The Insomnia series is one of our favourite times of the year. It is the perfect encapsulation of everything we love. If the time ever comes when you worry that gaming is still something to be done only by lonely teenagers, or that nobody else cares as much as we do about hardware, then a visit here is great for the soul.
As always we have to thank the people who made it possible for us to go, and this year much love goes to ASUS and XSPC for enabling us to join in with the mad throng of people. But you want to see the behind the scenes pictures, so I'll shut up and we can crack on.
The gaming hall is massive. Even larger, if possible, is the vendor area. The logistics involved in getting everyone here and set up is incredible. If you're one of the people lucky enough to be attending then you really will be gobsmacked at the transformation from when we arrive to when the public are let in.
Think of a manufacturer and you can be certain that they're taking part. Although we can't condone his choice of footwear, we're desperate for one of the MSI Dragon t-shirts that the guy in flip flops is wearing.
If you're gaming and find yourself in need of better hardware, or just passing through and fancy splashing out then there is everything from a gaming surface to a full system available.
The ASUS stand takes up a huge amount of floorspace as you'd expect from such a monster company. We're already itching to get our headset on and start fragging. The F2A85 is famously the basis for one of our recommended systems.
Wherever there are gamers, there are people in need of monitors and Iiyama consistently produce some of the best you can buy.
There are hundreds of custom PCs with people expressing their creativity in all manner of ways. We have to say we love the front of this particular case.
Anyone who has been to the OC3D offices in the week of a major hardware release will recognise the hell of cardboard boxes adorning the CCL stand. How it all goes from this pile to the beautifully arranged tables you'll see in a single afternoon is a serious bit of graft.
It's not just about things to use either. You have to look your coolest and Jinx will keep you dropping jaws with your attire as well as your micromanagement skills.
It's not only modern gaming that whets our appetite. Some of us go quite weak in the knees at the sight of an arcade cabinet in all its stand-up glory.
Scan Computers and their 3XS branch have brought a truckload of identical systems. We were only saying this week about how nice it is to see the yellow on the MSI MPOWER MAX, and here are cases that would finish it off nicely.
You distract them, we'll bring the forklift round.
Cooler Master are there in full force, as well as Coolmiester himself.
Someone has obviously been round to Posh Spice's house and borrowed her dining chairs. The juxtaposition of gold chairs and an Injustice cabinet is quite alarming.
At first glance this is just a pile of boxes. We're slightly concerned about the girl in the back toting a minigun! Crowd control at its most extreme.
If you ever wonder what the importance of having a portable system is all about, you only have to look at the extraordinary amount of gear that people are bringing in. Personally we'd rather be the guy with the BitFenix case than the ones with full towers and a chair.
At least once you're inside you can use your chair to rest upon. It's a sea of people. We think the Monster is more likely to help you win than the couple of cans of Carlsberg.
The variety is what takes your breath away. There are enormous cases, small ones, white ones, cheap ones, expensive ones. Individuality is the key. We particularly like the battered old CM690 box. That's seen some action in its life.
It's a brave man who chooses an Obsidian 800D as their LAN event rig. Before you know it these chairs will be full of people and the hall will resound to the hum of fans and the sound of energy drinks by the million being opened.
If you're there, or planning to go, let us know in our forums and then come and say hi, TTL is based loosely around the TCM gaming booth in hall 2 but keep an eye open for him walking round with his camera that looks like it has a garden flood light on the top! Apparently the beers are on him......?