Forums  /  European Speedrunner Assembly  /  ESA Summer 2019 Feedback Thread
  PlanksPlanks

With the current popularity of pastebins, we thought we'd try the old style of feedback thread again. There's something nice about reading other people's feedback alongside your own, so let's get started 🙂

We'll be reviewing the thread and our own internal feedback in the coming month and will get a review out as soon as it's ready.

MakkebakkeMakkebakke likes this. 
  PlanksPlanks

Basic ground rules
- Please keep discussion of an individual's points out of this thread and create a separate thread if something needs detailed discussion.
- Please be civil - no curses or personal attacks
- Format your post so it's not a wall of text
- If you've already posted a pastebin somewhere, we're happy if you copy/paste it here.

 
  NoobSalmonNoobSalmon

Pros:
- Event location: Very accessible, the environment is great. I think the hotel and the event space is great, I would not change this place. Food places are also good in the area.
- Hotel: Breakfasts were amazing, hotel staff is nice, bar is a cool place to hang around. The rooms are comfy.
- Event Space: large and comfy, I felt generally nice walking around there. The arcade room was also amazing this year.
- free PopCorn and free ice-cream are great to have even though I was not the biggest fan of both
- in generally: the environment, the people, the production are probably the best experience in Europe if you are interested in speedrunning

Cons:
- the lack of PCs: There were not enough PCs to practice on during the marathon. The majority of the runs were PC games and there were more CRT TVs in the whole event then actually PCs. Why? I had to go to practice 8 in the morning just so I can have a free PC. Why is this a thing? Yes.. we were given instructions so we can ask people to hand the PCs over to us if we want to practice and they don't use it for practice, but everyone pretty much wanted to practice. The lack of PCs in the quiet practice rooms in the first few days were also a big mistake in my opinion. Why was it established after like 3-4 days instead of day 1? Some people actually disconnected the monitors from the PCs so they can connect their console to play games. And yes, I'm aware that you can ask people to just don't do it.. But the problem with that it creates such an uncomfortable situation that makes you hate yourself for asking for a PC so you practice a bit.. Why should you feel that way?
The marathon runs are PC run in majority, this needs to be fixed next time. This was probably my biggest issue and this feels like a problem I want to be sorted out for next ESA.

- The event stream area was crowded and loud. Not only they put Stream 2 in the same room, which I understand why it was a thing.. (more accessibility to stream 2 I guess) But the random yells and claps could be heard from both streams across and sometimes it was actually very difficult to hear the runner from the audience and the game.. I kinda want stream 2 in a separate room, maybe a bigger one than in last year but definitely not in the same room. Also TTS is a good meme for donation reading but it feels a bit detached that this supposed to be a marathon where human interaction is important.. and not a robot voice reading donations in a monotone voice.. Please ask people to be readers next time on Stream 2!

- Street Boyz: Probably the most annoying thing in the whole event. Putting it next to stream 1 was probably the biggest mistake first. The random popoffs and yells actually were audible during the runs and also one time someone yelled so loudly it actually distracted the runner from his run. I don't understand why the staff didn't do anything after this. or didn't care but it was not a good idea to keep the panel in. Also, once the actual run went on stream 1, they removed the panel to outside. Why couldn't it be done in the first place? It was distracting, loud, obnoxious and yes.. i understand it's fun.. but there are people who actually watch the stream and they don't actually care about the popoffs or the game.. and they actually want to enjoy the stream..
My advice for next year: If a similar thing is gonna happen, I think it should just be separated the panel from the streaming event in general and do it either outside in the first place or in a private room. Stream 1 should be stream 1 and should be top priority. Putting random stuff next to it will cause this hinderence again.

- People still leave their garbage everywhere and it's annoying: I don't really know how to fix this honestly. If there are hundreds of people at an event this will bound to happen but please take care of your own trash at least next time. ESA staff is not designated to clean your stuff. As an adult or almost adult human you can do it yourself. It's really not that hard.

ShuriBearShuriBear, thebpg13thebpg13 and 7 others like this. 
  NoobSalmonNoobSalmon

(copypasted from my pastebin. sorry if i sounded harsh. I generally enjoyed the event very much but I feel like there are some things that can be changed. love ya, cheers, salmon)

MakkebakkeMakkebakke likes this. 
  jokajoka

Pros:
- Literally everything. Everything I'm about to "complain" about is overall very minor, like last year.

Cons:
- Very crowded and too small NES/retro corner 🙂

- 2 of the 3 CRTs in the quiet practice room did not work or was missing their remote so they were not usable.

