After 5 EGX’s and 2 Rezzed(‘s?) I thought I was getting the hang of exhibition events. It’s a little like another dimension, where everyone around you is pretty damn awesome and everything to buy is pretty damn awesome and everyone you talk to….etc etc. Like a music festival, everyone singing along and strangers coming over to talk (that’s normal in this dimension by the way, not in the real world) so do the bodies around you, with their different tastes of genre and their own lyrics to shout. This was different from my other experience though; not only because of my first time to Insomnia, but as an “exhibitor”.
About two years ago I made the life decision of journeying into the industry as a career rather than continue as a fanatic observer. Kim, now writing for laterlevels.com, allowed me into her world of article creation and was my first introduction to SpecialEffect as she was a volunteer. After speaking with the volunteers who were at this years’ Rezzed, I had the opportunity to support a really worthwhile cause that I related to and it was incredible to see the support from all the attendees as they walked by and played the demos we had on offer; chin-controlled Overcooked and eye-controlled Forza. If you’re going to an upcoming event, have a go yourself as both are pretty addictive but show how even those with some of the most difficult of disabilities can still access gaming through the charity.
If you haven’t been before, the exhibition side of the event has been a fairly recent addition. Insomnia originally (and still does!) includes the opportunity to set up camp inside and bring your own PC (or rent a decent one) for the whole Bank Holiday weekend to play games sitting next to friends and family while meeting loads of other like-minded people. Growing up in the generation where that was the ONLY way to play together whether that was LAN connecting some XBOX’s or running Unreal Tournament over a local network (we did that at school once) it was a communal thing and something I still do to this day, albeit very rarely. There’s something about gaming with a friend who’s right next to you which makes the experience completely different, with maybe a little nostalgia for good measure.
The 5 hour trek home on the Sunday certainly stoked the fires. It felt like “home” where I could completely be myself; a rarity at times with work and family. People I hope to meet again the wonderfully polite guys over at X-ROCKER CHAIRS who donated one to the charity – they’re super comfy by the way #proudowner – the ESports awards team who popped over to say hi a few times throughout the event and HUGS.TF who returned a flag! Below sums up the feeling a bit and shows the good vibes that SpecialEffect bring out of people. It’s proof that gaming is social, it’s an open and welcoming community and I’m gonna be back with a vengeance!