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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Cosplay - How Far Would You Go?

For those who've never heard of cosplay, short for costume play, it goes hand in hand with video games. It is a cultural phenomena that unites fans of not only video games but also manga, comics in general and science fiction. And it's fan base is growing.
One of my other hobbies includes cosplay. I tend to favor Steam Punk myself, but I mingle with all sorts of cosplayers. Here are just a few with whom I've personally interacted.
(Photos are Share Alike licensed with attribution - non-commercial use only.)
Unfortunately, that does not seem to include player of Eve Online. I've spent some time thinking about why that is. It could be that Eve Online is not a movie or a T.V. show but that doesn't seem to add up. There are plenty of cosplayers who do not rely on film or broadcast to develop their costumes. I'm one of them.

A more likely explanation is there just isn't enough recognition of Eve Online as a potential cosplay source. After all, how many real people actually play Eve Online and do they have the resources of time and possibly money to commit to Eve Online cosplay?

I know from my own Steam Punk cosplay that premium costumes, even if "found" through visiting all the local thrift and secondhand stores, are not necessarily cheap. Try buying a victorian swallowtail coat off the rack. Even harder to find are victorian style blouses, though corsets are a dime a dozen these days. The blouses though were constructed in ways that would vex a modern seamstress. I know, my lady bought one, took it apart, and rediscovered how they made the skin hugging blouse while still giving it pillowed shoulders. It was ingenious and not something you could do on a sewing machine.

With film based coplay there is at least a pool of online retailers where such items can be purchased, or at least patterns acquired. The same goes for a lot of Victorian wear, the previous example not included. When it comes to Eve Online though, not so much. And I believe that is a missed opportunity for CCP.

Fanfest starts today. Thousands of Eve Online and Dust 514 players are descending on Reykjavik as I type. I wish I was one of them, but I dallied too long and it was sold out before I could commit to the expense. Nevertheless, had I gone I would have had no problem dressing up. I consider it fun. It's live action role play (LARP) without having to put up with a game master's script. Those who participate in LARP know what I mean.

I don't think I'm alone in this. When I go to a con, there are hundreds of people who dress up. On Saturday night, the traditional Masquerade night, thousands cosplay. There are awards for the best costumes and recognition for the long time participant as well as the new bro just wanting to try it out.

This is something for which Fanfest is ideal. I wonder if CCP has ever given it any thought. I wish they would. Where else would you go for Eve Online/Dust 514 gear patterns and props? CCP could sell patterns to make the garments and drop suits and, believe it or not, people would buy them. After making their costume, they'll want a prop to go with it - like the parasol the young lady above carries to cosplay Kaylee from Firefly. Where else to you get blasters if not from CCP? Then all a person needs is a venue to show off their creations. That's Fanfest - for a start.

That brings me to another thing about cosplay devotees. They don't just keep it to the one event. When I started doing Steam Punk, there were maybe two cons where Steam Punk existed. That was several year ago. Today, I see Steam Punk at every con I go to. And if you search Flickr, you will see it has jumped cons. Steam Punk arrived at Comic Con in San Diego a few years ago as a trickle and today, though not a torrent, is an easily recognized genre of cosplay at the largest (arguably) con in the world.

So hey, CCP: with your new store opening today (with clothing!), as well as Fanfest kicking off, why don't you give some thought to enabling the cosplay community to enter the Eve Universe. Actively pursue and support that sect of fandom. You'd be surprised to see how far some of us would go to spread the fashions of New Eden to an unsuspecting world. Advertising that pays for itself, it doesn't get any better than that. And as a bonus, you'll attract an entirely new sort of Eve universe fan. So, if you're looking to enlarge your "player" base CCP, the cosplay community will back you up. You just need to make an initial effort. I recommend a Masquerade at Fanfest 2014. If that happens, I'll see you there.

Fly Careful


21 comments:

  1. You should never have armed your fellow bloggers with the information that you cosplay. NEVER.

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    1. I'm not ashamed of it and I don't care what they think unless they think it's awesome. It's not like hanging out on the twitch.tv chat and make lame lesbian comments as is happening right now. I'd rather cosplay thank you very much. Oh, and click the link for the word cosplay. It'll take you to a Google Image search on cosplay. Check it out and you'll discover why I like to cosplay. It's a damn sight better than listening to a bunch of blue-balls on mumble.

