Thanks to iiNet’s latest sponsorship (and some pleading with my manager) I managed to score a trip to this year’s Adelaide Anime & Video Games Convention (AVCon), South Australia’s largest not-for-profit anime and video games convention. It’s only fair that I come clean before I continue – I hadn’t previously attended a ‘geeky’ convention, despite being a self confessed geek. Thankfully iiNet’s TopGeek winner, Cassandra, was there to shepherd the iiNet crew through the amazing experience.
The first thing that really struck me on the opening day was the cosplay (short for “costume play”). Plenty of convention-goers were dressed as their favourite anime or video game characters – from the familiar cap-and-jacket combo of Ash Ketchum to giant cardboard ‘Creepers’ and an amazingly detailed White Rabbit from American McGee’s Alice. They weren’t just dressed up for the cosplay competition either. Wandering around the halls, chatting and grabbing photos with all of your favorite characters made for a lot of fun. Personally, Team Fortress 2 and Doctor Who cosplayers really brought out the squealing fan in me.
Stalls were set up around the convention by various exhibitors selling, discussing and playing with all sorts of geeky wares. Replica swords (including a tempting Frostmourne replica), manga, gothic lolita fashion and plush toys were just a few things on offer throughout the day. It took all of my will power to keep from buying everything in sight. However, I did remember to buy a ‘companion cube’ pillow for the plane ride back.
Various games and gaming related competitions were also scattered around the convention with tournaments drawing crowds of cheers among the beeps and bangs. There were games to suit most people, from the frenetic action of Call of Duty: Black Ops and Street Fighter 4 to some old school Bomberman and the ever popular Rock Band. The volunteers had even set up a row of older consoles so everyone could have a go at classics like Pacman and Sonic Adventures.
Amid all of this, AVCon participants occasionally needed a bit of a place to relax. That’s when they would head to the iiNet ‘Chill Out’ Area. A few tables with pencils and various geeky puzzles were set out, along with a pool table, free-to-use laptops, some beanbags and a high-definition TV connected to an iiNet fetchtv service. It was also a clear space for Cassandra to hold her workshops and chat with the locals about how to be Australia’s next Top Geek. Meanwhile, a few iiNet staff were also on hand to answer any questions people had about who we are, what we do and how to get connected.
I have to say, I feel ashamed that I’ve avoided going to a convention of this type before. To anyone who hasn’t been to something similar and has any sort of passing interest in anime or video games, be sure to save the date in your calendars for next year’s AvCon. You’ll find a whole raft of friendly people to meet with similar interests, all while learning about more games to play, more anime to watch and more manga/comics to read.