Convention - AVcon 2006 Day 1
by Jon Hayward,
I personally arrived late at the convention, but fortunately with a press pass I didn't have to go through registration. Entering through the Eclipse “Games” hall on the fourth floor, I was surprised that you could actually walk up to the consoles, compared with last year when you had to fight to make your way to position to watch. Actually the best way to work you way through AVcon is to travel to the highest floor (in this case, six) and work your way down. So I went into the mature gamers room on the sixth floor, with Halo in full force.
The fifth floor was the traders, with one hall containing Madman, Wai-Con, Pulp Fiction, Thunderbox, Shin Tokyo, Oztaku, Thunder Box and Tsunami Hee Ji. The unibar also contained traders, with Meatbag Manifest, Tamarket, Strike Magazine, Australian Costumers Guild, OzAnimart and Vitae Clothing. And while I had a quick scan over the goods, and they seemed to be decent in range, I did not take a involved looks I will have a closer look tomorrow and report back.
The fourth floor, we've already covered the gaming, but it also had a separate arcade, and a tournament room which was packed for most of the competitions. The chill out room had DS tournaments, pocky and people relaxing, but the sheer amount of people there surprised me, considering that the chill out room last year was underutilized. But then this was probably assisted by the DS, the cosplay screen and the AVcon shop all being in the room.
The second floor had a fairly good registration setup, I'm told that everyone moved through extremely swiftly first thing in the morning and it's no wonder why. However the artists seemed to be a little neglected down on the bottom floor by registration, but at least everyone who enters the convention sees them and the art competition.
I spent most of my day floating around the anime screening theaters, Gundam Seed Destiny being one of the Madman launch titles at this convention. Ouran Host Club, Tsubasa Chronicle, Fate/Stay Night and Kerokero Gunsou being the standout titles for today, but all anime was given a hour time slot, with two episodes being screened if time permitted. However the more interesting item was the Pirates vs Ninja game show, otherwise titled the “Train Wreck”. Premise is simple, four a side game show, six rounds, winner receives all the prizes. Rounds ranged from “know your enemy” where pirates were asked questions on ninja and vice versa to “Who goes Thar” with the competitors answering questions to figure out who was hidden behind a panel (with the pirate captain scaring everyone by guessing that one of the people was Ayane with only a corner of her behind for reference). The crowd seemed to get into the spirit of things and enjoyed the event, with the pirates taking home the loot, so the event wasn't a complete mess.
The standout event of the night had to be the Quiz Night, teams of ten answering questions on anime and gaming to win. I believe there was about 20 teams in this particular night, and many laughs were had. It's quite surprising to see a room this full of happy people for the length of time the night ran for. Probably the only down point being the pizza delivery being delayed due to a slack pizza shop, causing two of the volunteers to step behind the counter to get the sheer amount of orders completed. But people were content to wait and the quiz master, Mark, kept the crowd entertained and in check. Ironically enough the winning table by 12 points was the group from Wai-Con, giving the victors a bag of swag and bragging rights for a year.
The main problems going around were that the unibar room was not getting enough foot traffic, leaving a couple of retailers starved for attention and that volunteers were not showing up for their shifts, causing the rest of the staff considering alternate careers and leaving more than one zombie at the end of the day. Considering how exhausting day one was for me when I was only covering the convention I'm not surprised how hard Team AVcon has been working to pull this convention off. All I can say is that I can't wait for day two.
The day was wet and rainy. The food was cheap. Adelaide was… well, Adelaide. And yet, the lines were long. Such was the opening hours of AVCon, Adelaide's premiere convention for the fans of anime and video games.
Actually, the lines weren't that long. Purveyors of E3 would not be daunted by the likes of these lines, especially those of the Nintendo Wii. Even so, for Adelaide, this was pretty impressive.
Once inside, one had access to all four or so floors of anime and video games, and their assorted paraphernalia. The bottom floor was registration and two theaters, the fourth was video games and chill rooms, the fifth traders, and the sixth, mature gaming.
The gaming halls this year were excellent, with some of the offerings from the latest consoles on show, and a grand selection of all your favorites, ranging from Rockstar's Table Tennis to Missile Command. Yes, the original Atari 2600 Missile Command. Guitar Hero was on show with two battle axes, and seemed to be the focus of much interest.
The rest of the floor contained the chill out room, the arcade, and an activities room. This matched the quality of the rest of the convention, which is to say, high. On to the next floor.
The fifth floor, the traders hall, was an expansive collection of gaming and anime gear, with one booth selling original gameboys and a copy of Legend of Zelda for the NES. A lot of the more common, and some of the more esoteric loot could be found, although I was disappointed by the general lack of FLCL and Maho Sensei Negima! Gear, particularly of the main character. But that's just me .
Sixth floor. 15+ only, show your driver's license at the door. On display was a 16 player Halo 2 setup, several Gamecubes with Resident Evil 4, and more importantly, Nintendo 64's with Goldeneye and Perfect Dark. On a mezzanine level, developers were showing off the Half-Life 2 mod.
At the end of the day, AVCon held its annual quiz night, which held much merriment, and referencing of prior quiz nights (you had to be there). I don't want to boast or anything, but our team from Perth took the prizes, proving once and for all which city was better.
Overall, it was a very satisfying day, and I really can't wait for tomorrow, where much merriment and arse-kicking will be held. See you there!