For awhile now it has been in my mind that we need to discuss the involvement of cosplayers and the fighting game community. You may be asking why? Well, as someone who not ONLY is a cosplayer but someone who competes playing fighting games and supports the community with content, there is a very misconstrued idea some still have in their head that cosplayers aren’t or can’t be more than cosplayers in this scene. Or some people think those who just come out and cosplay their favorite fighting game characters aren’t there because they love this environment.
I can’t tell you the amount of time people acknowledge me only for my cosplay. I appreciate the sincerity and kind comments, but I am more than that. I don’t think any of us enjoy people not seeing us for our worth. I definitely do not.
We are all so much more than that to this community.
Before we cover those who do compete that are cosplayers, let’s go over those who are cosplayers in this scene who don’t compete. This is important because even if these people only cosplay, you should recognize they are supporters to this scene. These people are still just as needed to the community. These people are bringing some of their own favs and our favorite characters to life in an environment they should feel happy to express such in. Imagine going to a convention (not an FGC tourney) and most people might recognize that you’re cosplaying as Mileena, tell you they love your costume, but do they know about Foxy taking Combo Breaker 2016 with Mileena? Probably not. What about cosplaying as Chun-Li at a con someone might be like “Oh I know her from Street Fighter!” But at a fighting game event, for example, you can watch a woman like Ricki Ortiz kick ass with her while being this character . At a fighting game event these people can be these characters they love while supporting their favorite players and sub communities in the FGC they like regardless of what game. I think it’s very important to recognize this so you can make those coming in feel welcome.
My first time coming into the FGC was as a cosplayer. If people had treated me like I was just some fanatic only and not shown me respect who knows if I would’ve explored the community by going to another event. The only way we can grow is by recognizing opportunities to retain and maintain those in the community. And this doesn’t mean if someone cosplays to drill them on what they know about the game. Think about it for a second, why would someone spend money to go to an fgc event, for a hotel, flight, etc. just to cosplay as something they don’t love? That is not an actual thing. These people are coming for a reason. Even if they don’t know everything you do about the frame data that you do, they still love these games and watching people play. This is no different than how regular sports have fans who dress up supporting their team and come scream their lungs out and support their favorite teams or players. I’ll give an example of one who isn’t competing in games but supports the scene while cosplaying, KittyKaboooom. She can be seen with Valle on Wednesday Night Fights sometimes commentating but also actively cosplays fighting game characters and has been for years. She lives for this, and I hope nobody ever would try to question her involvement or love for the community.
Now the other part I’d like to touch on would be those who compete as well as cosplay. This is typically not as common as those who don’t but still important and important to maybe even inspiring others to compete someday. I know men and women who dress up at events who know how to PLAY. Karen G is one I’d like to use as an example. She practices Street Fighter a lot, competes, and does amazingly beautiful cosplays as well. I’m sure she’s had people pretend like she doesn’t play well or know the games just because she does beautiful costume work. Another cosplayer in the scene who plays really well is Mahreen. She doesn’t cosplay as much lately but does really nice ones and she is an amazing Laura main in SFV. She bodies people at locals and in tournament she doesn’t go 0-2. She puts in a lot of work into the game but also enjoys dressing up as her favorite characters. My fear when people try to act as if cosplay = no play skill is that you make people anxious to dress up. I know I’ve felt embarrassed despite loving all of this to dress up as if I won’t be taken serious. It shouldn’t be that way. If I’m putting in the work even if I’m not winning, show some respect. I think sometimes to the stereotype SOME (not all) have towards women enforces this stereotype also. Luckily, we have a lot of great men and women in the community that fight against those stereotypes and correct others.
Now what drove me to really wanna discuss all this? First we have a serious problem with people still questioning those in costume at fgc events motives. That needs to stop. I have not only competed in cosplay contests at FGC events but also judged them too -The importance to saying that is that I’ve met so many AMAZING, talented cosplayers who love this community and live for it. I recently saw a tournament, Defend the North, advertising it’s “confirmed” cosplay guests for their 2018 tournament. I had a problem with this because the ones I’m seeing are not FGC. They have at least one fighting game cosplay they have photos of, but they are not involved in the community nor do they actively support it. But when you have a community full of cosplayers just looking to grow in the FGC specifically and you choose someone like this outside of it, how does that make your support for the community look?
I want these people to be a part of the community. Especially if they do fighting game cosplays. But I don’t think the way of getting them involved is by giving them a booth and inviting them as a special guest. I think it’s having us advertise the tournament to them. I truly believe more FGC events having cosplay contests promotes a reason for many to come out especially with the hype of fighting game costumes. This is a perfect opportunity to get them involved.
I’m not against the idea of having at least 1 influencer because you want to promote your event, sure. But when you have this vast community with MANY talented people, how are you not reaching out to those looking to make a name for themselves with it that love these games and it’s players? A community works together, and if you want to show your support you support those within it. Defend the North this is definitely a call out. This is a slap in the face to those who have been supporting YOU. Now if you want to bring cosplayers into the FGC who maybe don’t know about it but do cosplay fighting game characters the best way to do this is to have a cosplay contest.
Anyways. I really hope Defend the North and other tournaments will take a serious look at the list below and consider inviting at LEAST one FGC supporting cosplayer as a guest since or if they want to have cosplay guests. I think it’s truly a better approach to it if that is a form of entertainment or engagement you want for your guests.
Here are cosplayers you can support in the FGC just in case you thought there were none so you had to get outside cosplayers for your tournaments. Oh and your guests don’t only have to be women just FYI tournaments (there are a few men here who crush it with their cosplays!):
I will continue to add to this list as I gain more that I can list.
Please let me know if there is anyone who should be added to this list.
For now these are those who come directly to mind but I know there’s way more I just don’t have all their twitters. Which actually makes me want to have people link me their twitter next year if they enter the combo breaker cosplay contest.
Speaking of, check out the awesome cosplayers who entered the contest at Combo Breaker and the amazing photographer who shot it is Helloitsli Photography!