- The people that were right next to the stream 1 audience that would randomly just yell at the top of their lungs (I assume StreetBoyz). I understand people are just having fun and popping off or w/e, but sometimes it was just yelling for the sake of yelling. It got pretty annoying, especially when trying to watch or run games on stream 1.
Meanwhile, we got told to turn down the volume on some of our CRTs/setups because you could hear it on stream (lol).
Edit: This did get better after a few days though, tbh. Maybe they were out of IL records to break? 😛

NoobSalmonNoobSalmon likes this. 
  AdamcakeAdamcake

My feedback is pretty much the same as last year so I won't bother repeating myself. In short, it's a very fun event and thank you for hosting it and keeping it the way it is.

On stuff that was different:

- I'm not a fan of having stream 1 and 2 in the same room. The audio bled over between streams a lot and stream 2 kept having to put up with bouts of applause or laughter from stream 1, disrupting their separate schedule. I'm speaking as an audience member, of course, but I'm sure it was just as noticeable for those watching at home.

- very glad you went for a full-blown arcade this year instead of just having a few noisy machines in the lobby area. That said, as a big fan of Jubeat, I feel I have to take you up on your source. You had two cabinets designed for Jubeat Festo (the latest) and one for Jubeat Qubell (old). But the game data you had is for Jubeat Clan, which is prior to the latest. As far as I know Clan isn't available to consumers anymore but is easily available on private trackers, sooo... well, anyway, however you got the game data, you did a very bad job of modding it. You can patch out the tutorial and unlock all songs for guests, you know? That's what GDQ does. And they have Festo.

- also on the arcade: if you were watching at all during the week, you surely noticed that the rhythm games are BY FAR the most popular attraction. Consider investing in more of them. And perhaps some better-known ones (did someone say sdvx?)

- the number of PCs you have available for common use has diminished every year since I've been paying attention. Why is that? The "PC room" only had about 8 computers in it and was packed 24/7. I feel really bad for anyone who wanted to practice a PC run, let alone me and my friends just wanting to play some games. No chance.

- Seriously can they PLEASE FIX THAT ONE ELEVATOR!??

NoobSalmonNoobSalmon and MakkebakkeMakkebakke like this. 
  Einea5mkEinea5mk

Pros:
The best ESA I've been in so far, really hard to list every positive thing. Keep it up!

Cons:
Stream#2 PC had quite big input delay.
Quiet Practice room needed some PCs.
Bar in the lobby shouldnt be closed at 11PM.

 
  MakkebakkeMakkebakke

Echoing other peoples' points for the most part;

The lack of practice PCs was a real shame. The % of PC runs on the schedule as opposed to console runs was not reflected here. The issue is large enough for me to consider bringing my own laptop next year, which personally adds a level of discomfort and worry.

The Street Boyz "issue" was a necessary evil. It grew to the level of side-event, which nobody was ready for. More communication with staff/organizers is required in future. Please please please, do not stifle things like this in future because of the disturbance(s) it may have caused. The Street Boyz brought so many of us together, and was a huge source of inspiration.

:esaHeart:

NoobSalmonNoobSalmon likes this. 
  eNt91eNt91

Thanks for this kind of feedback thread, exactly what I like to see 🙂

The tournament room was great, and I can't thank Feasel enough for his work. He did an outstanding job and was very polite and engaged throughout the whole event. I hope he returns and I hope ESA will expand the tournament section into a bigger or better-fit room with a dedicated team around Feasel, and possibly a dedicated Discord channel/server for participants to coordinate and communicate better. It would also be great if the tournament stream was advertised more (but I understand it was a "test" this year) and possibly have some finals streamed on the first or second ESA stream. I'm sure there'd be an audience for the (grand) finals of a 40+ people Smash Bros. tournament or some quirky stuff like Quiz Bowl or something.

Moving the Arcades into a separate room was a very good decision. It's sad that some of them broke and weren't able to be repaired, but I understand. Feel free to expand the Arcade even more!

The Super Mario Sunhine Relay was better organized and executed than some of the previous crowd relay races/runs, and the choice of game and category was good - while I think Mario 64 draws a bigger crowd, some change of pace was surely needed and Sunshine is probably a better choice than Galaxy or Odyssey. I like that practice was a requirement this year, that should be the standard for the future. So thanks to Fuzzy, Samu and HiddenPower for setting that up and I hope there'll be another relay or something alike next year. Maybe a two or four team "Mario Party" game (so that 20 rounds equal 80 players) or so, would definitely be quite the mess - but I guess it's not a speedrun so idk.

