Forums  /  European Speedrunner Assembly  /  ESA Summer 2018  /  ESA Summer 2018 Feedback Thread

As a stream viewer, the whole event was fantastic. I was so happy for you guys that I actually cried. My only negative is that sometimes the Host on stream 1, reading donations, was very LOUD compared to the runners. But overall the stream was fantastic. Stream 2 was managed by Geeky Goons. They did one hell of a job on that stream. You could tell easily, compared to stream 1. So looking forward to next year.

RoboSparkleRoboSparkle likes this. 

Even though I will probably repeat some of points that were already made, here goes my feedback.

1 - Hotel.
+That venue was a savior, since it was reeeeeeally hot and I'd imagine in Fortnox Arena 400+ people would've just melted along with all the tech stuff. Really glad that same hotel will be used next year.
+Ice cream machine and coffee machine are real MVP, ESPECIALLY hot water in coffee machine, which IMO could work for night, because:
- Need insome warm drink is also constant for some people and just being simply unable to get hot water was sad. No kettle like last year, no microwave oven.
- Honestly some space could've been used up for a eating room in a simple fashion it was done with Crew Food room. Silent practice, for example, was mostly not silent, could've aswell be a part of normal practice room, while tourney room was mostly unused (unlike boardgames room, that was crowded and could've used more space). Unless it is something that hotel straight up said not to do I don't see a reason for food room to not exist. If smell is an excuse, then storage room by the elevators, could've been swapped with something for that purpose.
- That's not really a complaint against hotel, but apparently in 2018 some people still can't use toilets like actual human beings. I ran into a toilet being full of paper or being...shitty... at least 3 times!! At least do something, don't leave that mess after you are out! That's just gross and disrespectful to everyone who's attending event.

2 - Side activities.
+ Pinball machines are MVP. Rip Shaq.
+ Great number of boardgames, though I played none, I looked a few up, gonna check them out eventually.
+ Nicely set challenges by people.
- Sometimes it was INDEED very loud.

3 - Stream/Tech
+ Overall I have no complaints over audio/video/tech, since the only problem I had with it was based on a fact, that I didn't set my stuff in advance. All hard setups were done pretty quick, checks were quick and nice. Great job there!
- Couch was definetely needed. Chairs were nice and everything, but whenever there were 4 people on stream it was getting hard to get close to properly watch run/comment (or so it seemed to me).

4 - Hosting/DonationReading/Moderation
+ As first time on hosting duty I'd say that everything was made pretty clean and obvious. Can't really compare hosting area to a couch one from last years, but I thought it was alright, for 2 mic setup it was a perfect distance between hosts or so it seemed to me. Everybody seemed to be doing their job nicely, don't have real "that dude/girl was real bad at his/her thing" complaints.
- Still, some people sometimes on donation reading seemed as if they aren't really getting ready for next reading moment, as if whenever they hear "now we can read donations" they were going to tracker, then not seeing anything, but they already said something, so they feel weird to stop now, so they go "noooo, buuuuut we might want to thaaaaank some of out sponsors proceeds thinking of which sponsor to plug and how - read text or say it differently". This felt soooooooooooooooo weird and sometimes really annoying. Quickly thinking of what to say next time when no donations happen is the first thing you should do when you finished reading donos, it shouldn't be such a surprise! I'm not trying to offend anyone in particular, and everbody who I saw/heard were doing well >=90% of the time and while I might've done some errors and said weird stuff during my shifts - just be more into the job you are doing, 4 hour shift is not long, really.
- As for hosts, I've seen a couple of very odd intermissions, where hosts somehow had nothing to discuss something or say about upcoming runs/incentives, and so after breifly mentioning them, they proceeded to go through as much of sponsors as they could and cut back to intermission screen, thus spending 80% of 1-2 minute long intermission on sponsors, felt weird and not interesting.
? It seemed that 3 teams were not needed. Sometimes hosts had nothing to do and in night shifts we were approving donations, sometimes no donations were happening for long time (mostly a stream 2 issue), so donoreader there had nothing to do but to plug sponsors inbetween games if they luckily got very talkative runners. Approving donations in general shouldn't be that hard of a job, which maybe donation readers or hosts should be able to do themselves. Whole system, while it was mostly working fine, seemed a bit clumsy. Not a complaint, just a thing that comes to mind.

I guess, that's about it. If I happen to remember anything major, that I wanted to mention, I will put it under edit line.
Great event, enjoyed it a lot, even though it might seem, that I had a lot of complaints, I was moslty going in depth on small details 🙂

It seemed, that stream 2 on esamarathon2 channel, while a good idea, was less viewed than when it was on GeekyGoodSquad. It needed more push, most of the time I've seen it it was around 800-1200 viewers, while last year 2k+ was happening pretty often, but I might be wrong, people with stats should know that better.

