Cosplay is a very labour intensive, expensive, and dedicated hobby. As a cosplayer, I know firsthand the frustration, sweat, and (quite often) tears put into the work to attain the perfection in an outfit. As much pain as cosplay seems to require, the payoff is even greater. When people see their favourite characters come to life in someone’s hard-earned cosplay, it can make their entire day or even convention experience. When this dedicated hobby meets another hardcore, intense hobby that a vast number of people take part in, things can get intense and become something new: the gamer cosplay.
Gaming is a hobby more people than those who identify as nerds participate in, and therefore people who would usually be uninvolved in the cosplay community ( in which I am using anime and manga cosplay/cosplayers as the center of), have evolved to become a large and continuously growing part of the community. Gamers present a unique part of this due to their intense dedication to not only the story and characters of their game, but the world of the game through the actual game play. During game play as a character, I feel one can develop closer bonds with the character, as you, in a way, have already been them in game play. You look through a different lens at their different mannerisms and speech patterns, as opposed to someone who decided to cosplay from a manga, which is a very different experience. This often allows those closer bonds to form with their characters than those who cosplay from other mediums. Players form attachments to their favourite characters just in the same way other cosplayers do, but as opposed to a show to watch, gamers must unravel the world around them through game play, including the stories of their beloved character.
Another key to the gamer cosplay is usually the intricacy of the outfit itself and building it as opposed to just making it. Building Samus Aran’s power suit from Metroid is a much different process than making a Sailor Moon sailor scout uniform. The dedication is of a different sort. Games often times don’t hold the detail that a comic book or manga would have, and it is largely up to the cosplayer themselves to discern what details they want to add or leave out and what medium to use. Lots of games involve battle suits and armour, and it is often times up to the cosplayer to find tutorials and constant efforts of trial and error to find the right look they wish to have for their armour. Also in this realm is the difficult construction of female game outfits; often times they are extremely tight fitting, revealing, and hold exceedingly difficult parts to construct, such as many of the female champions in League of Legends. For the gamers cosplaying these female outfits, it takes a great deal of self-confidence and assurance to feel comfortable enough to emulate these fantasized and perfectly animated characters.
While all these things are relevant to regular cosplayers as well, in my opinion, gamers feel added pressure when cosplaying due to the intense dedication all members of the gaming community have, and not wanting to let down either their character or their community. However, when all the work has been completed and all the pieces and parts attached, the payoff is so satisfying, not only for the cosplayer, but for the people who fawn over their favourite characters brought to life. While the mediums of creation and immersion into the world and story of the character may be different, the reason why gamers cosplay is the same reason as any of the other cosplayers do: to pay homage to their characters and to show their love for the world they inhabit.