The community intermission glitch videos were a cool new format and I'd like to see them again in the future, possibly with a wider variety of topics - instead of just glitches, it could be a compilation of user-submitted highlights such as funny, sad, WTF oder clutch moments of their streams. This would give the big ESA audience a small insight into the vast variety of streams and personalities of ESA-attendees as they actually can be found and seen on their Twitch channels. A good mix wouldn't hurt, I think.

My first minor complaint is that some of the hosts and/or donation readers often don't seem to be too well informed about the charity ESA supports. I might be too "harsh", but when they "advertise" the charity but stumble over their own words and can't really say anything more than "yeah, Alzheimers is bad" and don't say what the Alzheimer Foundation actually does... well, let's just say I think this could be improved. Doesn't have to be much, but a small post-it note with general info about the charity (and the disease they're fighting) might go a long way.

My second minor complaint is that my hotel card somehow wasn't authorized to open the door to the stairs (on the ESA floor, at least). With one of the elevators always "out of service", waiting for an elevator for multiple minutes just to find out it's crowded and you can't even enter it... not sure if ESA can do something about that, but I figured I'd mention it.

I had mixed feelings about stream 2 being in the big room. I can see the pros, but I personally felt it was nice to have a separate room simply because it had a completely different feel to it. Not really a complaint, but an opinion.

The A/C in the big room was set too cold sometimes, especially when the room was mostly empty, so during night- and morning-hours.

At last, I'm hoping to see more and more flat screens in the coming years. More and more people either have converters to plug old consoles into HDMI or have SuperNT, SNES Classic etc. Maybe post a poll in the ESA discord and ask attendees what options they have/prefer, so you get an idea of what ratio of CRT/LCD might be good.

My biggest complaint is that ESA ended. In the future, we should probably remove this flaw and keep going forever 😉

PaulisterPaulister likes this. 
  TiredSlothTiredSloth

Overall positive impression, couple of things I think might be worth addressing:
-The conference rooms used for PC practice and tournaments got pretty cramped. Would like to see maybe a crew room or two getting removed/relocated in favour of more space for those two rooms maybe.

-Quiet Practice was kind of a mess in terms of not having PCs and then having them and then getting loud at times when it shouldn't be. I don't remember this being much of an issue last year?

-Lounging area+arcade room downstairs was great, albeit probably needed some degree of more dedicated checking on since as far as I recollect stuff like Q&C and the pinball machines were supposed to get turned off at night which didn't always happen or did and someone just turned them back on again.

-Mixed feelings on the double stream in the main hall, it was nice to see stream 2 getting some more space and a bigger screen compared to before though. The overlapping hype was kind of awkwardness at times, since you're not really keeping track of what's going on with the other stream and it just became distracting from the run you were trying to watch.

-I can't really speak much about stuff that the other volunteers were doing but the impression I got was that some seniors really needed to get told to put their work down and go rest.

-I would like to see some better way of setting up games would be thought out, at least for PC games which I got the impression from tech and runners was where a lot of little chunks of time repeatedly got lost. Only thing that immediately comes to mind is investing in more streaming rigs with space for a lot of the games people will be running and having people get their game set up more in advance.

-Last but not least, no more bulky arcade machines please🙏 Sacrifice the SR & pod racing for more Jubeats🔲👀

 
  Becci_chanBecci_chan

Since I was one of the off-site mods, this will only be a review of my viewing experience, but I think that's as important as the on-site reviews.

Schedule:
- a lot of interesting games on the schedule - known and unknown games, popular and less popular ones
- enjoyed the silly block a lot
- Sunshine relay was well-organized, but hard to follow since the runner's names were not on screen this time and the team leaders didn't talk to them, so unfortunately it wasn't as entertaining as last year
- there were too many co-op games and races; I appreciate you want to get lots of runners in, but if there are too many races back to back it's nothing special anymore

Setup breaks:
- the community intermission videos were a great idea and I enjoyed watching them, but next time the sound balancing has to be made properly for people to actually be able to listen to them
- the music during the breaks was good, but the playlist was definitely way too short and got very repetitive during the week
- setups took quite a while for most runs which was probably due to the many races and one of the reasons games had to be moved from stream 1 to stream 2

Stream 2:
- fun and entertaining runs
- wished some of them had made it into stream 1
- having one the dollar% runs there was a surprise, but lots of fun to watch
- unfortunately the last day of stream 2 only consisted of the runs that had to be moved from stream 1 which gave it a bitter taste

Overall it was once again a very enjoyable event and I'm sure things can be improved further next year! ❤️

 
  Shigan_Shigan_

So here we are, ESA was one of the greatest moment of the year once again. It was my 3rd time attending this year and it was probably my best ESA so far.

