Located in Adelaide, South Australia, is AVCon one of the country’s largest anime and video game conventions. As a connoisseur of both, I couldn’t miss the chance to poke my head and and take a look. Armed with my trusty notepad, I set out to discover the secrets of this event…
History of AVCon
AVCon started back in 2002 by the University of South Australia’s, Adelaide Japanese Animation Society, and the Adelaide University Video Gamers Association. Back then it was called A/V Connection. Since then it has evolved into what it is now, AVCon. A huge convention with one simple goal. To bring both video game and anime enthusiasts together.
Every year lovers of anime and video games travel from all over Australia for this one event. Attendees share their art, their brilliant video games, their board games and they share their passions. Astonishingly, AVCon is run entirely by volunteers! That’s right, no one gets paid. If you’re curious what it’s like to be a volunteer at a convention. Click here to read Ron Morrow’s article about what it entails.
Games, Games and More Games
AVCon runs for three intense, fun filled days. It’s located in Adelaide’s exhibition centre, which allows for an outstanding number of events and stalls to be held. The main hall is arguably the busiest. It’s where gaming tournaments are held, where the game stations are, along with stalls, the indie games room and many other exciting activities.
Upon entering the exhibition centre, you walk into a large room full of stalls. Much like other conventions, these sell apparel, comic books, manga, graphic novels, and replica weapons. When you move into the next section of the hall, the atmosphere changes completely. There are large game related banners, and game stations everywhere. If you want a hit of nostalgia, AVCon has you covered. There are so many retro video games that you will think you’ve travelled back in time. And with the large number of consoles available, the wait time is nearly non-existent.
But if retro gaming isn’t your thing, don’t worry, they have current gen games. Although, don’t expect to be playing Detroit: Become Human. AVCon mostly focuses on multiplayer games, such as Smash Bros. However, I didn’t play the retro nor multiplayer games this year. I was too focused on what The Indie Games Room had on offer.
The Indie Games Room is a small area filled with new and exciting video games by local developers. However, most were in early-access. Despite that, a lot of them were fantastic and have great potential. One of which was Bloodbeard’s Revenge, a pirate themed RPG adventure.
I expected many first-person action games, but to my surprise there weren’t any. The majority were multiplayer and puzzle games. There was even Backyard Cricket VR, which looked hilarious. Nearly all of my time was spent in The Indie Games Room. However, we can’t dwell here for too long as there is so much more to talk about. Competitions and events are held nearly every hour, making it so there’s always something to do.
Throughout the day there were numerous panels on cosplaying, guides to live streaming, building your own tabletop RPG world, D&D for dummies, an auction, and guest star panels. You can even sit back and watch people battle it out in Tekken 7, Dragonball FighterZ, Sega Bass Fishing and so many others. Or just watch speedruns. But if none of those strike your fancy, grab something to eat and watch some anime.
Artist Alley has over 70 stalls. The stalls are run by local artists, some cosplayers and Twitch Streamers. It’s ideally located on the outer section of the exhibition hall. Behind the stall are large panes of glass that give you a great view of the Adelaide Torrens River. The artists sell many different products, ranging from hand-made figures to beautifully drawn pictures. It’s also a great place to hang out with some local cosplayers and Twitch streamers. Annoyingly, some of Artist Alley is quite skinny and can be a challenge to manoeuvre through. I tended to avoid that area but, if you’re a local artist, it’s a great place to network.
Once you’ve had your fill of Artist Alley, take a walk up the nearest staircase and into the tabletop gaming area. It’s much less hectic up there and gives you some peace of the hustle and bustle of downstairs. There’s a free Gundam workshop, where you can keep what you build.
Also, they regularly host role-playing games, such as Dungeons and Dragons, and Warhammer. As well as an indie tabletop game section, where new developers can trial run their games. This years was Blood of the Clocktower; unfortunately, I didn’t have the time to play it. But if you just wanted to play with friends, you can loan board games and card games.
Late Night Parties and Cosplay
Oh, and I can’t forget about Saturday night’s quiz night and Neko Nation. Neko Nation is Australia’s biggest anime and cosplay party.
It has fantastic DJ’s that keep you partying all night long. I mentioned guest stars before and I can tell you’re curious. The guest stars were: Spike Spencer, Major Sam Cosplay, Knitemaya, Vera Chimera, Beke Cosplay, Neil Kaplan and Steamkittens. Let’s leave the main hall and enter Artist Alley.
On Saturday and Sunday afternoons AVCon hosts cosplay events. I loved going to these and seeing the cosplays created by the amazingly talented artists. Sunday’s cosplay competition gathers a much larger crowd than Saturday’s, as the more professional cosplayers enter with the hopes to win a cash prize and a trophy. This year’s cosplay competition was also judged by celebrity cosplayers, such as Major Sam Cosplay and Knitemaya. Some of my personal favourites were LillaBeeCosplay as Guild Wars Tier 3 Norn cultural armour set (Pictured above), Axe Massacre as Lucy Westenra (Pictured below) and VikkiVampire as Mercy (Pictured in the feature image).
AVCon was an absolute whirlwind and I loved it! If you’re ever in Adelaide, Australia in July, I highly recommend you attend. You won’t be disappointed.