AVCON 2014 –“Hail to the King Baby”

For those who do not know, AVCON is an anime and video games convention held annually in the fair city of Adelaide, South Australia.

The history of this prestigious event dates back to 2002 when volunteers of the University of South Australia’s Japanese Animation Society and Adelaide University’s Video Gamers Association combined their efforts and created AVCON. With attendance now soaring into the tens of thousands, it has become one of the largest conventions hosted in Australia.

This year’s AVCON was no exception; the theme this year was Fantasy RPG and boasted 3 international guests.

Jon St. John, Best known as the voice of the legendary Duke Nukem in the Duke Nukem video game series from 1996 onwards. However Jon has voiced many notable characters along his illustrious career, most notably, Big the Cat in Sonic Adventure, Otto, Archibald and Professor Simon, Characters in both Runaway titles , Rochard and the narrators voice in Forsaken. Not to mention Jon is really a great guy to talk to, very friendly and was more than happy to record his voice as Duke Nukem, introducing our very own Retro Domination Podcast for the 50th Anniversary show. “Thanks Jon”.

Jon St. John

Chris Avellone, who currently works for Obsidian Entertainment, responsible for the Fallout series (From Fallout 2 right up to New Vegas) as well as contributions in the fantasy genre of gaming such as Icewind Dale, Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance and most notably Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic II. Chris also writes Comic Books, including the Fallout Comics, “All Roads” and Star Wars books such as Unseen, Unheard, Heroes on Both Sides, Impregnable, Old Scores and Graduation Day.

DSC00937

Cherami Leigh, best known for her amazing voice work on English-language versions of Japanese Anime series and Video Games with Funimation/OkraTron 5000, Studiopolis, NYAV Post and Bang Zoom! Entertainment. Starring in both Anime and live action roles, Cherami’s notable characters from Anime are Sailor Moon – Minako Aino/ Sailor Venus, Tales of Vesperia, The First Strike – Estellise and Dragon Ball: Curse of the Blood Rubies – Pansy. Also known for her character voices in games such as Borderlands 2 and Mugen Souls Z.

DSC00905

AVCON featured many different areas with the vast space it was given within the Adelaide Convention Centre, the most intriguing however came from the “Indie Games Room” .We met with many up and coming developer’s with truly unique and wonderful ideas for games, ensuring that we stayed within the retro bounds, We were fortunate enough to see some fantastic games.

Indie

Cuttle Scuttle “Cuttlefish survival meets 8-bit retro-gaming” Developed by Danimations. Here is an excerpt from their press release “Cuttle Scuttle is a one or two player cooperative arcade game with a nod to several retro gaming classics, including Ms. Pacman and Bubble Bobble. Cuttle Scuttle offers maze after maze of increasingly frantic game-play and plenty of surprises!” Check it out at http://cuttlefishcountry.com/cuttle-scuttle Thanks Dan.

DSC00933

Another cool retro inspired game was Gargula Bloodrush, developed by Paranormal Games “ A 2D arcade game that throws you into a nightmarish retro style world of horror and gore, that combines fast action play and a darkened, high contrast color scheme. Along with its hard-hitting soundtrack and renaissance setting and enemies. Playing as a vicious Gargoyle set free from its stone tomb to lurk across the rooftops destroying any living thing in its way, or so it seems…” Excerpt from the Paranormal Games website and its available right now for free on both Android and ITunes, there is no excuse for not picking this game up now. http://www.paranormalgames.com

DSC00916

Last and certainly not least, we met with Leigh from Throwback Games, who will be releasing “Jam It” for the Commodore 64. That’s right! You read correctly, this game was made for the C64 “Jam It’ is an arcade style 2-on-2 basketball game for the Commodore 64 and C64 emulators. Do complex controls in modern basketball video games annoy you? In ‘Jam It’, one button is enough to make extreme dunks, jump shots, shot blocks, passes, post up plays and steals! Featuring the most intense plays and entertainment ever crammed into 64K!” http://www.throwbackgames.net

We have been fortunate enough to receive the final build for “Jam It” and the illustrious Darren Borg will be writing up his review on what looks like a fun 64KB Basketball game. We will also be having some exclusive one on one time with Leigh, creator and mastermind behind Jam It and Throwback Games on an upcoming RD podcast.

DSC00917

What convention would be complete without a classic gaming area? Thanks to our friends over at Retrospekt, the Classic Console museum was in full affect. I believe 16 consoles in all as well as four arcade machines, including two MVS cabinets. Everything from the beautiful pixels of an Atari 7800, to the crisp fluid animation of a Samsung Nuon. As well as obscure games on display, such as Veccy Bird (Flappy Bird) for the Vectrex and Bruce Lee on the Amstrad CPC6128. Would this be a little teaser of what’s in store for PAX 2014? You’ll just have to wait and see!

DSC00906

Retrospekt also hosted the AVCON annual Super Video Game Trivia Challenge Panel, special guests included none other than Chris Avellone and Jon St. John, hosted by Paul Monopoli, the quiz was a nostalgic trip back in time, with familiar screen grabs, music and awesome game trailers, paying tribute to both Chris and Jon for their contributions to video gaming.

DSC00939

Of course Cos Play is a key asset to any convention and this one did not disappoint, from Lego Batman, Optimus Prime, Darth Vader, Sonic the Hedgehog to Jack from Nightmare before Christmas, as well as a giant Tekkaman and Teknoman Sabre roaming about, not to mention a cool leather synthetic helmet wearing, sickle arming Black Rider aka Celty Sturluson, Truly amazing efforts.

Jack

This years AVCON not only treated the eyes and ears to stunning visuals and wicked music, it was also a huge a success, with heaps of room being made available for the thousands upon thousands in attendance. It was also nice to see a PAX Australia banner near the console gaming area, just salivating at the lips of what is the come later in the year.

Cat

As Duke Nukem would say “ its time to kick ass and chew bubble gum and I’m all out of gum”

[youtube id=”BtL-pD2yMFM#t” width=”600″ height=”350″]