Thursday, March 28, 2013

PAX East: Cosplay and Getting Along

Ray in a cube
One of the things I love most about going to any convention is the cosplay. Our players at Threshold RPG have been cosplaying since before cosplay was a thing. We started having our conventions in 1997, and the very first players to dress up in costume did so in 2001. We had an entire costume competition with people dressing up as dryads (including a VERY brave guy in a weenie bikini and doing the beaver dance), salamaes, and even a gelantinous cube. You can see these at Threshold RPG's Facebook page, and oh, why don't you like us while you're over there?

PAX East had plenty of cosplay, and boy, people get completely creative and original with how they build these costumes. You can't just order a costume from a Hollywood set when you're wanting to cosplay these video game characters. Each piece is lovingly designed and created by the people who wear the costumes. Sure, you can buy a few pieces here and there, but you're not buying a complete Caitlyn outfit. Nope, that has to be put together by a dedicated fan with an attention to detail. Most comic book characters must be created in the same way, though, with Disney buying Marvel and the success of the Avengers, I expect to see lots of costumes sold over the next few years. (Don't get me wrong. I love anyone who's willing to dress up. The handmade costumes just impress me more.)

Me and Caitlyn - calling bot!
Over the last few years, I've noticed people putting each others' hobbies down more and more. I've got a friend who loves the cosplay at DragonCon yet mocks the people who go to DragonCon to game. I've seen sports fans who make fun of the "video game" nerds, and that just drives me up the wall. How is watching TV for two full days any more "cool" than playing video games for two full days? The sports fans vs. video gamer dichotomy has always confused me. We're so incredibly similar.

Georgia cosplayers

Sports fans are the biggest group of cosplayers that I know. Those jerseys that they'll buy for $200 a pop? Total cosplay. They're dressing up as the player they love so much. How about all the guys and gals you see with painted faces, hair, and color-coordinated costumes? Wait, am I talking about football fans or cosplayers? I could be talking about either! Go team!

Football and video games, at heart, are both GAMES. One game we watch and play rarely. The other one we play a lot and watch rarely. (Though with the emergence of eSports, that's changed. I watch several games a week.) There's no real point in mocking one or the other, right?

We won't even get into how many fantasy sports teams is so very much like making an avatar in a video game and watching the stats go up through various actions. You have an awesome spreadsheet for your fantasy football team that you go to the office to brag about? Well, the person next door may have an awesome DKP spreadsheet for his or her raiding guild. What makes one more acceptable than the other?

Anyway, there's a lot of common ground that we're missing simply by talking past each other. Cosplay is awesome whether it's happening at PAX East or at a Georgia Bulldogs game.

I'm gonna wreck it!

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