I assembled a team of cosplay professionals to see if the gaming women of today have what it takes to strut the red carpet of Comic Con. From the practical to the practically ludicrous, today’s female video game characters often straddle a fine line of taste.
Since I typically roll out of bed, grab a plaid shirt from the "day old" pile, while throwing on a pair of jeans from the "week old" pile; I asked some cosplay experts – the mistresses of material, the champions of the cloth, the nerds of the needle and thread – to help me judge the outfits of some of today’s gaming royalty.
- Gallery: Cosplay from Wondercon
Why choose experts in cosplay? Simple. When they look at a character, they see cloth, seams, zippers, and what it takes to turn two pounds of material into something amazing. They just don’t live it; they also wear it to conventions. While they each approach cosplay differently; they all bring style, class, and a passion for video games to the judge’s table. And without further ado, here are your judges.
Holly Conrad - I save the galaxy. Sci-fi fanatic, geek, creature and costume designer, FX artist, BioWare con carnie. The Designer in Comic Con Episode IV: A Fan's Hope, Morgan Spurlock, Joss Whedon, Stan Lee, and Thomas Tull's documentary about the wonders of comic con and awesomeness of geekdom, out April 6th on demand and in theaters!
Meg Turney - A cosplayer and nerd-hostess who has battled Locusts Hordes on the Epic Games Campus, Meg picked the brains of comic book legends, and grilled pop-culture royalty at Comic-Con. She currently hosts event coverage for deviantART, Inc, is a featured host on CraveOnline's newest tech review show "TechKnow", a correspondent on the upcoming YouTube show "Geeked", and has her own video podcast, "MegaBit".
Chrissy Lynn – Skillful as she is on and off the cosplay runway, Chrissy both designs costumes for herself as well as others as they take on Comic Con and any other convention she can get her hands on. Make-up artist aficionado. Team member, writer and fellow model for Nerdy Girlz.
And now for the contestants. These gaming models come across the gaming spectrum from fighters to shooters. Some of them play the main role while others simply play as eye candy. Our female judges judge on practicality, style, and most importantly, would they cosplay this. It’s time to find out who’s going home a winner or going home for a change of clothes.
Bayonetta brought high kicks as well as a bit of controversy when she hit the scene. The skintight outfit made of nothing but her hair leaves little to the imagination, but will our judges tell her to cut it?
Holly - She's a supernatural character, so I can understand her need for inhuman proportions. She's a badass, I'll give her that, but her costume is too impractical for any kind of fighting. I don't think I would cosplay as her.
Meg - Ah, Bayonetta. While I probably wouldn’t fight crime in crazy gun-heels, you have to appreciate that she’s fairly well covered for a videogame vixen. I’d absolutely rock this costume if I were a foot taller – short Bayonetta wouldn’t be right.
Chrissy - I really dig this outfit, it conceals but still has sex appeal without over doing it especially the open back of this body suit. The only thing I would change is the extended fabric on each elbow. Despite popular belief, it doesn't do anything for her aerodynamics plus it could get caught on say something like EVERYTHING!
Anya Stroud comes from the land of Cogs and giant city-eating worms. Gears of War 3 showed us that war knows no gender. As long as you can carry a Lancer, you’re a part of the team.
Holly - I want to like this character. But her purpose in the game almost seems to be “I'm like one of the guys! But I'm a girl! HOW WEIRD!” and that turns me off from her costume. So I'm on the fence, I think the giant boob-cogs are just awful costume design, personally, so I doubt I'd cosplay as her on that alone.
Meg - Clunk, clunk, clunk. Anya’s armor fits right in line with her COG brethren, but it’s just far too blah for me. I love a lady in uniform, but there’s just nothing sexy about that armor. Anya’s look doesn’t do it for me at all.
Chrissy - The practicality in this outfit makes sense with the exception of maybe not enough arm coverage, but her gear would make some sense in the real word. I've seen seem pretty amazing cosplays of her that are very convincing to me that this character can exist in the real world.
You started out so young, so pure, so fully dressed. Sophitia from the SoulCalibur series started out as a warrior princess only to lose most of her clothes through gambling and an easy way to reel in a younger crowd.