PottowwPottoww, FatzkeFatzke and RoboSparkleRoboSparkle like this. 

This years Venue was really great as mentioned by pretty much everyone. However, a few things I'd like to complain about since I'm a whiny sucker:

- Late Night sneks: It's a bit like in 2016 in Växjö, where it was hard to get some food in the night (22:00+). Unless you got something before (From the mall or other snek shop), there's basically only McDonald's which wasn't ... the best as most know. The Baguettes which were offered were just baguettes without anything so I never bothered to get one of them in the first place. I think you're already working on solutions (like last years Burger King delivery - which was damn awesome), so yea.

- Location: While it certainly is a great location to get to travel wise, it's a bit off from the main city. Therefore a Taxi or Train would be required which is a bit meh imo. But that's nitpicking at a master level.

- Air Conditioning: While the AC was fine in the Entrance Hall/Arcades, it was basically freezing in the other Rooms (PC, Tournament, Main Hall, ...) with about 18-20°C. It was comfy with a jacket 'n jeans, but the moment you get out of the rooms or _outside_ the hotel, you die due to a heatstroke since you run around with a damn jacket 'n jeans.

- Coffee Machine: WHY THE ..., is it getting closed the same as the Ice Cream and PopCorn?! The time you need coffee is either in the morning/when you wake up or in the night. Since it was only open from 15:00 - 21:00. I'm a coffee addict, you can't do that to me.

Good stuff, since the event was awesome despite me nitpicking shit left n right:

- Venue: Well, as everyone ever stated already it's damn nice to have it in a Hotel which got rid of the tedious and annoying walk from venue and hotel. In one way also bad, since I got to walk less, but overall awesome since you don't have to carry basically your entire equipment around. Really damn nice. And the location for traveling is amazing.

- Free Stuff: ICE CREAM AND PopCorn, FUCK YEA. Do I need to say more?

- Stream: The stream was really nice to watch from an audience perspective (Except some minor audio issues), but certainly a huge big up from the last years I was there.

- Clean: I noticed that the Venue was always damn clean thanks to the Hotel Staff and the Volunteers (I noticed Panda doin stuff, but I'm sure there were more involved), so thanks a lot to them 😃

- Security: Thanks to all the Staff for keeping the Venue safe and for your great efforts during day and night!

MangoHatfaceMangoHatface and RoboSparkleRoboSparkle like this. 


So, before I say much of anything I'd like to preface this by saying that the event was a huge, ginormous step-up from previous years and I very much felt the effort from everyone involved. I very much enjoyed myself and I have every intention of returning next year. My sincere congratulations to everyone involved, you took a risk and I think that it paid off admirably in all respects.

i feel the need to get that out there because everything I write sounds like complaining from here on down

Location, location

The hotel this year was extremely choice real estate, like I do not think you could ask for a much better location than that. Many food options within walking distance, shopping mall, proximity to train station, bus ride away from hitting the beach or pool? Like damn dude, that's godlike. That location is hands down the best location for any marathon I've ever been to in terms of just the raw convenience. Not a super touristy location or anything, but in terms of the basic travelling considerations, it's S rank, very hard to beat.

Hotel Itself

The rooms themselves were nice. Hotel rooms are one of those things where it's only noteworthy when done badly, so the fact I have nothing much to say about it is good. Free hotel breakfast, also choice, free ice cream, ESPECIALLY choice. It's hard to beat free ice cream in any calculation.

Event room sizes on the other hand were a bit of a mixed bag. Stream room was appropriately large although I'm still not especially convinced mixing the stream room with the general purpose practice/casual room is a hot idea, I thought it was mainly done that way for lack of space but it seems to be done on purpose. Especially with the streaming stations located at the very back of these loud-ass rooms so you have people chatting away in their own bubble in the back of this decidedly non-bubble-like room. The attempt to carve private spaces out of non-private ones is very reminiscent of like, a convention floor style atmosphere, and I'm not really sure how to digest that, it seemed like it invites participation for being smack dab on the floor, but seems like it doesn't from the noise-cancelling headphones so you couldn't really do "roundtable" streams as such. Odd. I'd have thought that sort of thing goes in its own space, really.

On the plus side I never felt hard pressed to find a big-ass CRT or PC if I wanted to do something. Part of this is just that I keep really weird waking hours, so I'm usually up at ass o clock in the morning and had practically the entire main hall to myself. Either way, yay, equipment!