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    2. http://djhangedman.com/2012/09/19/hangedmans-guide-to-capsuleer-cosplay-intro/

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  2. Actually, the first commenter inadvertently hit one of the two reasons I don't think that there is Eve cosplay. You mentioned the first, no real recognizable visual media (unlike WoW, for example) unless you are going to dress as a Catalyst. More importantly I think it comes down to CCP pushing Eve to be as mean an environment as possible. The game, socially, is a dysfunctional middle school in which anything different calls for immediate attack and lack of self-confidence is covered with braggadocio and lame jokes that they think make them sound adult. Not exactly a breeding ground for cosplay.

    On Steampunk, how big an influence do you think Phil, Kaja, and company have been? I know that in the non-cosplay area Girl Genius is something of a gateway drug.

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    1. Last things first, I think Phil and Kaja have had a large influence. I actually got pulled (bad LARP experience - meh) into cosplay by friends and my lady was all for it because she LOVES Girl Genius - with a passion. I've not got to meet them personally - yet. I do a lot of events in the Seattle area though so you never know.

      As for your first paragraph, thank you for saying it. I was calling on CCP directly because I believe if the Eve Universe is to break out, CCP must go beyond the "dysfunctional middle school" stuff. I believe it is something they see too. I am just trying to nudge them into possible alternatives. There are enough role players in New Eden I think it's worth pursuing.

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  3. I think I see the answer to your question:

    Victorian clothes are amazing, and require genuine talent to make.

    To cosplay as an EVE character, throw an ultrasuede jacket (or a Member's Only jacket, if you still have one) over a t-shirt, black cargo pants, hiking boots, and a cheap pair of aviators. Done. Most EVE characters look like they've gone straight from Casual Day at the office ca. 1985 to their first rave.

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    1. So long as there is some thought into the costume that's fine. After that, it's all about one upmanship. It only takes a little kindling and a small match to start a bonfire. I see some pretty awesome drop suits in Dust 514. After seeing a few of the Batman neoprene costumes in person, I think drop suit costumes are very doable.

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    2. Dersen,

      Talking Minnie, yeah sure, they all look like Bender from the Breakfast Club, however, I'd totally rock an all black Amarr Coat, Pants, Boots combo... Finding someone to make the coat would hard as hell, some serious detail in that thing.

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  4. You've seen Sindel Pelion's tattoos, right? Do they count as cosplay?
    I believe she had also posted on Eve cosplay once, or pointed to a CCP post on styles befitting the factions.

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    1. In the Eve Universe, you bet'cha! And all my thinking about why no cosplay for Eve mostly started with that past. ;-)

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  5. I have often wondered how much a real version of the Slaver Hound leather flight jacket Tur wears would cost me IRL... =]

    The problem w/ cosplay & EvE is twofold:

    (1) I will bet you a bISK that a very VERY vocal majority of players would respond, "EvE is a Harsh and Hard, Cold and Deadly Game, it aint for Dress Up Sissies!" (understand I do not feel this way, but I will give you a Nanoribon plated guarantee you many would if asked) and...

    (B) Your ship is your avatar in EvE, and I seriously don't wanna see anyone bumbling drunkenly down a Ryek street dressed as a Typhoon... just a bad image all around no matter how you spin it...

    No, Incarna WOULD have been the best opportunity for (some) EvE players to relate to their Toon Avatar instead of just their ships... but sadly the truly piss poor management of the roll out of Incarna (no godsdamned CONTENT to go with the Avatars) drove the stake in the heart of that potential... possibly for good.

    Damn shame too... some of the cosplay ladies are OMG worth the effort to get into it... =]

    I am afraid CCP will continue to try and sell players way overpriced virtual clothing for their incredibly detailed, but just as incredibly useless avatars...