++ Every runners were really cool to hang around with, I just met some really cool people this year and it was a pleasure to catch some old friends too 😃
++ The venue, once again the hotel was a good place for ESA, big shoutouts to them ! And can't wait for free ice-cream next year Kappa
++ Games selection on both stream. Some good discoveries, and some classics, it was really enjoyable to watch both streams ;D
++ Sunshine relay race : Everyone has train his shine, it was really enjoyable to watch 😃
++ Speedgaming : Nice addition to ESA, Feasel has done a wonderful work by making all of these tournaments, it was quite chilly for us to play here. Really hope to have a chance to do it again next year !
+ Joining stream 1 and stream 2 in the same room. I was a bit worried about this at the beginning of the marathon, but it was pretty okay after all. Especially when two games were interesting at the same time, audio wasn't an issue at all most of the time.
+ Videos during setup : they were really cool to watch 🙂
+ Arcade Room : Really enjoyable in general
- Street Boyz near stream 1 : I don't have a grudge against meme games, but why was it there at the beginning of the marathon ? I mean, i remember at a time that i heard Street Boyz's crew more than the stream. Moving to the hall of 1st floor was a good idea then
-- PC room : Maybe my biggest disappointment this year, it was really hard to find a free spot this year. I don't remember the exact number of computer but it was definitly not enough.

Once again, i had a really good time this year at ESA. Can't wait to see you all next year ❤️

 
  KainaloKainalo

I'll just keep this short and focus on the 2 main negatives.

1. PC room and the Quiet practice room. Having to boot people off the PC room because they unplugged a PC from a monitor to play Smash on it is something that shouldn't happen. There should be clear indications that console gaming shouldn't be done in the PC room.
Also getting the response "If there are no PCs in the quiet practice room, there won't be any. PC room is the PC practice room" after asking if there will be PCs in the quiet practice room, is unacceptable for an event with cleeear majority of runs being PC runs.

2. I already wrote this in the donation reader/host thingy but I will write this here as well.
Donation reading was way too aggressive at times. More or less the sponsor plugging. If a donation reader asks if there's time for a quick donation, it shouldn't mean a 5s donation and then a 30s sponsor plug. There should be a clear indication when a reader wants to plug a sponsor. It shouldn't be up to the runner to guess if the reader will go for sponsored messages or not.

tocaloni1tocaloni1, GoostGoost and 4 others like this. 
  FnzzyFnzzy

Pro:

- As always, great location. Next to a train station so you can go explore the city. Gives you lots to do if things are just 15 minutes away.

- Great event space size wise. More rooms than last year, arcade room was generously equipped and you could go in at pretty much any time and find a free machine and go game.

- I didn't stay at the hotel but from the few glimpses I've seen from the rooms they actually put ESA on channel one to be easily accessible! I am not sure if this was the case last time but I remember people had to connect their laptops to watch the stream. Maybe I am completely misremembering things.

- Free snacks and cold water is always great

- The event bathrooms were always clean. Thanks, people.

- Great security. As far as I can tell nothing got stolen or outsiders let inside.

- Arcade was great! Many new games that I had fun with. Loved Groove Coaster and the good ol' Quick N Crash and I wish I played more.

Con:

- The PC room situation was a bit strange. Lots of tables but many of them were empty. I think at one point I counted 8 PCs. Some tables were occupied by someones personal setup and I haven't seen them use it once the whole time I was there. It's okay if you set up your personal stuff but the PC room is not a LAN center where you reserve a seat for a week. Please bring a laptop next time, I know I will look into getting a used one for the next event.

- The main event hall was a big step backwards from last year. Street boys, or in general having gaming setups that close to the main stream was not a good idea. It resulted in distracting yelling and a cramped feeling for the seating area. Also there were many tables in the middle of the room that weren't used at all whenever I got a chance to glance over. Last year the space was used well with console setups a little further away, tables with PCs you could use, people could set up competitions for short games like the Pringles game or Nikita (it was planned but didn't happen). This setup also resulted in the whole room being able to watch the main stream from anywhere. You could sit in the back and practice your speed game while watching the stream on the big screen. This also made stream 1 feel more important than this year since you'd enter the room and all you see is the main stream from any angle. Was pretty great.

- Put stream two back into its own space away from loud stream one cheering and clapping every couple of minutes. While watching Henys Doom run (may it rest in peace) I sometimes had trouble understanding him while sitting next to the speakers because stream one was going wild.