Maybe this is all part of a larger space issue though, since much of the side rooms seemed rather small. Stream 2 is still rather cramped with there being basically no gap between runner and audience, I know this is part of the point and appeal of Stream 2 but I'll get into that in a bit. Board game room couldn't really hold the amount of people using it, Tournament room could not really sustain more than one tournament at a time (I kinda got away with running Evil Zone during a mario kart LAN but I only had to use one setup to run mine). Quiet practice room was sandwiched between Stream 2 and the board game room and was therefore basically never quiet, I'm not exempt from guilt on that one since I also used it to just screw around, but for its intended purpose it could do with a more secluded location.

Arcade was neat, love 2 play quick and the crash but again just being smack dab in the middle of the lobby I feel somewhat limits the size of it all? Also, I've started hearing quick and crash sound effects in white noise because the noise of the game was endlessly pervasive and I like quick and crash as much as the next guy but that's a bit much. I liked the hotel, but being restricted to that one floor of the hotel and it's fairly tiny side rooms the whole thing is actually kind of small? Giant hall aside, I'm not sure how the event can upscale from there with the general lack of space for side rooms.

The scrolls that got set up for people to scribble their names and times onto at the games throughout the event are great.

I also very much resonate with the complaint about the lack of a dining area. Keeping food out of the other rooms is very much the right choice because holy shit are y'all bad at cleaning up after yourselves (if I knew who was leaving the half-finished cans of Red Bull all over the place NEAR THE ELECTRICS I would dunk them on your head, do not waste the source of my power) but after you've gone out and bought a pizza, are you supposed to just squat on the curb and eat it there? There were seats outside of the hotel that we kind of assumed was for this exact purpose, but one altercation later with a pissed off staff member who wordlessly approached us and attempted to pick up and throw away pizza while we were in the middle of eating it (whoever that was can seriously go fuck themselves into next year, by the way, a simple "not here" would've sufficed) indicates that no, they're not actually for that purpose? You can eat in the hotel room sure but it's not exactly a very pleasant group dining experience. I mainly got around this by going out with THE LADS and eating at Max. Max is so good.

Side rooms were also locked in the early mornings at an unspecified time for an unspecificed reason and were only openable by unspecified persons at an unspecified time. People sometimes left stuff in those rooms so this was a problem. Fair enough if they're going to be locked, but it really needs to laid out when and who to go to if they need unlocking.

Overall mind you it's still a giant fucking leap from the arena, but a cut below some other places I've been. Good step in the right direction.

Badge Check

i actually had no issue with badge checking myself but tech/organisers need separate badges from the rest of us. I'm apathetic to whether runners have their own badge, but the lack of badges differentiating staff made it a bit harder to tell who to ask when I had some setup queries. And I did have a few of those. There were eventually like, tags slapped onto existing badges but still not really parseable at a glance.

Alrighty, now let's get onto aspects of the actual production!

The Host With The Most

Hosting was largely much better than previous year but still ran into noticable problems at times. Intermissions between games were frequently stilted, awkward, rambling or sort of incoherent. At times they didn't have much to discuss with the games or clearly didn't really know what they were talking about and were just shooting from the hip. I don't blame anyone in particular for this, it's symptomatic of there not being much of a plan for these segments, I'm assuming. Most people if you just go "make it work!" will probably not be able to produce entertaining filler on the spot, it's hard, I completely understand that. Sometimes they'd just kind of plug a sponsor and that'd be that, sometimes they'd go on about a game or runner. It wasn't like, completely awful or anything, but at times felt extremely improv and not in the good kind of way. A clearer plan of action would help with this.

Donation reading was a bit hit and miss. Some readers were very pro-active in feeling out the low moments to ask if they can read something, pepole with a good sense for that are credit to team(whoever did the reading for Birth By Sleep was pretty good at this and I commend that). Other readers either struggled to comfortably read out loud without repetition or stuttering or just were plain not ready to field a request to read something, resulting in too long a pause while they tried to see if there were any donations to read and then quickly trying to segway onto plugging a sponsor instead. Donation reading needs to be snappier than that, the reader dragging their "turn" out, so to speak, mucks up the pacing of good commentary. I'm not saying you have to talk like a Micro Machines advert, but keeping up is extremely important. I know getting confident speakers at a European event is a harder thing since English is often not the first language, but it's no less of a relevant concern.

Checking the donations as well, better than last year, but some shitty ones still got through and got read live on air. Kinda keeps happening.

