GEEK is a 3-day indoor festival full of video games, future technology, retro-games, cosplay, board games, workshops, comic books, Minecraft cave, talks, tournaments, arcades, VR, Official Mario Kart Tournament, merchandise for sale, performing arts and more.
GEEK Dreamland 2017 Information for Visitors
GEEK offers a mixture of activities – some where you can just turn up, some you need to pre-book and others are only on at certain times. This is a family friendly event with something to suit all ages. With Sunday having the addition of the Octopus’s Garden for the under 8s. A schedule and map are given when you enter, plus details can also be found around the venue (such as the big map that tells you every game and console in each of the rooms). Dreamland is divided up into rooms/areas: Ballroom Blitz/Demystify Bar; Entrance/Markets/Pinball; Art Lab; Hall by the Sea; Arcade; Indie Devs/The Hub/Markets; Board Game Boardwalk; Mario Kart Raceway; Octopus’s Garden and The Shed. The map also tells you who is where in these areas and on what days.
There is a good-sized car park and parking for the day is £8.00 (there are different rates if you wish to stay a shorter length of time as this covers 15 hours). It is a short walk to the venue, which was easy to locate. Toilets are provided throughout and are also clearly marked on the map. They were found to be clean and well stocked (although one we found not all the hand driers worked). Food is available to buy on site or you could bring your own (although I didn’t see anyone do this). The costs varied from £5.00 for a House Salad to £6.95 for a burger or hotdog) – and chips either £2.50 on their own or £1.50 when added to a main). Another option was to leave the venue and eat elsewhere and come back in (by showing your wristband). The price list in the bar says that they are 2016 prices but I am sure they are still the same – with soft drinks and bottled water at £2.00 each and a variety of alcoholic drinks served in plastic cups included pints (4.00 draught cider); shots (£2.00), wines and prosecco (£5.00/£6.00), and spirits (£3.00/£4.00).
Highlights of GEEK 2017
- Opportunities to try out Virtual Reality – both on the Playstation Headsets and the Oculus Rift.
- Dreamland had been decorated well to give it a real games feel.
- A large number of different games/consoles available – there’s always something to be playing – with the only time waiting to play is if you want to go on something in particular.
- A good variety of games/consoles available – both old and new.
- The opportunity to meet and talk to other people passionate about gaming – including meeting the makers
- Bespoke 40th anniversary exhibition of original artwork from the 2000 AD comic.
- Play Nintendo’s Mario Kart in real bumper cars through every incarnation of the game.
- Plenty of video and photo opportunities – including coming out of a pipe!
- Opportunities to be creative – including artistically and with props.
- Multiplayer games – bringing people together and making new friends.
- All under cover – no need to worry about the weather!
- Seaside location – so opportunity to also visit the beach!
- Friendly and helpful staff. A special thanks to those at the Esdevium Games stand who were there to help explain the games – and even play with you if required.
- Fantastic merchandise available.
- Being able to see how games have developed – including seeing the same game then and now side by side!
- They have some of my old favourite games including Tekken and Lemmings!
Areas for improvement on day 1 of GEEK 2017
- Organisation of turn taking – especially on the Mario Kart bumper cars which felt a bit who could get into the bumper car the fastest after the last person got out – rather than thinking who was next.
- I would like it to be clearer about the rules of the virtual reality. I have a Playstation VR at home and it is quite clear about no-one under the age of twelve years old wearing the headset. After speaking to Noobz they apologised and said that their staff should have been making sure of this and went and put up a sign. However, it was the same story in the Ballroom Blitz where under 12s were actually booked in to have a turn. I was told on both accounts that it didn’t matter if the children only had it on for a short time (Noobz said this was not the case).
- I would have liked to see some more of the retro consoles – my son was particularly looking for an original Gameboy and couldn’t find one.
- I can understand that they cannot fit everything in each day but it was hard to explain to the younger children why they couldn’t compete for a Nintendo Switch because it wasn’t the right day.
- More modern games/products for sale in the merchandise (although I was impressed to see Playstation VRs available).
All in all it was a good day out, and would especially be appealing if it was wet weather. It was good to show the children what we used to play with and reminisce ourselves. For us the 8 hour round journey was a little much for what was on offer but would certainly go again if it were closer. I do think the venue was really good/suitable but for those who live closer. We did not pay to enter and I was told it was a bit pricey – especially if you were not a Geek but instead standing around holding coats for children.
For more photos from the day visit my GEEK Facebook Album
49 Marine Terrace | Margate | Kent CT9 1XJ
My family and I were invited to GEEK at Dreamland in Margate Kent, all words and opinions are honest and my own.