- Streamer room was a bit big for only two stream stations. I liked the way it was last time where the booths were set up in the main room. If you stream from a big event and you can hear the big event on your own stream I think that's pretty "hype" for a lack of a better word. Maybe that room could then be used for Mafia, move the arcade in the bigger Mafia room and then move stream two into the arcade room. It already had a big screen and lots of room for chairs.

- This is more for the attendees and not the organisers. Please put your ice cream or water cup into the bin when you're done with it. Don't just let it sit on the PC tables.

- Maybe factor in 10 minutes of set up between each run. If you get a run in later in the event you can be almost sure that it's over 5 hours later than scheduled. I am not a runner at the event but as an outsider it felt like this was the case. I saw a lot of games get moved to the second stream in an attempt to not fall behind even further.

havrdhavrd, GoostGoost and 2 others like this. 
  GeeItSomeLaldyGeeItSomeLaldy

First time attending. Volunteered for Infodesk. Had a great time.

Loved the runs, the Side events and the venue itself.

Some issues though:

- Yes, I loved Speed Boyz, and I indulged in it too, but a group of the same game (Street Boyz or not) shouldn't be allowed in the main hall. It was fine when it was moved to the break-out area. Maybe put up some Partitions in the main hall to dampen some of the noise too. I loved the idea of having an on-going speedrun challenge that anyone could get into, but keep it in the lobby area (or even the arcade? that might be too out of the way)

- Infodesk was good, but the Event going over estimate by what 4? 5 hours? meant we were scrambling to get people to do extra unplanned shifts at the end.

- Also on Infodesk, two of our main duties: Checking badges and Lost and Found, were kind of hampered I felt. People coming up the stairs without there badges on was common, and there were more than a few people who kept posting photos of lost items on Discord, rather than handing them in (making it more difficult to verify who owned it).
Some kind of leaflet (handed out when registering) or an information poster on the stairs/around the event, could help get that info out there.
Also, there were quite a few curious tourists, some of which wanted some information to take away with them. It might be good if we had general info flyers or business cards or something to hand out to them.

 
  NocFrostNocFrost

Positives first:

+ Location, as last year, was superb, same with the Hotel (though A/C was not working again, which isn't as tragic as last year but still annoying to sleep in a room where is 28°C).
+ I actually liked having stream 2 in the same room as stream 1 as an attendee, it was easy to just look over to your left/right to see what was going on at the other stream, while cheering might be a bit disrupting, I personally don't think it was too bad with most runs in terms of cheering overlap between streams (compared to street boys). It also seems easier for volunteers to check out what was going on at the other stream at times and also the room for stream 2 last year was too small so this year was a lot better.
+ Stream 2 in general, shoutouts to Liva for running this again, it's always a pleasure and always has great games plus gives stream 1 a bit of buffer in case they fall behind schedule.
+ 20$ yakuza on stream 2 as last game of the day was a good idea as the donations made the game longer (and more funny / enjoyable, great run if you haven't seen it you should check out the vod.), didn't disrupt the schedule as stream 2 goes offline over night. Should've been done for both 20$% runs imo
+ Arcade being in a separate room and not in the floor 1 lobby like last year. Last year Q&C was very noisy on floor 1 and with the added rhythm game machines this seemed like a very sensible choice to put it into its extra room
+ Tournament room: shoutouts to feasel for organizing this. Was great seeing the tournament room in more use compared to last year and also having some high quality tournaments there (shoutouts to paulister for quizbowl.)
+ infodesk being 24/7 operated. felt more secure leaving stuff around on floor 1 and could also always chat to people there or go there for different things when needed.
+ general good atmosphere / attendees / staff / volunteers: you all make this event what it is. it's always a pleasure to just randomly chat up someone and ask them about what they do / if they're new to esa etc. I love you all.

Sadly there was also several negative aspects:
- Lack of practise pcs (keeping this short as people have mentioned this before). I'm assuming this is also due to the growth the event has experienced.
- Street boys being way too loud right behind stream 1. Not saying stuff like this shouldn't happen but it would be better to do it on floor 1 lobby when people realize for the first time how big it grows and how loud it becomes.
- senior staff being heavily overworked due to people oversleeping their shift or other issues. I personally am not on staff or a volunteer but I felt very bad for some people that had like double shifts or jumped in for others that overslept for double graveyard shifts. To people on senior staff: please don't overwork yourself too hard, it is risky for you health as well, please take care of yourselves.
- Schedule (stream 1) being a mess this year. I don't know what the issues were and I'm assuming it's a mix of several things but without stream 2 this would've been pretty much as messy as 2016 was in terms of delay.
- As mentioned above with the hotel: non working A/C. This and for some reason cleaning took our towels despite them not being places on the sink / bathtub and then not leaving new ones. Which I realized when showering and dried off with the super small hand towel 😕 (not the problem of the event but this was weird to me as cleaning has been pretty much on point last year)