A petty gripe, but I started trying to preach the good word of the phrasing "if you have something you'd like to read" instead of asking directly for donations to dodge the awkward admission of not actually having any donations at that particular moment, allowing the reader to gracefully plug something else. Some readers would respond to this opening by saying "no donations" anyway. Honestly, just never say "no donations". Even if the runner asks and you don't have any, just ignore that shit and plug something anyway, fuck it, I'm not sure anyone would notice.

you know last year had that flashing box that indicated when donations were actually present to be read? I kinda liked that idea, it had some issues what with hosts having to be super on the ball about turning it off and on and stuff, but I think the concept is worth something.


the awful games block was amazing and the secret tech of bouncing between two setups to seamlessly transition was amazing and I'm shouting this out specifically because it was both so, so fucking good, but an inspired production tech-wise. Good effort. Strut that tech, that's what gives ESA a unique point.

Buttons! I love these. I love smacking that shit to start the timer. It's my favourite thing. I want one for my house.

The lack of a couch for co-commentators was weird and like, immediately threw me, it muddies where people are supposed to sit, means camera framing is always having to be adjusted on a per run basis. People just sort of grabbed chairs and sat wherever seemed right, that can't be good for framing!

Otherwise, while commentating and running, Stream 1 felt like a good environment to be under, it brought out the best in my performances and a few others too. It's about the sort of thing I look for in a marathon, which segways me neatly onto...

Stream 2 And The Unpopular Opinion Hour

yeah I know this is going to be an unpopular opinion, particularly since ESA seems to have really committed to this idea. But I still do not like second stream, like, anything about it really. As a concept it's executed competently, but I think the base level concept is awful and the premium it imposes on the event suuuucks.

So, much of my issue with it stems from the fact that it's shunted off into a secluded room where the audience is like pretty much right behind the runner. This means the audience can interact more directly, for better or worse, yelling into the mic from the back, or just being goofy or whatever. This is part of the appeal of Stream 2 and it's fine if you're in on the joke and catastrophically fucking awful if you're not. Nothing major happened this time, but I still don't see any real improvement over last year in this regard, it can still totally happen. I still don't see any real like, pointers on the general tone of Stream 2 and Stream 2 being like that is the major reason why I continue to just refuse to run on it. Most of the runs I do don't really suit that kind of atmosphere. A friend of mine said it best when he joked out loud during Rabi-Ribi


This room only has two modes. Empty, or memes.

He was joking, but I actually think this is an exquisite summary of the dynamic of Stream 2. If Stream 2 is just going to be the "meme stream" then that's perfectly fine, but as it stands I don't think it fully commits to this which just mixes the signal about what style should be brought for it. The scheduling doesn't reflect this either, with a mixture of runs of all sorts, perhaps a bit heavier on the longer RPGs than anything else. If Stream 2 exists to be the experimental stream for strange ideas, then I don't get that sense either since Stream 1 was plenty unafraid to get fuckin weird (Geoguessr was weird and also inspired), so it just felt like Stream 2 was "Memes + Stuff That Didn't Make The Stream 1 Grade". I know that's not what it's supposed to be, but that's what it feels like.

It's all ignorable for me since I am allowed to just request to not be on it, but I don't really like the dynamic that imposes on game submissions either, since I do have dumb bullshit runs I would be completely happy to meme it up with on Stream 2, but it just comes across like I'm being fucking picky or like I think some of my runs are "better" than Stream 2 if I specify that only some are to be considered for Stream 2, when in reality it's just the fact that I think they're a poor fit tone-wise. Particularly since there's then a chance that I get scheduled for only Stream 2 if none of my Stream 1 games made the cut, and having ran exclusively on Stream 2 before for a year, I declare it patently not worth the time/cost. If I'm already gonna be there, may as well shitpost, but putting time and effort to attend just to do runs that appear on it doesn't feel like a winning proposition for either of us.

This complicates game submissions immeassurably for me which is why I just opt to ignore it to keep it simple for myself. I don't think this is optimal.

Some really good runs got squared off onto it as well which feels strange, why not just crush the two into one schedule of high quality? Why cut the goose down the middle? Is Stream 2 for That Weird Shit? Or is it more RPG focused? If the former, why so many totally ordinary runs. If the latter, you have basically invented bad RPG Limit Break and if I were an RPG runner I'm not sure I'd feel too great that Stream 2 is the likely home for me.

The viewer split between 1/2 as well is like, 95/5 and that can't feel too great for anyone running on 2 but I don't really understand the incentive for the event to split the viewing audience and donations even in that small way. The event doesn't get donations consistently enough to always have something to read in the first place, splitting it further feels like spreading yourselves even thinner. ESA is already kind of a mid-sized event so splitting seems like an odd call.

The likely counter-argument that I have seen posted already is "stream 1 should promote stream 2 more!"

