AVCon, Adelaide’s premiere and long-running anime and video gaming convention, added it’s unique flavour to Adelaide’s CBD over 17-19 July 2015 and we were in attendance on the Sunday to check things out.
For Inferno and I it was a little weird, having attended the first few AVCons when they were based at Adelaide Uni. When I went last year with my wife’s cousin (Hi Matt!) it was pretty amazing to see how the event has grown since the last time I had attended in 2004 or 2005. On show in the Adelaide Convention Centre were a series of panels, screening rooms, stations with Wii consoles and some PS3s/XB360s, vendors selling goodies, an area for local artists to showcase and sell their fanart prints as well as a retro gaming room.
We ended up attending the Anime Review panel, but otherwise wandered around the convention floor checking stuff out. We were lucky to catch up with some old friends in the trading stalls from Shin Tokyo and dropped by Madman’s booth, picking up a few goodies along the way. Last year I got a bit caught up in the nerdery and splurged on too much merch, so this year I reigned it in and grabbed a couple of figures; Inferno did likewise.
One of the big highlights was the retro gaming room though. Supported and run by the team at Retrospekt, inside the room was a menagerie of awesomeness. We took the time to play Fantasy Zone 2 on the Sega Mark III, Alex Kidd on the Sega Master System, Super Mario Bros 2 on the Famicom Disk System (aka Super Mario Bros.:The Lost Levels), The Avengers on one of the arcade cabs, Battle Stadium D.O.N on the Nintendo Gamecube, Asteroids on the Vectrex (Inferno’s first time playing a vector console!), Ghouls’N’Ghosts on an NEC SuperGrafx and a terrible Power Rangers game on the Bandai Pippin.
While we had a great time, I felt that last year’s show was a little better owing to the closer proximity of all the rooms to the main hall as it felt spread a little too thin this year (though the new extension to the Adelaide Convention Centre looked awesome). We noticed this in particular when trying to find the panel rooms and the retro gaming room, with the latter being something I asked at one of the counters and was given an odd look by the person attending the counter, but to his credit he caught the attention of one of the other staff members and he sorted us out!
I also missed the rows of Ultra Street Fighter 4 arcade cabs as these were great fun last year. The current gen gaming area seemed a little weak, but that might have been due to the gaming lounge they setup where you pick your games at the front counter then head to a pool of machines to play. The concept sounded interesting, but I think it would have worked better to have the machines setup and people wander through to game on stuff ad-hoc or just watch other people play, more social and like an arcade.
Regardless of these points, it was still a great excuse to hang out for the day, get some food and nerd out. Being a Sunday the atmosphere might have been a little different on Saturday too, so that should be kept in mind as well.
Regardless of the above, well done to all the staff and volunteers for AVCon – it’s nice to see how it’s grown over the years and we’ll be looking forward to checking it out again in 2016!