Making its first appearance at AVCon is Internode Powered by Brains, a unique event that invites attendees to don a sensor-rich helmet that uses electrical energy from their brainwaves to generate music. More than 130 people took advantage of Powered by Brains when Internode launched it at the Adelaide Fringe and WOMADelaide.
For the third year, Internode is the principal sponsor of AVCon, which runs from Friday, July 18, to Sunday, July 20. AVCon is a non-profit event organised by a volunteer committee. Established in 2002 with just 200 people turning up, organisers expect attendance to top 20,000 this year.
AVCon PR coordinator Dustin Wilson said AVCon 2014 had already set records. "We’ve already exceeded last year in terms of booth bookings," he said.
"We have more booths booked than ever before and they were booked out way in advance of last year. Retailers realise they’ve got to get in early or else they’ll miss out."
As well as colourful costumes and booths selling anime and video games merchandise, AVCon features special guests from the industry: AVCon 2014 guests include games designer and comic book writer Chris Avellone (Fallout 2; Neverwinter Nights 2; Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II) and anime voice actor Cherami Leigh.
Internode is also hosting international guest, Jon St John, the actor who gave voice to Duke Nukem in the Duke Nukem video game series, to attend AVCon where he can mix and mingle with fans.
This year, AVCon aims to throw off the misconception that it attracts only loner geeks by revealing attendee demographics from last year: Of more than 18,000 people at AVCon 2013, half were female, about 85 per cent attended with a friend or group and more than 70 per cent took part in cosplay.
Cosplay involves dressing up as a character from a film, book, or video game, especially one from the Japanese genres of manga or anime.
AVCon attendee Justine Gaudreau-Fewster said costumes were definitely her highlight of the show. "I love seeing what everyone comes up with and the amazing costumes they come along in," she said.
"It both expands my knowledge of the incredible work that people do in designing costumes and I also discover new anime and comics that those costumes are based on.
"AVCon is a really social environment. I've definitely made a few new friends. and it lets me catch up with existing friends who I might only see occasionally or interact with online."