Why would Stream 1 ever do that? What exactly is the incentive for Stream 1 to plug a different stream for people to turn off the one they're currently watching to go somewhere else? The goal of the stream is to keep people watching that one. And I heard tell of mixed signals from people who were hosting on Stream 1 about whether they should plug Stream 2 or not. The signals are mixed all around on this one and I kind of just think the signals are busted on surface level, you will always hit this paradox. So Stream 2 inherently relegates itself to be marginal unless Stream 1 wants to actively undermine itself to promote it. This dynamic seems less than ideal?

I've also read plenty of complaints from viewers on Something Awful to know this is not exclusively a me thing. To paraphrase their feelings, they kept missing things trying to bounce between the two streams and just found it hard to keep up with the content. I don't think the intended(?) aim of Stream 2 being "something you can swap to, to suit your tastes" is working very well in this light. The viewers aren't navigating it too well, I don't think channel hopping is something Twitch viewers are used to.

One common complaint raised by them as well is the fact that on the website, the Stream 1 and Stream 2 schedules are not side-by-side, but Stream 2 squared alllll the way at the bottom. This made it even harder for them to figure out what the heck was running on the two streams at once, and was by far the most common complaint about Stream 2 I read on there.

I don't get what Stream 2's goal is, here. I get mixed signals on the intended tone or point of it and I've never quite understood what benefit it actually brings to the event in a metrics-y sort of way? Like, surely there's something because y'all are clearly brighter sparks than me when it comes to event management, but it's not obvious to me at all. Having a lot of content to put on YouTube? Because that's like, all I've got. Running an entire second stream as well seems like a whole hell of a lot of effort when from over here it doesn't seem like it's doing a whole lot for the event.

so yeah came out swinging there but that's more or less how Stream 2 scans to me, seems like it just causes weird ripple effects with everything else in the event to an aim that I find unclear and causes even more confusion over the tone of the event. Hey, tone!

Tone Deaf

This is a more abstract concern but I may as well bring it up anyway. While I think this ESA had a much firmer grasp of its own identity than past events, there are still some confusing elements.

ESA itself seems to want to position itself as something akin to "GDQ except you can say fuck a few times", or something of that nature? If I'm wrong then hey-oh that's the problem right there, but that's the sense I get. One of the issues with this is that attempting to court any position that communicates itself as "less strict than GDQ" will inevitably attract people on the complete opposite end of the spectrum who are total douche canoes. You can see this from a lot of things orbiting ESA, tone of the chat (which veered into pretty shit at times), attendees who's presence I can only describe as having to be endured more than anything (some of these people have even been banned from marathon duties so I can only assume people are aware of how much ass this is but then I still have to put up with some of them??), the whole flag incident and even posts in this very thread with cool insights like "These GDQ rejects think they run they show." revealing that they are less interested in ESA as an event unto itself and more that it's being seen like somewhere to be free from GDQ's ""censorship"". Tonal confusion like this practically invites that kind of person.

I know from experience and discussion that this is not at all what ESA actually wants, but I'm honestly unsure if it's possible to have your cake and eat it too in this regard. I don't see why not, but I'm generally uneasy about the pains that will inevitably be endured in trying to achieve it given how people have vastly different and occasionally stupid ideas about the bounds of acceptability. I have no firm answer, but I get the sort of sinking feeling it's going to inevitably converge on a GDQ-esque set of values anyway if it turns out that you cannot in fact, have it both ways. I find ESA exists in a weird in-between state at the moment where sometimes I just have to fob off some edgelord that the event's confused tone attracts. It's an infrequent occurence, but it's not really the sort of thing I want to deal with on holiday.

Concealed The Conclusion

you know I do this a lot where I write like war and peace and then end by re-assuring that I still enjoyed myself very much and I highly appreciate all of the effort put in by everyone and I wonder if it starts to sound insincere.

But just so I'm very clear, this was the best ESA to date. The best one. Head and shoulders. You all definitely have something to be proud of with that one, every ESA past a certain date has a shown pretty steady improvements which is why I bother laying out every single thought I had here in the first place, I actually think it could be of some value.

One of the questions on the survey was the "Would you recommend this event to others?" "Y/N" and I find this an interesting question because the answer depends on geographic region. If you're in Europe, it's a no brainer, absolutely. But historically I've had a hard time recommending attendance to my American friends. Hard to justify the cost of travel to visit Nowhere, Sweden when you have GDQ in your backyard, innit? This event I feel got a lot closer to me being able to finally sincerely wholeheartedly vouch to those people that they should attend. Closer. Still some ways to go, I think, especially since getting Americans to remember countries besides America exist is already a challenge but this event was an incredibly promising step forward. I have faith ESA can get there in time.

