Top 5 things to do at Insomnia 65

by Joe O'Brien


In partnership with Insomnia 65 – for more information and to buy tickets, go here.

Insomnia is the UK’s largest gaming festival, and on August 23-26 it returns to the Birmingham NEC for i65.

Thousands of gamers will descend on the NEC for a four-day fusion of gaming, esports, cosplay, and much more.

Insomnia offers a huge variety of activities and experiences, so to help you figure out where your priorities lie and plan your trip, we’ve picked out some of the most interesting options for anyone attending.

1. Explore the Expo

While many will attend i65 with the intention of playing games they’re already familiar with, the Expo will offer a chance to get hands-on with some major upcoming releases.

Nintendo will be offering attendees the chance to try out the next installations in the Pokémon series, Sword and Shield, as well as the Switch remaster of classic Legend of Zelda game Link’s Awakening, among other games.

Meanwhile, PlayStation’s showing will include FIFA 20 and PlayStation VR, while the much-anticipated Borderlands 3 will also be playable alongside a variety of other titles.

Borderlands 3 will be playable at i65 along with a variety of other upcoming titles.

2. Enter The Dark Room

Anyone looking for a unique experience this Insomnia should consider attending The Dark Room, a two-hour “live-action text adventure comedy show” that is guaranteed to be unlike anything you’ve seen before. As the trailer says, “there’ll be madness, mayhem, retro gaming and the world’s largest game of minesweeper.”

You need to book a ticket specifically for The Dark Room if you’re hoping to attend, and the show only takes place on Sunday, August 25 from 7:30 PM, so make sure you plan in advance if you’re interested in this interactive show.

3. Watch the esports tournaments

For some Insomnia is a gaming festival, for others it’s played host to some of the most important competitions of their careers.

While the iSeries tournaments may not hold as much significance in the era of million-dollar prize pools and international circuits, Insomnia still plays host to a variety of competitions for UK players, with Arena Clash and Insomnia Masters tournaments in games like League of Legends, Overwatch, Rocket League, and CS:GO.

Grass roots tournaments like this are a reminder of where esports came from, and are definitely worth checking out for esports fans attending i65.

See some of the UK's best compete in a variety of titles.

4. Join the competition

For those that would rather be playing than watching, or find themselves seized by a sudden urge to compete, there are a variety of tournaments that can be entered on the day.

Rocket League, Overwatch, Fifa 19, Tekken 7, and Crash Team Racing will all have 1v1, single elimination tournaments running throughout the event, with each offering a £50 Game gift card to the winner.

There will be a lot of cosplay on display at i65.

5. Check out the cosplay

What would a gaming festival be without a cosplay show? Anyone attending i65 certainly won’t be lacking for chances to see cosplay from amateur to expert, with multiple shows and competitions taking place over the course of the event.

The Cosplay Championship will show off some of the most talented and creative cosplayers in the UK, while the Cosplay Masquerade will give a stage to cosplayers of all levels. There’ll also be a specifically Borderlands-themed Cosplay Championship.

Those interested in learning more about cosplay can also check out the Cosplay Zone throughout the event, which will give attendees the chance to try their hand at techniques and talk to the experts.