brother, Daniel, really enjoyed this show as he is a big fan of YouTubers (in particular Syndicate who was a guest).

The Exhibitions

I can’t really talk much about the exhibitions because the lines were too big (I asked whether or not there was a press line but unfortunately there wasn’t) so I didn’t get to try many games or attend any meet and greets. However I did have an interview session planned with ‘Coatsink’ and were given the opportunity to sample their new game ‘Shu’ (I will be writing another blog post soon all about my experience with the ‘Coatsink’ team) which was very fun.

Okay…so, now that I’ve discussed all the good parts about the event, let’s “spill some tea” as the old saying goes and expose some of the barbaric behaviour I observed in the press room….

Overheard in the Press Room

Okay so, for those unaware Insomnia (and most events) provide a “Press Room”, pretty self-explanatory: a designated room that members of the press (and VIP’s) are free to use during the event.

The press room at this event wasn’t nothing spectacular: an unused office with some chairs and couches, however it wasn’t WHAT was in the room but WHO that is of interest here.

The exchanges I overheard which will be discussed below are what triggered this very flattering selfie directly from my snapchat:

IMG_2177.jpg

I’m not going to directly name and shame these people because I don’t want them to benefit from the “Controversy Promo“: BUT, what I will say is if you were in the press room between the hours of 16:15 (quarter past 4) and 16:30 (half 4) and are a popular British, male YouTuber well this is about you and your “friends”…

The “leader” of this YouTube “wolf-pack” was highly infamous and like I said I’m not going to directly name him BUT here’s an anagram: “typomarhagjeer” (risky?…he won’t be reading this so it’s fine).

This YouTube lad pack were talking about women and girls in such a way that I felt physically uncomfortable in the room (which shouldn’t have happened as I had more of a right to be in there than anyone else), if anything these YouTuber’s need to learn to respect women and it’s quite scary to see people believe that their “status” (generated only via some subscribers on a website) means that they are completely desirable and invincible. Believe me when I say: they were actually using their subscriber count as a way to spark the interest of girls.

Everyone knows that the Cosplay community is strong within Insomnia (there is even a dedicated Cosplay parade to showcase the art) and another discussion that these YouTubers were discussing in the press room was about the cosplay community: “Imagine being thirty, coming to this event dressed as Darth Vader holding two lightsabers” (a direct quote from the “leader”).

Like I expected it would be, the YouTube game is highly fake: within this “wolf-pack” were two YouTubers who, on camera, appear to hate each other (there has been “YouTube drama” between these people but in real life they’re being best friends), so next time you hear about “YouTube Drama” just remember: you don’t know what happens when the cameras go off.

Jealousy is another thing that happened: the main members of the “wolf-pack” all decided to leave the press room to attend a meet and greet being held by a big YouTuber for the sheer fact of proving: “everyone in that line will know who we are”.

Throughout these fifteen minutes I overheard and witnessed behaviour that I never expected to see: the term “Trump in the locker room” came to mind, I wasn’t seen as a person of interest to these people because this was my first YouTube-style event I wasn’t known to the vlogging community and thus was left to my observations in peace.

One final observation I saw was that they were going through the pages of fellow YouTubers and comparing them to themselves solely on the number of subscribers they have and not on the quality of their content.

They event went as far as shading other YouTubers, in an exchange about about a female youtuber: Claudia Naya the following was said: “isn’t she only big because of the Saffron stuff?”.

This post may appear to be “shady” but I believe these sorts of observations need to be brought to public light because the majority of people who watch vloggers religiously are girls and to hear those in a popular position act in this way was shocking.

So there we have my lowdown on Insomnia60, don’t get me wrong I did really enjoy the event and would love for the opportunity to attend i61 but some aspects were completely eye-opening into how YouTubers are off camera and if this post makes people aware of that before they idolise these people then I’ve done my job correctly.

Until next time: stay safe, be happy and keep on jamming!!

-Mikey

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