General suggestion (not really a negative point or something):
- Have someone swedish on infodesk make a list of cold medications you can actually get at the pharmacy at emporia: ESAids is a thing every year and sadly I caught it as well this year, only to shockingly realize the lady at the pharmacy could not speak english (which is like the second person in total in sweden I have encountered that could not speak english). Made it very difficult to look for specific things like cough blockers. While yes, you can still get ibuprofen / paracetamol very easily, for specific things it is very hard to deal with stuff that is written in swedish only.

Edit:
almost forgot a minor negative this year:
I don't know whose idea it was but honestly tweeting a tweet _every 4 hours_ 4-5 days before the event seemed more like spam than hype and actually made me unfollow the ESA twitter account. Especially considering the countdown wasn't even to the start of the stream but some random around midnight time? It's fine to do this on the day before ESA and maybe like every 12h for 3-4 days prior, but every 4 hours is overdoing it a lot.

Edit2:
another thing I sorta forgot. Last year we had some discount codes for escape rooms and dominos. Not sure what happened to this as some people that went to the Malmö escape rooms have said that the owner did contact ESA staff about a discount deal so I don't know what happened to this?

Edit3 (sorry for so many edits my brain is a mess right now):
+ The intermission videos were great. Too bad most of the time they were inaudible because volume wasn't turned up enough. Great idea behind this to show off some tricks / glitches. For longer set up times even shorter speedruns / funny moments / frustrating rng or stuff like that could be shown off in the future.
Also (and this is a hot take i guess?) hosting and donation reading could maybe be combined? With longer intermission videos for longer set up times and set up mainly being 2-3 minutes of hosts and then donations / shout outs to the sponsors and the charity, volunteers could probably easily do both hosting/donation reading. Maybe also fill intermissions with more interviews if runners are up for it about general stuff like how did they get into speedrunning, why this particular game, etc. this was way more prominent back in 2016.

 
  skateman222skateman222

First time attending from overseas and overall, it was an amazing experience! I'll probably end up repeating a lot of what was said, but I'm just grabbing this from a pros/cons list I wrote up just shortly after the event.

Pros:
+ The venue was so good. Quick train ride from airport, 1st exit and hotel is right there. Good food options and mall nearby as well.
+ Free ice cream and PopCorn. Also breakfast was WAY better than any hotel I've ever been to
+ The wi-fi connection was incredible compared to other events I've been to where it's either near impossible to connect or non-existent.
+ Arcade was dope! I really liked those 800-in-1 arcade machines; they had quite some variety and hidden gems in there, which gave our group some unforgettable, hilarious moments.
+ I personally liked having stream 1, stream 2 AND console practice room all in same room, but I understand people are not a fan of noise bleeding over to the other stream. I found it nice to be able to practice while also being able to peek at either stream whenever I felt like it.

Cons:
Biggest issue for me was definitely tech on a lot of fronts, so a majority of my cons will be related to that and hopefully this all can be improved in the future.
- As a foreigner with all NTSC consoles, I didn't feel accommodated at all. The only things about consoles mentioned in the attendee guide were that they would have NA outlets and make sure to bring our consoles. So, having 3 runs with 3 different consoles, I had to pack all of em and barely fit them in my luggage, and guess what? They forced me not to use 2 of them because they were "not compatible" with what they needed for the stream. First run was on NES, so I brought my NTSC NES with basic composite cables because it was NEVER specified anywhere which kind of cables we NEEDED and they rejected it because it wasn't RGB-modded. Sorry, I didn't fork out the cash for that, should've let me know beforehand. Not only that, my NES controller wasn't compatible with the RGB NES they provided, so I had to use someone else's controller. This is just unacceptable. Thank goodness my run wasn't super technical or else I would've been super thrown off.
- After that, I had a Wii U run where I set the console to composite mode since I play on CRT for no input delay. Nope, can't use that either, it MUST be HDMI or else! Since I didn't bring my gamepad to change the settings (like I said, no more luggage space), they then had to get someone else's Wii, that wasn't even NTSC, meaning it couldn't read my NTSC disc. Thank goodness the runner I was racing against had another PAL copy of the game, but it was brand new. He planned on keeping it or giving it away sealed and he had to open it for our run to go on.
- No CRTs, forcing people to use OSSC + Monitor. I get that CRTs are annoying and are eventually going to be phased out (assuming this was a test), but if you want to go that route, should probably look into all possible options and go with the best option. One of the NES crew guys, Grukk, brought their own monitor setup and it was much better than stream 1's setup, comparing side-by-side. A handful of people were complaining about that for their runs, due to being able to tell the difference quite a bit in their runs with frame-perfect tricks.
- I think I've only seen the split buttons work for solo PC runs and would never work properly for races. Could've most likely been user error, but just something I noticed.
- I didn't watch too many runs at the event, but at least half the runs I watched had the capture screen tear for a decent chunk of the run. Not sure how easily avoidable tearing is, but it happened enough to warrant looking into.
- Bar closing at 11 instead of 1-2. Not really something under your control, but that was a common hotel complaint, thought the hotel benefits severely outweigh the negatives, so it's all good!

