Don’t Hate the Cosplayer, Hate the Game

Videogames are an area in which I have little or no expertise either as a costumer or as a consumer. Although I do often say I’m not a gamer, that isn’t one hundred percent true. I have certainly played card and board games a lot and am not entirely ignorant of the world of consoles and PC games. But, when it comes to the video games I do like to play, it seems most of them are either ones were the action takes place from your character’s viewpoint, such as Portal or Doom (yes, I’m dating myself ) or strategy games like Civilization or Sim City, neither of which are really about the threads. I suppose there are some old 90s ones (Has anyone but me ever heard of Sabrewulf ? I loved that game.) but 8-bit is not really where it’s at fashion-wise, and I’m not even going to pretend that the MUDs and MUSHES of the mid-nineties have anything to offer the conversation, although their descendants, MMPORGs like World of Warcraft (which fascinate and terrify me by equal amounts) seem particularly interesting from a costuming perspective, but as regular readers may already have guessed, I don’t really play well with others.

Games nowadays have graphics that were unimaginable until fairly recently, and the freedom to defy the laws of physics within the world of the game makes for both entertaining gameplay and gorgeous design possibilities. Characters with ten foot long tresses that serve as weapons, guns and blades larger than the person carrying them, fantastically ornate armor that would crush a human wearing it in normal gravity, and, of course, the rather fanciful anatomical *ahem* exaggerations on which I could, but for once shan’t, write a whole diatribe.

Having been to comic book and anime conventions I was aware of the popularity of gaming costuming within those two communities. After asking someone what the deal was with all those six foot long foam swords and armoured paramilitary types and realizing that costumes from games are almost as prevalent as those from anime and comics, and twice as impractical under real-world physics. Yet, somehow, people manage to pull them off with ingenuity, hairspray and duct tape. Making something that has no place in the real world live and breathe (and doing it well) is one of the things that is so very neat about the subgenre.

But what impresses me most is costumers who take it to the next step and recreate parts of the game that are not even obviously animal, vegetable, or mineral. Minecraft creepers, katamari, pac-men and so on. The ingenuity involved in costuming things that aren’t quite anthropomorphic, or even clothing, makes me smile every time, and I have become increasingly annoyed with myself at my vast ignorance of the subgenres these wonderful creations come from. I have piles of both anime and games waiting for me to dive in, but there is always something else distracting me, so I fall ever further behind.

So, thank goodness for the age of Google and Wikipedia, then– which allows one to at least have a passing knowledge of whole areas of fandom previously only accessible through the tedious process of acquiring direct experience, taking away valuable time allotted to watching cat videos on YouTube (OMG Maru! Ahem). Not to say I approve of dilettantism, because that would be thoroughly unfannish of me, but it is nice to have some idea what is going on some of the time. Which, come to think of it, is the motto by which I live my life, really. Particularly within fandom.

~España Sheriff, October 2011

Yipe! Volume 3, Issue 10