Holly - Definitely way, way too girly and revealing for me. I can't even wrap my mind around her costume. If she can fight with boobs that big, more power to her. Definitely impractical, poorly designed, and clearly made just for sex appeal. No.
Meg - Poor Sophitia. She started out with quite the lady-warrior outfit, but by SCIV, she’s been reduced to sheer scraps of fabric that hardly cover a thing, which is really par for the course in the SoulCalibur universe, isn’t it? At least she has some cool sandals. There’s no way I’d ever take on this costume - if I wanted everyone to see me naked, I’d leak cell phone photos like a respectable girl.
Chrissy - Ok, let's talk fashion tape or boob adhesive for a minute here. I understand the simplicity of greek fashion I get it. Sure, it's cool on a hot day in the islands, but as agile as she is with that sword and shield there's no way her boobies are not going to pop out in the middle of battle. Nipple coverage is not gonna fly in the practicality of a real world setting.
You have to say something about consistency. Even as a soul-sucking succubus, Morrigan manages to maintain the same outfit through several iterations of the Darkstalkers series.
Holly - Never in a million years. This character was created completely for sex appeal, not only could I not pull it off, but I'm just not interested in being a character like this. Also, why purpose do wings serve on her head?! I don't even want to go there.
Meg - Another character whose boobs magically stay in place with no support at all. If only IRL boobies had the same abilities. I love the printed tights and batwing antlers, but whoever designed the costume without shoulder straps was either someone who hated cosplayers and wanted them to suffer - or a dude. I’d love to do Morrigan someday, especially because she’s my lady of choice in Super Puzzle Fighter and we have identical laughs.
Chrissy - She's probably one of the harder cosplays to manage. Though I've seen some really good ones, I give praise to those who pull off the body type and logistics. Plus I love the color scheme. This outfit can easily be achievable, but not really be practical. Again her boobs may pop out without the assistance of medical adhesive, which does wonders in the performing arts world and is a handy tool for cosplayers and costume makers.
The classic sex symbol of gaming returns with fewer noticeable polygons. How will our judges react to Lara Croft’s new makeover, trading in skintight suits for bandages?
Holly - I love the new Lara Croft, it's really a great improvement from the older games. In the new game she sort of has a Hunger Games meets Indiana Jones look going on, which I think is awesome. I'd love to cosplay as her, but as a rule I wait to play the game first to see if I really appreciate the character.
Meg - Here’s a lady whose wardrobe has gone in the right direction. I’ve never had a problem with Lara’s part costumes, save for the ridiculous sunglasses, but they’ve never really thrilled me, either. I’m not sure if “blood-soaked, tattered pants and tank top” really count as a costume, but hey, I dig it.
Chrissy - Your outfit was always easy to compile and cosplay. Nowadays, you traded in your plastic physic and size D-cups for a much more anatomically correct exterior. I feel your outfit is practical, maybe not so much the shorts however your climate changes often and for the most part it must be humid as all hell so more power to you.
With all this talk about costuming, I want to find the worst of the worst. Each of our judges offers up the gaming character that they hate to see and think they would be better off staying in their virtual homes until they can find a nice shirt or some pants.
Holly - Alright, the worst dresses character in gaming is a hard call, but I really don't understand Fran from Final Fantasy XII. I don't even know whats going on with this characters. Bunny ears, no clothes, HEELS, what...is she supposed to be a warrior? It's just absurd.
Meg - Ashley (Resident Evil 4). Maybe this is because I have an unhealthy hatred for Ashley as a character, but the sleeveless turtleneck, the unnecessarily large belt, the too-long, I-stole-this-from-a-Catholic-school skirt, and chunky boots are just awful. She looks like a rejected extra from Clueless. Surely the president’s daughter can afford clothes that aren’t stuck in the 90s. Sadly, you expect a lot of things from Ashley, like that she’d know to run away from zombies and learn to keep her mouth shut, but she lets you down every time – I guess the crappy clothes are really the least of her shortcomings.
Chrissy - As far as the worst dressed gaming character who should NOT leave the virtual realm and I may get some grief for this, but in terms of cosplay I find that I appreciate female cosplayers portraying Link form the Zelda series more so than men. But that's really the only one I can think of. For the most part I like them all, if well executed.