TL;DR: Experience as an attendee was phenomenal, experience as a runner was a complete nightmare.

 
  WolfiexeWolfiexe

As the first ESA I attended it was a very positive impression. As I can't compare it to previous events I'll just list the standout things for me:

Positives:

+ Location and venue was about as perfect as can be. I remember being told that the hotel is right outside the train stop, but well, I didn't expect it to be quite literally right outside the train stop. The mall being right next door too and in general just the whole area was incredibly convenient. The hotel staff were very friendly too, and the facilities and things like breakfast, the ice-cream/popcorn etc. was very nice (this is starting to sound like a sell-out for the hotel here but hey it was good!)

+ The arcade room was very nice. Having a large area of machines with good variety mixed alongside a cosy seating area made for a very comfy hang-out spot. Very much hoping this stays the same next event, maybe even with more machines? I noticed Jubeat was quite popular which often led to people loitering around waiting for their turn, something not as noticeable on the other machines.

+ The $25 Yakuza run was such a standout and it's almost a shame it didn't feature on Stream 1 where likely more people would've seen it. These kind of runs definitely have a lot of potential and can bring a lot of entertainment in ways a traditional speedrun might not. Either way, I hope these make a return!

+ Tournament Room. I actually only managed to catch a few but they all seemed very well organised and pulled off, and I regret not taking part in any myself. Big props to the organisers and everyone who made these run as smoothly as they did.

+ Intermission mini-speedruns/showcases - I thought these were a really nice feature for in-between runs, and made for some nice bite-sized material for things I might've had no idea about. Great stuff!

Negatives:

- The text-to-speech donation reading on stream 2 felt a little odd. Granted, it's a fair solution if volunteer count is a problem and not something that can easily be fixed otherwise.

- I loved the camaraderie of the whole Street Boys thing, although I felt the noise sometimes distracted and took away from things going on in Stream 1 due to the location. Perhaps groups/gatherings of that sort can be stationed further away from what I guess you'd see as the main attraction and heavy focus of the stream.

- The 2 elevators-lifestyle for most of the week was a little tedious, especially for those on the higher floors. This I suppose is more of a hotel issue and something they should look into more to prevent it from breaking down so frequently, which is definitely a problem for an event with this many people.

Other Notes:

~ Me and some friends went to The Alley, an escape room facility stationed in Malmo quite close to the train station which was an absolute blast. We talked to the host and he'd mentioned he'd contacted ESA for a discount deal of some sort but didn't receive any response. This could be something to look into, as escape rooms are a great outing for groups and with this particular one so nearby (short 5~ minute train into a 2~ minute walk?) it could be a good opportunity!

Overall a great event. Big thanks to everyone who helped organise and run it, and make it such a memorable 9 days. Very much looking forward to going again next year and hopefully getting involved even more.

 
  English_BenEnglish_Ben

Positives

Arcade room was great, very popular and allowed more space in the main rooms without annoying sounds like quick and crash all the time. I agree that more focus should be put on the rhythm games if possible, as ones such as Groove Coaster were very popular.

Tournaments this year were spot on, I'm glad that it was handled properly and there was a huge choice to pick from. Having a dedicated stream for it was fantastic.

Street Boyz was a great amount of fun, I of course understand that it got very rowdy at times but I believe this is simply due to nobody expecting how popular it was going to be this year. The setup moved into another room when asked, and it was much better. I don't think this is anyone's fault, more just a learning process for similar things during future events.

