Top 10 Greatest Moments in Cosplay
I have worn the same costume for Halloween for 10 years. White nylon jumpsuit. Silver boots. Bam. I'm a spaceman.
Every year. Year after year.
This holiday dress-up behavior is much to my family's consternation and much to my friends' confusion. Because they all think I am cheating by wearing the same simple outfit year in and year out. They think dressing up for Halloween is all about a great idea, stressing out about being clever and novel, and about being unique.
But, of course, every year I have a cool costume while everyone else scrambles at the last minute to dress up like a hobo or a cowboy.
So while the rest of the world plays a dress-up hit-and-miss at the end of October, my outfit gets better every year. Because I understand what a costume is all about:
Commitment, style, authenticity and honesty.
Commitment is about going for it -- about, say, wearing the same costume over and over for 10 years to show that you are, well, committed.
Style is about strutting your stuff. That's the silver boots. Come on, silver boots are sweet wherever you come from.
Authenticity is about getting it right, and what says spaceman more than a white jumpsuit?
Finally, honesty is about setting aside all your clever little ideas and owning your idea. You know, like -- OK, so maybe my costume isn't that great in this category. But it makes me understand how hard costume greatness can be.
But even though Halloween gets all the costume love, every gamer knows that the hardcore dress up like videogame characters year-round. So, with amateur night right around the corner, it's time to put on the old space suit, kick back, and assess: the 10 best videogame costumes. Cosplay has never been more fun.
10. Left 4 Dead
We love zombies. We love people dressing up in costumes. We love Left 4 Dead. Put them all together and what could go wrong? Nothing? Nerds will love you. And the game makers will love you, too.
This costume earns high marks in accuracy, but only scores average for style. Costumes based on hit games are so yawn.
9. Lara Croft
Ah, say what you will about Angelina Jolie -- freaky Hollywood starlet, Brad Pitt's wife, savior of the children and crusader for justice -- but to videogamedom, she will always be the First Actor to Get a Game Character Just Right. As time goes on, people will forget that the movie was based on the game, and not the game character based on Jolie's curve-for-curve portrayal.
While scoring zero points in the honesty category, this costume makes it all up in accuracy and style.
It takes a certain nerve to dress up as a 2-D sprite. It takes even more power pills to run around a school library dressed like Pac-Man. Sure, the costume itself fails to reach the obsessive detail required to admit you into the cosplay elite. But, hey, performance counts, too. Throw in a cameo by Blinky and you have successfully demonstrated real cosplay grit.
Here, authenticity takes a hit, but who cares when people run around in a costume in a library?
7. Iron Man
Yes, we know that Iron Man is a comic book character. And the name of a really cool metal song. And a movie. It is also the name of a game. And it is in the name of this OK videogame that we declare Paper Iron Man the second-coolest office-supply costume of all time. Why second? Because...
6. Master Chief
...The honor for the coolest office-supply costume goes to Tape Master Chief. We know, you love your videogame fantasies. But do you have the nerve and the talent to make your own costume out of stuff in your parent's junk drawer? No, we didn't think so. Finish the fight, Tape Master Chief. We've got your back.
Making costumes out of stuff around the house maxes the commitment meter. Proving that caring a lot is what makes dressing up like a pretend someone the real deal.
Space Channel 5 was a pretty sexy game, what with that perky space raver Ulala strutting her stuff for the aliens. Then we arrived at E3 in 2000 to meet Ulala in person. And, hubba hubba. The show floor came to a stop whenever the Space Channel 5 show started, and eyes and tongues boinged out all cartoon-style when the digital diva arrived in the flesh.
Sigh. If it weren't for the fact that this was a blatant marketing effort wound up in sexist imagery, it'd be perfect. Negative one-million honesty points. But otherwise, I repeat, hubba hubba.
The Mega64 kids -- because they care. When it comes to making a human-sized Colossus, complete with a full-sized Wanderer jumping on his back, well, you have another great moment in cosplay. See kids, it's about having a classy idea and not just about the details.
OK, it's not accurate, and OK, it's not honest, and sure, it shows little commitment, but if you have as much as style as these guys, who cares!
Like a cover tune, the best of cosplay combines a faithful understanding of the original with something that just makes the subject your own -- like Joe Cocker singing the Beatles. And on that standard alone, seeing sleazy porn star (OK, so that's redundant) Ron Jeremy dressed up like Mario is just so wrong that it's right. Once you get over that little vomiting tickle in the back of your throat, you really do wonder: If Mario were a real guy, he'd probably look like the leering roly-poly Jeremy. Yuck. I mean, wow.
OK. Sometimes you toss the criteria out the window. There is just something awesome about this costume.
2. Chun Li
Now you can go ahead and laugh at this getup. But what the Crispy costume judge sees here is either a) a well-honed sense of irony and satire poking fun at the exaggerated sexual stereotypes in games, or b) a fan lost so deep in his love of Street Fighter that he doesn't know we are laughing at him. Hopefully, though, it's c) all of the above.
Oh wait. Is that a girl? Oh man, sorry dude. But it's still a cool costume.
But you get second place? Does that make it OK?
1. Tron Guy
In the world of pretenders pretending to be someone pretend, no one holds an LED watch to Tron Guy. Either he does not care, or maybe even does not know, that everyone is laughing at him. But once the laughing stops, the admiration starts. This guy is hardcore. He loves his Tron way more than you love anything. More than your wife, your kids or your dogs. Tron Guy loves Tron. He is the ultimate cosplayer.
Style: 1,000,000 points
Accuracy: 1,000,000 points
Commitment: 10,000,000 points
Honesty: 1,000,000,000 points
All Hail, Tron Guy. All hail.
[So, we didn't include your favorite? What, you think Jay Mohr riding a turtle is better than Tron Guy? Fine, this is a free country. Post your links and make your argument. Halloween is the deadline for fixing the top-10 list.]
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