Cosplay and Gaming: Why it Matters

We’re here to shed a little light on the Cosplay and Gaming Crossover Community.

Do Cosplay and Gaming Mix?

Last week was Part One of my continuing series on Cosplay Creation, focusing on Tyene Sand from Game of Thrones. (PLEASE check it out if you haven’t had a chance to). In my enthusiasm to start this project, I didn’t take the time to properly address a key factor: why does Cosplay matter for a Gaming oriented Site like BoLS? Today I hope to answer that question for the community, and to provide a little bit of illumination for future pieces.

To break it down, Cosplay is an AMAZING field of artists and hobbyists, of nerds and actors and models, so many people with a passion for expression which allows for a beautiful element of transcendence between genres. In recent years, Cosplay has become a main aspect of my professional modeling projects, and has opened a variety of doors that I had no idea existed. My gaming experience as a youth was watching and playing various Nintendo games like Final Fantasy, reading all of the books about Dragonlance and D&D, and occasionally talking about or playing different systems with my friends.

As an adult and model, the world of Conventions has opened my eyes to an amazingly diverse world that breathes a new life into fandoms I have cherished since childhood. I have had conversations on Twitter with Margaret Weis about my desire to create a Raistlin Majere cosplay, which she applauded. I walked the halls of RTX, the Rooster Teeth Convention, as Sorceress Edea, striking fear into the hearts of Final Fantasy gamers everywhere. The opportunities for expression in gaming are LIMITLESS.

How Gaming Conventions are changing the Cosplay Game

The year I created my Sorceress Edea cosplay changed the way I look at modeling, and at Cosplay in general. One of our favorite local gaming stores, Dragon’s Lair, held a Cosplay Symposium which challenged Cosplayers to design and execute completed projects in a specific time and budget to be judged in store. Not only was there a category for Anime, there was one for Video Game characters. I competed, winning 2nd place overall. My entry won the attention of a Cosplay Coordinator for a gaming convention in Colorado, and I was asked to come as Cosplay Guest and Judge for their very first Cosplay Contest.

This was an amazing idea for me, as I had been a guest at Anime and Cosplay conventions, but this was the very first Con SPECIFICALLY about gaming. I was THRILLED!!! I have always felt more comfortable with gamers than a cosplayers, so being at an event that featured so many of the tabletop events I am so passionate about got my blood pumping. I competed in the Catan tournament wearing my full cosplay garb, and played D&D at a table with both a Regional Coordinator for the Adventurer’s League, and a WoTC coordinator who was influential in designing the 5th Edition of D&D.

At the end of the convention, I was approached by some members of the Colorado gaming community who wanted to thank me for being there. They had no idea that the Cosplay world had so much to do with their passions, and were excited to see what we Cosplayers would bring to the table at future conventions. DREAMS WERE MADE! I finally had my finger on the pulse of both gaming AND cosplay!

Redefining Passion for Gaming

Cosplay is a field that has an incredible amount of momentum and power. Instead of going to a convention and only playing games, there is an opportunity to see our favorite characters brought to life in front of us. We can become immersed in game culture in a new, visceral, highly personal way. We are no longer on the outside of our favorite game systems, we can step inside them and truly get into the heads of those characters. Cosplay is the paintbrush that allows us to create pictures of how those games make us feel. It allows us to step out of our daily lives and into the mindset of our favorite heroes and villains. It allows us to have a connection to OTHER fans of these worlds. I can walk into a gaming convention anywhere in the world and find someone dressed as Cloud Strife, or Terra Branford, and INSTANTLY know this person shares my love of Final Fantasy.

A future project under consideration…

I can design a Yvraine cosplay and know that the Warhammer 40k fans will flock to me to share their stories and memories of their favorite epic battles. And most of all, I can, for the first time, feel connected to the hearts of all the other gamers I meet. Cosplay is bridging the gap between gaming and social networking. So yes, dear friends, Cosplay IS important to the BoLS Community. Cosplay is powerful, and poignant… And it is here to stay.

~Cosplay and Gaming, the perfect blend of our favorite Genres, is here to stay.

Learn more about Mayhem’s Muse

  • Damistar

    It used to be called LARPing. I must admit the Cosplayers do add a nice variety to the gaming conventions. The more the merrier.

    • NNextremNN

      Not really LARP is playing a RPG with costumes in a “real” environment with story and all that stuff. Cosplayer usually just run around on conventions in costumes and just want to look cool.

