Melbourne gamers gather in garb.
A few weeks ago, the Academy of Interactive Entertainment in Melbourne held an epic gathering in the hopes of forming the largest crowd of people dressed as video game characters. The event was overseen by the Guinness Book of World Records, who had painstakingly strict guidelines for the registration process.
Everyone who participated had to list their character's name with correct spelling, the game they first appeared in and the year it was released in order to count towards the record. Characters who first appeared in comics or cartoons before their video game debut were also excluded from counting. For example, listing yourself as "Mario from Super Mario Bros." or "Batman from Arkham Asylum" would have instantly been disqualified by the judges. I have yet to determine if my own contribution - "Team Rocket Grunt from Pokémon Red and Blue Versions" - is considered a "video game character" in the eyes of Guinness. In last year's Wisconsin record, many participants were simply listed as "An Angry Bird", so time will tell.
Despite the crazy weather battering people with repeated showers and chilling winds, the turnout was incredible. Melburnians proved that mere rain is not enough to defeat their mighty gamer spirit, and flocked in droves to Federation Square for the event.
During the festivities, AiE staff held quizzes and contests on stage while giving out free games and other goodies. A dance-off contest was held while stars from countless games mingled and socialized. Several cosplayers were summoned onto the stage where a young female announcer interviewed them while making hilariously embarrassing mistakes, such as confusing "Metroid" with "Metro Trains" (Melbourne's transit system) and referring to a Lara Croft costume as "Princess Zelda". The participants were nice enough not to correct her too harshly.
After a few short hours and drenchings, participants were counted by the officials and herded into an area they dubbed the quarantine zone, where they had to stay gathered together for a full ten minutes. Afterwards, people were thanked for showing up and given showbags full of gamer magazines, coupons and other goodies.
At the end of the event, it was revealed that while over 600 people had registered to attend, only 470 showed up to be counted towards the record. It's likely the rain played a large factor, but it was still more than enough to beat last year's best of 425.
The official word from Guinness has yet to be decided and the record application may still be rejected, but the results should be in by the end of June.
In the meantime, check out my gallery below, and visit the official Facebook gallery page for many more photos.
Credit to AiE for the group photos I couldn't take - I was in the crowd!