The art of the cosplay at RetroGameCon 2014

Saturday's video game conference drew crowds interested in playing the latest releases, creating their own games and even dressing up as their favorite characters.

The Oncenter Convention Center welcomed gamers this Saturday to the second annual RetroGameCon. The video game convention hosted panels in three rooms downstairs where expert gamers and cosplayers shared their knowledge. Upstairs, vendors displayed their products while listening to the beats of local DJ Silenze, who incorporates game sounds in his music.

“It doesn’t matter about body shape, how tall you are or your skin color. You love the character, cosplay it."

Throughout the day, gamers walked the convention center and had the opportunity to show off their cosplay — the art of dressing up as any fictional character. Saturday gave gamers of all ages, both male and female the chance to cosplay their favorite characters and attend panels such as “Cosplay from Concept to Creation.” At 11 a.m., the Green Hills Room doors downstairs opened, and cosplayers entered to learn more about the art of cosplay. Jennifer Syas, Mako Menkins and another female cosplayer showed off their costumes, posing in their best character moves.

Guys mostly populate the world of gaming and cosplay, but that doesn’t stop Menkins, who is also a judge in the cosplay contest. She said women should just do it regardless of what anyone says.

“It doesn’t matter about body shape, how tall you are or your skin color," Menkins said, dressed as a steampunk Catwoman. “You love the character, cosplay it.”

Female cosplayers showed off their best at this year’s RetroGameCon. Costumes ranged from characters from comic books and movies to anime and video games. Game characters like Elizabeth in BioShock Infinite and Chell in Portal were cosplayed, as were comic characters like Asuna from Japanese anime series Sword Art Online and Wonder Woman.

Some characters are better known than others in the gaming community, such as Wonder Woman, who cosplyer Quincy English said is a good inspiration to women.

“She’s an amazing superhero,” English said. “[Cosplay] is not just for guys. You can be someone you’ve never been before. It’s completely your imagination."

And cosplay is about imagination. It’s not just for nerds and geeks, English said, as cosplay allows you to become whoever you want to be. It’s also about giving fans, especially women, a chance to express themselves.

Cassandra Gardner, first time attendant of RetroGameCon, said she is a really big X-Men fan.

“When I was growing up, I used to watch all the movies that were on VHS,” Gardner said, dressed up like Jubilee from the X-Men franchise. Jubilee may not be as popular as Wolverine, but Gardner connects with the character.

“I really like Jubilee’s character,” she said. “I think her personality is very close to mine."

The winner of RetroGameCon's adult cosplay contest, a female cosplayer, wore the character Elizabeth’s costume from the video game BioShock Infinite. For men and women, cosplay is art, and there are no rules — well, maybe one.

“If you like a character, go for it,” Menkins said. “And have fun.”

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