RPS Photojournalism(ish): Cosplay in the UK

By Kieron Gillen on March 19th, 2008 at 4:31 pm.

ItsaMe! Racial Stereotype-a!

So, yesterday I found myself in London. And, as you may have heard, there was a Guinness World Record attempt to set a record for the number of people dressed as videogame characters in one place. Since there wasn’t one before, it wasn’t exactly hard, but (er) a number of people (Gamespot report over eighty, but I heard both 85 and 86 bandied around) braved chilly weather to pose amusingly with each other.

Clearly, I took a load of photos of anyone who even vaguely looked like a PC game character.

Perhaps predictably, there weren’t that many. Cosplay tends to be primarily a console phenomenon. There were lots of Phoenix Wright guys and about 25% of those present were Marios (but no Luigis). Most of them were a class of kids, who were all sponsored by a real hardware company. En masse, this caused a worrying level of AW BLESSisms among otherwise cynical and stony-hearted games journalists.

So, not many PC peeps. That said, one of the best was…
Violence solves all problems. No, really. It's awesome. Go punch somebody today.

An impressive Gordon Freeman, who spent his time setting to anyone who passed his way with his crowbar. Here, I think he’s having a go at one of the Special Forces guys from Half-life, but I couldn’t quite work out who he said he was (he was wearing a gas mask, after all). He could have been a rubbish Psycho-Mantis from Metal Gear Solid, but let’s be generous and go with a Special Forces guy. Also, worth noting the Old Bloke Mario to the left, who was a clearly disgruntled dad of another cosplayer. I’m told that his wife went to the last cosplay thing with her, so it was his turn.

Also, Gordon carried the Guinness award thing, as demonstrated here.
The girl in green at the back was annoyed when a friend of mine asked her if she was Link, when in fact she's another one of those forest folk people from Zelda.

Also PC-centric was…
I just hope no-one masturbates over the Ulala photo.

This gentleman, who came as a Sims character. I actually interviewed him, scribbling down a few lines as I left my dictaphone at home. He’s Tommy from Sheffield, who ended up doing this as he loves videogames. Which is a good reason, as far as reasons go. We love videogames too, and on the occasional weekend have been known to dress up as our favourite ASCII Nethack symbols to celebrate the fact. He decided to go as a Sims character because it was the best costume idea he could do in a night. Which is practical, unlike our ASCII costumes.

He also looks worryingly like RPS-man-in-Saudi-Arabia Quinns, but that’s beside the point.

Also in the background of the full version, you can note DS/Wii-favourite Cooking Mama. She was apparently worryingly smart when talked to, opining in Edge-speak about the relative merits of the franchise. Also behind her is Ulala from Space Channel 5, which is irrelevant for us, but we’d like some of UK Resistance’s traffic, cheers.

Anyway, here’s Gordon setting about the Sims guy, which you can probably read as a metaphor for the heart of PC Gaming something or another.

This is probably safer in terms of risk-of-masturbation. But you can never tell.

It’s about this point I started scouring the crowd desperately for anyone who’s ever come out on the PC, which proved an amusing memory test. You give it a shot…

People trying to cross bridges despise Cosplayers, by the way.

When I’m reduced to remembering that Sonic Adventure was ported across to the PC, you can tell we’re in dire straits. That said, there was one which I only realised after the event. Which is the lady in the military outfit here…

The Sims guy really does look like Quinns.

Who I presumed as someone from Advance Wars, but someone else present examined her more closely and disagreed. He noted that she’s got a load of Hammer and Sickle stuff. Which means – especially as she was hanging around with Sims guy – that she may be someone from Red Alert. You tell us, readers.

Anyway – here’s a couple of co-developed games which were kind of cute…

He then ran off and climbed the bridge, before running along one of its metal beams.

This gentleman was really quite quiet, which kind of suits the Assassin sort of vibe.

I've no idea who half these lot are.

This caused some problem for me actually – I was trying to remember whether the worryingly unclothed for a fucking freezing day girl at the back was from one of the Final Fantasy games which turned up on the PC. She wasn’t – it’s X 2. However, when examining the photo, I also realised that’s an Alice in front of her. Which Alice? I dunno. Let’s pretend it’s the McGee one anyway.

