One of the top questions I’m asked when people find out that I attend comic conventions is, “Do you wear a costume?” As often the most visible attendees and the people always chosen for the local media interview, cosplayers stick out to people who have never been as the most common attendee.
While I personally don’t wear a costume (I dress for conventions as a fashionable geek) and costumed attendees are still outnumbered by the unadorned, cosplayers are one of my favorite parts of any convention. The innovation and care seen in every costume astound and surprise me. Plus the childlike joy of seeing someone dressed in full costume from your favorite movies, television shows, and games never goes away.
This year for New York Comic Con, I took a look around the exhibition floor to see who attendees chose to dress as and how this reflects on the popularity of different video games. Video game cosplayers may not have been as plentiful as Doctor Who cosplayers, but what I did learn reflected some games people are excited to play and the continued influence of indie games.
1. Slender Man
Slender Man started as meme via the Something Awful forums and has grown to an internet phenomenon that inspired the development of video games about the character. One PC game, Slender has gained a huge following online and, as demonstrated by the sheer number of people cosplaying the character, he has continued to gain influence in the real world as well.
The added bonus of the Slender Man cosplay popularity was the added creepiness seeing them spread around the convention center. You would turn one corner and seeing him, and then feel him over your shoulder in another hallway, identical in look and silent watch.
As I taunted my husband, “He’s coming to get you!”
2. Any Assassin from Assassin’s Creed
With the upcoming release of Assassin’s Creed III and Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation, the number of cosplayers exploded for this game at NYCC. This was even true for the unreleased games with one cosplayer marching the exhibition floor as a flag-bearer for the original American colonies. But one thing that stands out for these cosplayers versus our other games is the intricacies and details needed for a great Assassin’s Creed costume. This is not a costume that you can choose to wear the week before, it requires more forethought and effort.
But the reward of these is the audible gasp of any passer-by and the small jump you get from them sneaking up on you.
3. Lara Croft
Similarly to the growth in Assassin’s Creed, some of the growth in Lara costumes can be attributed to the upcoming game. But in a fandom where the official game blog features cosplayers from around the world and a dedicate site was created to spotlight Lara Cosplayers, it would be a mistake to explain it away as just as a result of the release.
Lara Croft’s impact on gamers and women who choose to portray her is immense and can’t be underestimated. Plus with a wide variety of looks from the series of games, you can choose your favorite Lara to cosplay . But don’t take it from me, check out the page “Why We Cosplay Lara” to hear it right from the ladies themselves.
Check out the following galleries to see some great examples of these and other awesome costumes:
Kotaku’s NYCC Coverage
Comic Vine’s Gallery
The Escapist’s Gallery