I hope I can continue being optimistic about ESA.

Tezur0Tezur0, QlexQlex and 3 others like this. 


and even posts in this very thread with cool insights like "These GDQ rejects think they run they show." revealing that they are less interested in ESA as an event unto itself and more that it's being seen like somewhere to be free from GDQ's ""censorship"". Tonal confusion like this practically invites that kind of person.

I'm not in the "muh free speech" camp at all, ESA chat should be moderated to get rid of people who just want to be disruptive, but that doesn't mean you should treat it like Club Penguin where you ban things regardless of context and don't aim for consistency and don't assume good faith. There is a reason why I gave a specific example; I think chat moderators should reevaluate it and try to see it from the perspective of the people following the run.

The flag incident was awful, I agree. ESA is not a venue for advocating for Apartheid or any other hateful policy. But I don't think "Sex Truck" in chat attracts racists. On the contrary, by banning harmless messages you're just giving them ammunition; they can point towards such incidents and say "look, the system is deeply flawed, please listen to our whitewashed fit-for-the-masses alt-light garbage".

MizterConfuzingMizterConfuzing likes this. 

I'll try to keep it short since I know you guys are already working on most of the points i wish to make about this event.

1) Better badges. I know you guys had big plans for this event's badges that didn't come through in the end. I hope next year you can at least realise the different badge designs for Attendees, Volunteers, Crew etc.
2) Badge security. As people mentioned above, the measures you took on the last couple of days were the best idea in terms of the security of the event from outsiders. Hope to see the measures implemented from the get go next year!
3) A third person on-site for both Hosting and Moderating teams might be necessary. I don't know if Aura and Trollbear had a third person onsite to work with them in moderating, but Maral and Ladaur were the only two heads of hosts. In both cases, they were lacking at certain times. Mods had to go to sleep at some point, leaving the intermission hosts to moderate donations, which is something most people must've been ill-prepared to do. A third individual that can take care of graveyard shifts might be necessary.
4) Better rationing on the Red Bull. We all noticed how much of the Red Bull was gone early on and when the rationing came to effect, it was too effective. By the end, I'm fairly we had half a fridge of RB that nobody wanted to take or simply couldn't, despite the "All cans must go" sign.
5) Turn down that one speaker in Stream 1. Whoever is sitting next to it in the audience can say goodbye to their ears. Either reposition it somewhere else or turn it down.

Besides that, I don't know where to begin to sing the praises for this ESA:

1) Better location, with much easier access to more central airports.
2) Trains had great service to those who rented airbnb.
3) All the relevant rooms were around one, central and easily traceable hub, making jumping from one room to another very easy.
4) Food had great variety and was easily accessible. Personal recommendation: the salad bar in the ICA supermarket on the bottom floor of the shopping mall.
5) Community is incredible as always! Very varied and very passionate towards speedrunning and what we gathered there to do.

See you guys next event.

FatzkeFatzke likes this. 

This is the first time in four years that I have not attended in person. So instead I stayed home as a viewer and enjoyed the quality runs.

The good!
-Good variety in games represented.
I'm mostly looking for GTA games, so the fact that several games were accepted was a big win in my book. The GTA boys delivered with good runs and entertaining commentary.
-Shout to Kyle for his first ESA run!
-Shout out to English Ben for his first ESA run!
-The 170 something player SM64 was good fun and something that could become one of the main attractions of the event each year. Seeing as no other event does this.
-Hosting for the most part was okay, some awkward moments ofc, but that is to be expected.

The bad..
-I was originally a chat moderator this year, but that kinda went to shit and I was kicked off the team LOL.
-The chat was over moderated, as several people have already stated.
-Some donation readers were really hard to understand. I think a certain level in english is needed for this job.
-When hosts are struggling to find something to talk about they should just transition to a different scene, instead of just being awkward on camera.
-I agree with whoever wrote about the partner/sponsors shout outs. Some of it seemed very off and badly timed.

All in all it seemed like a good marathon.
Wish I could have been there in person, but becoming a dad ans stuff kinda got in the way. Hopefully I'll be there next summer!

crazycharliehcrazycharlieh likes this. 

• I want the coffee maker to be running 24/7. I know, we got free coffee (and PopCorn, and ice cream, and cold fresh water) and complaining about it makes me feel spoiled. But, when the marathon is being ran throughout the night, and people completely ignore a "normal" sleeping schedule, it makes close to no sense to me to only have coffee available during the afternoon. I assume this was due to hotel regulations and/or lack of hotel staff during the night, but some way it should be doable, maybe?🙂 (I do know you could buy coffee downstairs, this is not a big issue for me, just a wish if possible for next year)

+ Amazing event this year. Hotel and location was a huge plus, the entirety of ESA felt so much bigger, better and cleaner without losing the classic, amazing ESA feel. Tabletop room was a great thing to have (although, yes, improve on a mafia room 😉 ), arcades were amazing and stream 1 room really felt like the main attraction (as it should).