(Oh – old british games press readers will be interested to know that Crash Bandicoot towards the right contained non-other than YS/AP/Arcade/Many Other Things veteran Rich Pelley.)

When the crowd dispersed, I also remembered that Final Fantasy VII was on the PC, which meant I could have taken the photo of another half-dozen people. Man!

Ulala seems to be in the back of a lot of these.
And, yes, a Lara Croft (trad).

And finally, I’m sure there was a Pac-Man version on the PC at some point. Freeware and emulators count, sez I. In which case, the Pac-Man and Ghosts chasing each other around were cute as hell.

I especially like how I've captured one of the load of camera people in this. It's funny. I don't know why, but it is.

Bless.

, .

40 Comments »

  1. AbyssUK says:

    This looks like a normal Friday night in Hull. If you replace game characters with Chavs

  2. Fumarole says:

    Methinks the Special Forces guy is supposed to be a Combine soldier.

    edit – yeah, make that Metrocop

  3. Alex says:

    Yeah, or a metro cop, from the beginning of the game – although those have white masks.

  4. Fumarole says:

    edit – boy is this thing squirley

  5. Mooey Poo says:

    It’s like someone’s taken video game characters out of their respective games, locked them in McDonald’s for 10 years, then let them loose in reality.

  6. James G says:

    Surprised we don’t see any TF2 or WoW characters, the latter especially seem quite fond of the whole Cosplay thing (what with the whole Blizzcon thing.)

    I’d have gone as Guybrush threepwood myself, I’ve already got the hair for it, and I’ve managed to knock the costume up in an afternoon before. It was for a pirate themed party, thus the option was obvious for any PC geek.

  7. Lu-Tze says:

    Yeah Gordon is a clobbering a Combine Soldier, said Combine Soldier was trying to persuade me to go too, but alas I have work.

  8. The_B says:

    Someone should have totally gone as a Grue.

  9. elias says:

    @James G
    Looks like Guybrush is in the shot with Alice and Rikku (from FFX-2, not FFXII). Also has Vincent (from FFVII).

  10. Mike says:

    Yeah, it’s definitely Guybrush. I ran into the guy at Videogames Live a year or so ago and he was in the same getup, rubber chicken and all.

  11. Kieron Gillen says:

    Elias: Fixed. Got changed during RPS’ editing process.

    And how did I miss the Guybrush? Man!

    KG

  12. Jonathan says:

    Hey don’t feel so bad about including sonic he’s had loads of PC games, Sonic 3d, Sonic R and the Sonic Super Mega Collection or whatever it was called.

    Besides, from what I’ve heard his recent games have been pretty pissy games as well.

    What? So only the authors are allowed to make puns now?

  13. Janek says:

    I really hope the metrocop took my advice and started littering, expecting Gordon to pick it up.

  14. Richard says:

    Yes, I was trying to be a Combine Soldier – vaguely using this photo for reference. There needs to be more game characters with long hair and beards, the only one I could think of was Zombie LeChuck.

    Also, my girlfriend (in front of Pacman in the first picture) reminds me that the first Phoenix Wright game has actually been released on PC in Japan. So, while she’s from the second game (as Franziska von Karma), there was a Detective Gumshoe there who you could probably count.

    At a stretch.

  15. Kieron Gillen says:

    As I was writing it, I was thinking “And Phoenix Wright is on webgame somewhere, yeah?”.

    (Good work, Richard.)

    KG

  16. Qjuad says:

    Awesome.

  17. Crispy says:

    I’m sure if RPS had pre-empted this there would have been a lot bigger turnout… of PC players.

  18. Andrew Armstrong says:

    Neat pictures, I need to do a costume for at least one Halloween to get my geek card completed, hehe.

  19. Lulie says:

    The “lady in the military outfit” was Raikov from Metal Gear Solid 3 (the character in the game — although effeminate — is actually male). She went to VGL 2007 in London too — you might be able to make her costume out better in this picture from then.

    While I went as Saria (pictured in the green wig, next to Raikov), Tommy the Sim went to VGL as Manny Calavera from Grim Fandango (a LucasArts PC game).

