Players Xpo

Cosplay - the subculture on your doorstep 24.10.17

Cosplay is short for costume play; from simply gleaning enjoyment in emulating a fictional character all the way up to public dance performances or heated competitions.

Most Cosplay interaction comes in the form of meet-ups, either at conventions or at social-media arranged gatherings. Like a flash mob, except not seven years ago. These gatherings give the community a chance to share their love for that which they imitate

People have been dressing up in costumes on occasion for millennia but it was only during the early 1980s in Japan did overdoing it get its official name.

However, Cosplay predates its name by decades and developed from fans wearing costumes to sci-fi conventions and then worked its way into the culture of fandom within comics, animé and video games from there. For many years the closest thing the Irish and UK public came to cosplaying was glimpses of live-action role-players (LARPers) in the local park. Hurling fire spells at each other for 12 damage and then arguing.

Cosplay has come a long way around these parts since. There are dozens of comic, animé and video game meets and conventions up and down Ireland and the UK each year and by now,  Cosplayer attendance is expected from the paying customer. For the non-convention going public at, it is no longer unusual to behold a Pikachu vaping outside a conference centre.

But how do I get a Lord Tachanka from Rainbow Six: Siege costume?

For many Cosplayers, there is much pride to be had in a homemade costume. Scouring granny’s attic or trawling through charity shops for costume items or accessories has become less common but is still the best way to impress. However, there is now a huge variety available to purchase and it takes much less time than fashioning a costume from petticoats and papier maché. Video game and animé costumes are now regulars in common costume stores.

But it’s the dedicated stores, mostly online, that are the preferred method of costume acquisition for most cosplayers. Places like CosplayShopper and ProCosplay carry a bewildering number of costumes. From the party-ready and pocket-friendly to the outrageous, cosplay sites offer items from a modest €40 for a simple Naruto Shippuden jacket and pants to the ornate €1,000 marvel of Assassins' Creed’s Roman Robes, as made famous by Ezio da Firenze.

The Roman Robes are available for much less if you look around but these are the closest thing to the 15th Century assassin you will get. The costume is made of mixture of felt, faux leather and polycotton, in case you are wondering.

As with all the best conventions, the upcoming PlayersXpo plays host to a Cosplay competition to get Ireland’s most dedicated and overdressed fans in the door to entertain the public. With prizes like a professional photo-shoot gift certificates and a trophy for the mantlepiece, contestants will have plenty of competition in the race to win over judges Baz Ashmawy, Anti-Tinkerbell and All-Cast Irish Gamer's own Minyon, who also MCs.

Baz Ashmawy, the seemingly matricidal TV personality, knows a bit about dress-up and a thing or two about video games. Full rules and details available here.

PlayersXpo, Ireland’s ULTIMATE gaming event is taking over The Convention Centre, Dublin on the 28th & 29th of October! Get your tickets here.