Negatives

I was already sceptical to begin with regarding having both streams in the same room. I was running a short technical game during a very hype run on stream 1 and I couldn't hear myself think even with the headset on. My co-commentators couldn't hear a word I was saying for the most part and commentating & concentrating is extremely hard in these circumstances. This layout will likely work for long chill runs that don't have much in regards to technical tricks, but you cannot have short technical runs on there because it is almost impossible to play well with the noise of stream 1 so close-by.

Way too many races this year, they became tiring very fast and lost the magic as others have mentioned.

I agree with Becci in that the music playlist seemed very limited, so expanding that in the future would be great if that's possible.

I also agree with NocFrost about the Twitter spam and spoke to Edenal about it during the event. I found it extremely annoying and it looks like others did too, even going as far as to unfollow the account. While I see that as very extreme, I definitely think that tuning it down is a good idea. This year the tweets got tiresome very quickly.

Points that are not positive or negative

Regarding the practice room, I had no issues with it. Yes it was packed, but there was always a PC I could use to practice even at peak times. Most of the time I had to ask someone if I could use it, but they never had an issue letting me take priority. I understand that some people are not comfortable doing this, and there is definitely a point to be made for expanding in this area. However it's pretty simple to see what someone is playing, check the schedule and if it isn't there just ask to use it for stream practice.

Rubbish is always going to be a problem at these events, people don't put their rubbish in the bins. This cannot really be helped in many ways, but I would like to thank Barbie for going around the main hall and collecting rubbish. It's not a nice job and I appreciate you doing that! (This goes for anyone else who helped with the rubbish problem too.)

MakkebakkeMakkebakke and call_me_zeroocall_me_zeroo like this. 
  btrimbtrim

Venue
- Pros: Very convenient, great deals on room pricing. The broken A/C is to be expected I suppose, even in a fairly new hotel.
- Cons: Bar closing at 11PM and being in a suburban commercial sector meant that there weren't nice local bars without getting on transportation, which meant lots of even stronger cliquification than before when it comes to downtime leisure activities. This was my fear of the move to a hotel event, but the pros outweigh the cons I think.

Event Space
- I'm generally a fan of having most things in one big room, but there are some caveats. Something fairly simple that could be done is to disallow gaming setups on the stream-side of the tables. This would limit the rows immediately next to streams, but, for example, turning a TV around from next to stream 2 to the other side of the table made a huge difference to being able to play games at that station and to hear the game you're playing, versus a loudspeaker overpowering. And presumably there'd be a little less intensity to the exclamations of jubilant players.
- There was plenty of room for retro (despite us retro people setting things up more restrictively than necessary), and more CRTs than expected. As usually happens, there was a box of remotes but batteries were nowhere to be found. Even if the CRTs are being slowly phased out, some velcro and batteries to keep remotes with their respective TVs would be much appreciated, especially if they're paired up after unpacking (I appreciate this is a boring task).

Stream 1:
- The process for setup seemed ok and straight-forward to me, slightly cramped playing area (maybe move the first row back an extra meter to allow more room for console setup. My experience was on day 1 of the stream, so maybe this was fixed).
- Playing on a monitor was fine, but OSSC and monitor AR seems to add a bit of time to the setup on average.
- Watching stream one in the viewing area tended to be an exercise in auditory frustration as the audio mix going to the speakers didn't seem to be properly limited. There were occasions with one excited donation reader where I had to cover my ears sitting in the middle of the viewing area whenever a donation was read, while the game audio itself could have been a bit louder. I'm not usually too picky about "good audio" but at some point I did point this out to someone and it was temporarily fixed, but after another run or two the same problem occurred. There is probably a technical solution to make this type of thing less physically painful.

Stream 2:
- Liva is a streaming machine as always.
- This was my 4th ESA event but the first where a stream couldn't handle RGB without outside equipment. I was blindsided by this as I had no need to bring a composite cable for a console which outputs RGB natively. Thankfully we had an OSSC available but having both retrotink2x and OSSC available for stream 2 would be much much better. This combined with some monitor setup issues got me a bit flustered while starting my run.
- I kind of liked the TTS donations, but it definitely gives off a "we don't care about this" vibe that may give a poor impression. I'll always appreciate stream 2 being there because it allows for escape from long RPG runs for viewers and provides more opportunity for runs to get in.

Arcade:
- I loved the pinball and the Astro City Pandora's box setups (though I didn't find a clear way to get back to menu other than waiting, so I tended to just walk away rather than switch games).
- I have no interest in more rhythm games, but if you add more since they're so popular, please set them up as far away as possible from anything else. Perhaps a classic/retro arcade section in one end of the room, a rhythm arcade in the other.

GreenalinkGreenalink likes this.