  20. Rook says:

    There’s an Aeris in there who was in the PC version of FFVII.

    (that many costume is gold)

  21. Kieron Gillen says:

    Lulie: Aces. Thanks for clearing it up. So many costumes, not enough time to look closer.

    KG

  22. dr_demento says:

    You know, this would’ve been a lot easier if you were a PC-centric games blog and not a PC-exclusive games blog. It’d let you talk about all those console games you keep trying not to mention, but you wouldn’t feel obliged to cover them!

    Not that you’re obliged to cover /everything/ PC-related at the minute. But nevertheless!

  23. Chris R says:

    Doesn’t Sakuracon in Seattle WA have LOTS of vid’ja game characters wandering around? The 2 times I’ve been there (06 and 07) there have been LOADS and LOADS of people dressed up as costumes from games.

    This last time I saw a Snake walking around with a box that had cut outs for his eyes… was pretty freaking funny. The box was big enough to cover him when he sat down, and he would sit there for a minute or two until enough new people had wandered into the vicinity, then stand up really fast, box still over his head. He had the costume down pretty good too…. it got lots of laughs from everyone nearby whenever he would pop up and they realized what he was.

    Anyway… I would think that Sakuracon would have much more than 80-85 people dressed up in costume, located in one place (Seattle Convention center). Just curious.

  24. Bas says:

    One tactical nuke in that crowd, and the world would be that much better again.

  25. Mark says:

    Damn straight Bas, a tactical nuke costume from DEFCON would’ve been ace!

  26. Kieron Gillen says:

    Chris R: Record attempts need adjudicators.

    KG

  27. Alex says:

    Aww, I think cosplayers are kind of sweet. I don’t know, I’d never even think of dressing up as anything but my horrible self, but I do enjoy seeing other people expressing how much they love something in such a way.

    I have the same kind of thing with LARPers – I have no inclination to partake in Live Action Roleplaying myself, but I have a strange kind of respect for people who do, they’re doing what they love and don’t care what anyone thinks.

  28. Kieron Gillen says:

    I admit, I tend to be on the “People who think people need to be nuked for having a bit of stupid fun need to be nuked” side.

    KG

  29. Winterborn says:

    dr_demento says:

    You know, this would’ve been a lot easier if you were a PC-centric games blog and not a PC-exclusive games blog. It’d let you talk about all those console games you keep trying not to mention, but you wouldn’t feel obliged to cover them!

    It might be easier for them but for people like me who own no consoles and only game on the pc it would make RPS that little bit less special.

  30. Jim Rossignol says:

    Surely the very fact that so many games are cross-platform now means that we can’t help being PC-centric, rather than PC exclusive? And we do reference console games when it’s relevant, we just don’t cover them directly, because that’s why this blog exists.

  31. Richard says:

    Yeah, I don’t think anybody at the event was really thinking “This is like the biggest gathering ever! We’ll hold the record for years!” Most of the people there had been to assorted cons in the past and know what the cosplay turnout is like.

    If I were a cynical man I’d suggest that Guiness held this as a separate event instead of just going to a con because they generate more publicity that way. I’m sure they’ll be invited along to the cons in the future. Maybe the cons will even start trying to compete for the record…

  32. James Lyon says:

    So, tell me: if the RPS crew had to (with the option of a gun pointed at their heads) dress up as a videogame character, which one would it be?

  33. Jim Rossignol says:

    I’d be the dude from Psychonauts, natch.

  34. Alec Meer says:

    A Peggle.

  35. KindredPhantom says:

    There’s a Jill Valentine in the top picture near to the Spyro.

    The Lara Croft cosplayer looks nice. :D

  36. Grace says:

    Well Im The ‘Worringly Unclothed For A Fucking Freezing Day Girl’ As Rikku From FFX-2.
    I Kind Of Regreted Wearing That As The Day Went On But Meh Was A Fun Day =)
    Shame There Couldnt Be More People But It Was On 2 Weeks Noticed To Most And On A Tuesday So Its Justified.

  37. ripman says:

    Gordon Freeman gets some donuts…