    You "might" have a shot with DUST Dropsuits, CCP at least has one very detailed wearable suit, seen it in a Dev Post, but that aint EvE, that's specific to DUST and those same EvE players who will LOL and say "Dress Up Sissies" will say the same about the DUSTers too...

    One downside to having EvE created and produced in Iceland primarily by Icelanders is I don't think they really get the real marketing potential of EvE... I'd of actively pushed for Model kits from snap together cheapos to Tamiya Museum Quality (http://www.tamiyausa.com)... T-sirts, Jackets, clothing from ingame, DUST Dropsuits, weapons, etc., etc. ...

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    1. 1) They can grow the fuck up.
      B) Don't forget Dust 514 my friend. And if World of Darkness comes to be, that is cosplay gold. I'll admit, my Steam Punk is as much Goth as SP. :p

      Back to the "VERY vocal majority," I've seen that reaction before. Most cons I attend are in public hotels after all. They don't bother me, they don't offend me and they sure as hell can't stop me. Let them say whatever they want. This isn't about them.

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    2. Oh yeah, WoD will be cosplay city. That's already a huge and well-established part of the game's culture. Also, the WoD costumes are, by all accounts, going to be amazing... for the wrong reason ("to attract female players"), but hey. It'll at least catch the eye of WoD fans.

      CCP's use of that gendered logic makes me relatively sure that they believe that anything other than bland clothing (at least for men) will repel male players. The first comment here certainly plays out along those lines.

      I have a pink dress shirt IRL--it's a standard part of the male dress wardrobe, going back decades. I'm not sure why Dersen can't have one, too, and I pity anyone who feels threatened by a color.

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    3. In Victorian culture, pink was the male color and blue was for females because it was associated with the Virgin Mary. The reason pink was the male color was because it was a mix of white and red. White was the color of honor and red the color for courage. Wearing pink was an indication you had both. It was also considered a "strong" color, a desired make attribute. This continued into Edwardian times. I know this because much Steam Punk is Victorian oriented. I wear pink proudly.

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    4. Man ya'll totally missed that... "(B) Your ship is your avatar in EvE, and I seriously don't wanna see anyone bumbling drunkenly down a Ryek street dressed as a Typhoon... just a bad image all around no matter how you spin it..."

      Just imagine a FanFest FULL of badly modeled EvE ship costumes worn by drunken EvE players staggering all over Ryek...

      A group of "Are those supposed to be 'Rifters'?" guys hanging out by the door into a bar then screaming and JUMPING all over some poor guy who staggers out wearing a poorly made Armageddon (that's been puked on...) while some other guy inna crappy little noob ship costume runs up, kicks the guy in the 'Geddon suit, then runs away screaming, "I'm on the Kill Mail!" "I'm on the Kill Mail!"...

      I LOLed real tears at that mental image...

      EvE Cosplay IS REAL!!!! LOL

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    5. In Cornwall there's an event with a hobby horse which looks a bit like someone dressed as a black Dominix.

      http://www.quirkyguide.com/event/obby-oss-day-cornwall

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  6. I own a Skaven mask and a latex halberd. If there's ever an EVE/Warhammer crossover fest.....

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  7. I think it really just comes down to the environment. You are your ship for most of the time. If there is any kind of cosplay recognition, it may be restricted to face tattoos and hairstyles, with some generic outfit. How could you otherwise tell an EVE Online character from anyone else? At least with other games/films/shows there is something distinct to copy.

    Sure, DUST and WoD have possibilities, but EVE itself is simply not yet associated with the pilots anywhere near as much as the ships and what costumes are visible are not distinctive enough to make specific EVE cosplay viable.

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  8. Interesting read. I note that many attendees at Fanfest will wear their corporation/alliance T shirt with pride (Pandemic Legion for example). Might not this be considered a green shoot of cosplay in EVE?

    I think for EVE/DUST cosplay to really take off would require a less generic racial look to avatar clothing. An increased level of avatar costume choice and customization might encourage individual and recognizable player corporation/alliance looks. A CCP cosplay event at fanfest, or at other player gatherings, would also stimulate interest.

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    1. It can since player corporations and alliances are encouraged game entities. It really does but an interesting spin on Eve is Real doesn't it? ;-)

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