- My biggest concern this year was a common theme for ESA in my opinion, namely issues regarding different kinds of information. A lot of information was dealt out and spread through Discord, but some more clarifications could be set in the actual physical world as well. Who do you talk to about common questions, what if something happened, who handles specific tech questions, etc. I was also late to ESA and missed the volunteer meeting (I assume I would have made it if my train arrived on time and not 8 hours after schedule) and I tried to catch up by talking to other donation readers, hosts and tech before my first shift. I spent an hour or so to learn everything and then people agreed that I was fit for fight. Except I wasn't. On my first shift there was a lot of issues based on things I had not been told and the tech people on place didn't know what to do since they didn't operate the donations at all.

I do understand that this is partly (maybe even mainly) my own fault for not researching even better before my first shift, but a lot could be avoided if I, or the tech guys, knew who immediately could help me out, either before or while the issues proceeded, to avoid me being unable to do my job for the first 30 minutes of my shift. Again, I am taking responsibility for my own lack of knowledge, but mistakes and problems do occur. And when they do, they should be dealt with asap..

There were also other informative issues, but those have already been spoken of while still at ESA.

In general though, great event, 9.8/10 would go again! ESA just continues to improve! Can't wait for next year, with or without free coffee!


Good points :
Location was super good
Hotel was amazing
A lot of resources free ice cream free PopCorn amazing chairs amazing screens
All of the games that were there were crazy good. Lotsa board games, lotsa PCs
Stream 2 was great and all the games on schedule were great!
Barely any tech issues on my end (!)

Points that can be improved (nitpicking) :
- I was a little surprised by the role Save the Children was having in this event. First of all, I double checked and I don't think Save the Children was thanked during the closing speech. The other thing is, I enjoyed having a video from Save the Children explaining how we impacted them at ESA 17, but there was no video of any sort this year.
Now, I'm considering that ESA is a celebration of gamers on top of a show, but the fact that the donations were flowing were making me puzzled as to why Save the Children did seem to be less in touch with us than the previous years. The ads for the Charity during downtime were a really nice touch, though.

- The rooms were used well with one intriguing adventure that I had : The tournament room. For Puyo Puyo Tetris and another tournament I couldn't find people who had their GDoc time slot alotted. I had to walk around until I would find some of the concerned people in Stream 1 room.
I really enjoyed the idea of a tournament room/google sheet but I think it should add a means to contact the TO.

- I was a little surprised that Ristar was in, I don't think that I had a notification aside from discord and I was not checking discord that often so I heard it from someone else first. If a bonus game gets in the schedule I think it is best to send an email to the runner 🙂

- I think the interviews were lacking a bit, and could have added a lot to the intermission hosting shifts. Could there be a form for the runner to fill indicating whether or not they would like to be interviewed, and anwsering a bunch of questions beforehand? This would ensure that the interviewers and the interviewed would have some anectodes to share and talk a little bit.

- I liked a lot that the streams were referencing each other in a bottom bar, but I don't think that was the most understandable thing for newcomers (especially when stream 2 was down, but still referenced in stream 1 as playing "Pringles"). I'm nitpicking here, but could it be that the feed of stream 2 can appear on stream 1 sometimes?

- Last and not very important, but the first donation incentives on stream 2 were a little too high for me

All in all : An amazing event. Going back to France hurt. Thanks to everybody who made this possible. See you next time!

FatzkeFatzke likes this. 

Don't have much to add except that this was the single best event I have EVER been to. Everything was perfect. The only comment was that the hotel rooms' AC weren't working. But everything else was perfect! Free ice creaaaaaaaaaam

Also, I paid for a hoodie but I got there late and supply had ran out. Staff said they were happy to give a refund but I haven't had one yet, so I just wanted to post here while I remembered as a friendly reminder. 🙂 Thank you guys, you've outdone yourself!

FatzkeFatzke likes this. 

I’m only about eight months late but I’ll still give my feedback. I notice it is too late for ESA 2019 but maybe it can flow into the ideas of ESA 2020. As all who follow ESA’s Twitter account know, I am one of the few people who attended all seven (summer) ESA’s to date which may bias my experience and feedback with regard to previous iterations.

The bad

– Why did wristbands get removed in ‘favour’ of badges?

