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Costumes from Video Games

Updated on May 9, 2014
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Hi, I am Adele, and I have run a large fancy dress shop in Essex, England since 1998. Happy to pass on my knowledge to help others.

The 2013 Disney film 'Wreck-It Ralph' redid what Roger Rabbit achieved in 1988 – brought together a group of otherwise ‘rival’ characters: For Roger it was Cartoon Stars, for Ralph it is Video Game participants. The Roger Rabbit film was ‘of the 80s’, as were video games as technology improved and games became portable. With the Eighties back in fashion, we thought we’d take opportunity to point out the possibilities for a Video Game Character Theme. (We’re nothing if not innovative at Props n Frocks).

In fact this theme may not be too difficult, given that many of the major film releases these days have tie-in video games as part of the merchandising campaign. Thus you can legitimately be anyone from James Bond to Merida of ‘Brave’ and use any of our wide range of licensed film (or even TV) character costumes.

At another level (so to speak) there are a wide range of ‘generic’ costumes such as knights, warriors (male and female), monks, monsters and fantasy creatures who can claim to be part of some Sword & Sorcery or Dungeons and Dragons-style games.

Finally, such is the vast range of video games and playing systems available that this hub-piece can only scratch the surface. Each game has its dedicated players and many are accomplished cosplayers who will customise and create superbly detailed replicas of costumes seen in those games. The sites dedicated to these games and their followers are well worth seeking out if you have a particular requirement. In the meantime, let’s highlight some of the specific gaming stars available on the market:

Sonic the Hedgehog: The speedy blue creature was originally the flagship character of the Sega gaming system, first seen in the 70s, but he has survived through the years and is one of the major icons of video gaming.

Pacman: A very early game involving a large circular character eating pac-dots whilst travelling through a maze and avoiding enemies and ghosts (you had to be there). Rather like the character itself, the costume is a simple large circular tabard-style outfit with a large mouth

Tetris: An electronic game which became highly popular during the Eighties. It involved trying to fit a varied array of cascading coloured block shapes together into a coherent pattern grid, working against the clock as the blocks fell faster. It even had its own theme music! Because of the simplicity of the ‘character’, many people make their own block-based outfits, sometimes even going as a group of block shapes. Ideal for a get-together.

Super Mario: A counterpart to Sonic the Hedgehog as leading character on the rival Nintendo console system was this superstar multi-talented plumber (and his brother Luigi). Originally seen as part of the Donkey Kong game, his spin-off adventures proved more popular and his coin-collecting (and racing) exploits continue to entertain - the Mario Kart game is especially popular. Other characters from the games, such as Princess Peach, can be found. Super Mario is one of a select group of gaming characters who have also made it to the movie screen, although the film, starring Bob Hoskins, was not a great success.

Angry Birds: A game which has found success on the ‘small screen’ of the PC and smartphone. Variations on the Angry Birds theme are now starting to crop up on the costume market, including ‘cross-breed’ entities involving Angry Birds as Star Wars characters.

Assassin’s Creed: A game based around the lineage of a family of assassins. Originally set in the medieval times of the Third Crusades, later episodes work with other time periods. As with most modern games, the back-story and game play scenario is rather more complex than the simple outline above. Although there are a range of official outfits available, interest in the characters involved has generated some reasonable lookalike costumes.

Moshi Monsters: The new breed of children’s collectables that are also a video game, a book, a magazine and a collection of costumes (and masks) – for children only!

Lara Croft: The feisty female archaeologist has evolved a little since the early days (even doing a stint as Angelina Jolie in a couple of movies), but the 'traditional' costume is possibly our most popular games-related character: Green vest, shorts, back-pack and the all-important twin gun holster belt (plus a wig if necessary). A recent Lara relaunch game (2013) sees our heroine remodelled to look a little less cartoon-like. From the costume point of view, this involves cargo trousers rather than the shorts and a more T-shirt style top, albeit a little low cut - the excuse is that the game starts with Lara in bed, so she had to dress in a hurry! We also see Miss Croft making use of a bow and arrow and other assorted (and improvised) weaponry as she gets stranded on a remote island. Talented lady.

Street Fighters: Not one of the best-known mainstream games (although Kylie Minogue turned up in an early film on the theme), but there are a couple of quality outfits available on the market for aficionados.

Sailor Moon: A group of games characters popular within Japanese Anime & Cosplaying. Previously only available on import, UK suppliers are now bringing costumes to the market for the new 2013 season.


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    • Tracie Bruno profile image

      Tracie Bruno 4 years ago from Delaware

      Thanks. I think I just found my theme for our annual "survived another school year" party. Great inspiration.