  • Korvalus

    Go for it. Yvraine is a beautiful miniature and in cosplay must be awesome. I did some 40k cosplaying some years ago, to the Games Day convention in Barcelona, and I know a local group that does it as well, Frikiroom Cosplay. So there is tabletop cosplay running around, albeit few.

    Honestly, I don’t know the reason. Maybe we tabletop players are still afraid of the “weeaboo” misconceptions of cosplay, or many lack the time-cash-know how to make them. And it’s sad, we could use some more power/sigmarite/chaos armor out there…

    • Kevin Maloney

      Seconded. I imagine the headpiece would be an interesting design challenge.

    • TenDM

      I think it’s also just really hard. 40k is full of detailed models and paintings that aren’t made to human proportions. The stuff that’s right for humans usually requires a tall person and a ton of detail. I always appreciate it when I see someone who gets it right because it’s so much harder than video game, movie and comic stuff that features more realistic cast members.

      • Jennifer Lynn Larsen

        I LOVE the challenging aspect of converting comic and game characters into real life. the attention to detail and construction is CRITICAL there. It’s easy to make a character recognizable in Cosplay, but to do it proportionately requires skills that aren’t always intuitive.

  • Breaker

    Roses and Boltshells <3

  • backoos
    • EmperorOfMankind

      yep, pretty much.

    • TenDM

      Nah. It’s just like when you see that model and you have to build it and paint to exact faction standards. Imagine if you enjoyed costume design and prop construction more than painting and modelling.
      It’s like saying we only paint our models because we want people to complement them.

      • backoos

        I disagree, when I paint my knight with proper heraldry I’m doing it because it’s how I want it to look I’m not doing it for attention, you can tell because I don’t make public instagram/facebook/snapchat accounts for my knights or place links to said accounts every time I make a post.

        • TenDM

          People who cosplay pay attention to the details for the same reasons. They’re not all doing it for attention they’re mostly just either proud of their work or doing it professionally. Pictures of people’s paint jobs, and pictures that are taken to advertise professional painting services, are all over Instagram and Facebook.
          These are very similar hobbies. The big difference is that cosplay is much harder unless you’re trying to win awards. Spending hundreds of hours making a costume isn’t something people would bother doing for attention.

          Saying cosplayers are in it for the attention is like saying you play a board game to beat kids. You’ll definitely find people who do it, but you’d have to be clueless to think it was the case for everyone or even the majority.

          • Lion El’ Jonson

            Even if they do it for attention I wouldn’t find a fault with it.

            I paint to a really good standard precisely for people to gawk at my plastic crack.

          • TenDM

            Nothing wrong with getting attention for something that deserves it like hard work and skill.

  • piglette

    Good cosplay can be VERY impressive.

  • Kevin Maloney

    40k cosplay, when done right, can be a glorious thing to behold. I’m always happy when the professionals do it.

  • UnpluggedBeta

    I don’t agree with this; I’m glad that it exists and that people can go to conventions and dress up as whatever, but real life feature creep brings all sorts of drama, law problems, and lawsuits.

  • NNextremNN

    Why does a article about cosplay features so few actual cosplay pics (1 and a convention advertisement and 3 others with no cosplay)?

  • Lord Blacksteel

    “And most of all, I can, for the first time, feel connected to the hearts of all the other gamers I meet.”
    — Do you not play games? That’s really at the heart of feeling connected to other gamers – Playing the games.

    “Cosplay is bridging the gap between gaming and social networking.”
    — What gap? Gamers have been talking online since the days of the 300 baud modem and meeting up to play since the 60’s. Gen Con is -50- this year. in fact, for pretty much every type of board, miniatures, or role playing game you have to be plugged in to some kind of social network, whether virtual or based around the local con scene or the FLGS.

    I’m fine with cosplayers doing whatever they want to do but let’s not get carried away here.

    • Jennifer Lynn Larsen

      I’m speaking of the gap between cosplay and gaming. There is, for some reason, a wall that exists sometimes between the previous generation of tabletop gamers like myself, and the newer generation of cosplayers. I have been playing tabletop and video games since I was old enough to roll dice and hold a controller. But being from a small budget Navy family that moved constantly, I was not often afforded the opportunity to attend gaming events or to see conventions until after College, when it was part of my workflow as a model.

  • Inquisitor Valeria

    I think cosplay is awesome, and I think tabletop gaming is awesome. Of course the two put together would be awesome! I have daydreams about making a Dark Eldar Succubus costume and then putting my 7′ tall husband in Incubus armor to be my bodyguard all day.

    • Jennifer Lynn Larsen

      That sounds AMAZING!!! Do the thing and send us pictures!