Wristbands are great because they are small, not in the way and cannot be taken off. My badge, on the other hand, is literally always in the way due to its large size, is particularly annoying playing mafia and I can take it off and forget it somewhere. (Yes, this happened; I had it off during mafia, walked back to the main area after the game but got held up by Trollbear half way there.)

Some may argue that badges are easier to spot for security from far away but I will argue that checking a wristband at one of the only two entry points of the marathon (stairs and elevator) explicitly (like festivals do it) works just as well.

If badges are really here to stay (oh no D=) then I would suggest making them much smaller; so that they could be pinned to a T-shirt rather than having to be worn with an annoying lanyard around the neck or somewhere like that.

– Food options

Now to be fair, ESA16/7 were ‘in the middle of nowhere’, i.e. on the outskirts of a not-so-large town with very few food options as a consequence. ESA17 was a little better than ESA16 due to the regular Burger King delivery service. In my opinion, ESA18 was a (small) step down from this low level, though.

The fast food option was a McDonalds which closed at night, the pizza option was further away and much, much worse than shady Växjö pizza guy (I had forgotten how bad Domino’s can be in countries where they haven’t bought Joey’s), the all-through-the-night baguette option was a bit too bland for its price (ESA17’s hot dogs were much better) and Max was at the far end of the mall. The mall did have some great options but so did the mall in Växjö; the only significant difference being a Vapiano near the mall’s entrance.

Finally, I didn’t know where to get my kanelbullar except buying them at the supermarkets on the far side of the mall.

– I didn’t find the after-event party. I guess one happened, because I saw photos and I guess it was for the better since I had an intercontinental flight on Sunday early afternoon but it still kinda bugged me.

The good

– The layout of the conference floor, number and sizes of rooms was pretty much amazing. The best thing about it was probably a separate Mafia room, but also all the other small rooms served their purpose well as did the chill-out corner and the arcades. While I am a little bit anxious that there will likely be no space for Weeb Corner to be restarted (it was called off last year because most of us weren’t there and some only for a short time) that’s more of a minor setback than a major one. If required, we could probably move to a hotel room.

– The location, especially for international travellers

Now it’s the first time I actually needed it but it’s great to just have to fly to a big, international airport, hop on a train for a few minutes and get off. It makes it a lot easier for people from far away (like I was) to join – although to be fair, getting to Växjö wouldn’t be that much harder, only longer.

– The arcade expansion. Boy, those games were fun. Except Quick n Crash at which I’m just terrible xD

The Different

These points aren’t exactly for better or for worse, as in some will definitely prefer it the new way while some will prefer it the old way. I don’t think I can confidently say one side is objectively better than the other.

– A hotel as a location.

A hotel clearly comes with a number of differences compared to a big hall. Obviously, the ceiling height is lower and there are no ‘grandstands’. Also, everyone has a room on site should they so desire. The hotel room comes with a number of neat features like the stream being fed to the hotel’s info channel on TV, a real bed and a private shower. However, I also felt like the hotel room made it more likely for me to just disappear into it and single myself away from the party. So overall, the experience was closer (great layout) but also more distant (own room) to everything that happened … does that make sense?

The hotel also has free breakfast but as bizarre as it may sound that is also a two-ways point for me. I want my breakfast when I get up which basically means my sleep schedule was required to be a ‘normal’ one so there would actually be a breakfast. Because I was only at ESA for a few days it didn’t matter much but I can see me disliking it if I stay longer this year.

– The end of mass housing

I strongly assume that mass housing is gone forever. Which I find is an incredible shame; it ties in a lot to the previous point. When the only sleeping place is a mass housing hall, you can’t just linger there so I spend more time at the actual event. It’s also a lot cheaper than a hotel room which is not only a bonus for cheapskeets like me but also half a life-saver for those who have less means than I do.

On the other hand, the organisers dropped in the Discord channel how much of an organisational nightmare mass housing was and after hearing that I can only assume they are very relieved to finally see it go. I don’t want to place an undue burden on the organising team so I am fine accepting the current state of things.

The petty

A few things that I really disliked but that really didn’t affect my preference for either side. Ice cream only available at certain hours. Popcorn was salty! Hotel was cash-free, even in the bar. ESA’s not yet big enough to fill the entire hotel.

Out of these, only the salty pop­corn really needs to be fixed 😉


After ample deliberation, to me ESA15 still stands unreached as the best ESA thanks mostly to the great opportunities Skövde as a city offered and the way the House of Culture was laid out with the long walk to mass housing being meh (but considering it was cheapskeet sleeping: fine). I’m not sure if ESA18 or even already ESA17 would have outgrown the House of Culture already so I guess I’ll file it under great, happy memories.