Author: thelifeoflil

More than Just an Action Game

This week I thought I would take a look back into the historical origins and characters within the games I am focusing on for my final artifact (Assassins Creed: Brotherhood and Sengoku Basara: Samauri Heroes)

I know my research has been all over the place with posts on sexualizing costuming etc., but welcome to the life of a cosplayer; there are so many elements which have to be taken into consideration for accuracy purposes.

I came to the following conclusions after watching many ‘Lets play’ videos online and literally engrossing myself into the 16th century historical accounts of both Italy and Japan.

Assassins Creed: Brotherhood

Released 2010 / UBISOFT / FFA and Co-op


  • Ezio is a fictional character
  • Fictional history of real world events
  • The game uses protagonists such as Leonardo Di Vinci and Macovelli plus the ‘House of Medici’ and other historical elements to make the game as realistic as possible
  • Developers use real documents and collaboration with real world historians for ultimate accuracy although had to make minor changes to the scenery to fit in with the game demands


  • Roman robes
  • Cape included over his left shoulder with   a leather spaulder
  • red sash displays the Assassin’s insignia
  • Includes a knife, dual-wielded sword and mace, throwing knives and a hidden Gun
  • Has similarities to ancient roman assassins in the forearm guards and layered detailing of the different sections
  • Hood to conceal identity and emphasize mystery – reveals assassin status



 Sengoku Basara: Samurai Heroes

Released 2010 / Capcom / Single and Co-op


  • Takes real Japanese historical events, locations and figures and makes them larger than life with dynamic character designs and all-out action.
  • There is an overall character goal of wanting to re-write history and rule over 16th century Japan with characters fighting to the battle of sekigahara.
  • Dramatizes the warring states period of Japan known as ‘Sengoku’
  • Includes magic and sorcery and over the top battles – magical elements reveal the strong eastern influences present in the games genre


  • Character is based on the Japanese warlord Oda Nobunaga
  • Full body armor which seems to be inspired by that of traditional Japanese samurai given the forearm guards (which are similar to Ezio’s), creative head piece, neck brace and shoulder/thigh shields.
  • To me it gives off more of a medieval knight vibe, through the full head to toe restrictions of the armor and full shin/feet covering.
  • Red colour in cape and detailing; emphasizes his depiction as evil and ruthless as it has connotations to blood
  • Includes a curved sword and rifle
  • His armor is pretty badass although extremely unrealistic and unpractical.



The two main sources I used to find this information were these videos below as well as a personal analysis of the costuming. The first video shows historical elements present in Assassins Creed which I found extremely helpful and informative and the second video is a Lets play of Sengoku Basara and the character Nobunaga to reveal the differences in visuals and the magical elements within the game play.

I have always been interested in Ancient history but know very little about Japanese history other than what I have seen in movies, so this activity I actually really enjoyed. However, there is a lot of information out there so I was unable to touch on all game/historical details without actually playing the games which made it difficult to fit pieces together.

The years of historical detailing which both game developers would have done in order to perfect all aspects of the game experience is exceptional. I was amazed at how similar both games were in terms of historical accuracy of information although of course, to fit game demands things had to be changed and extensively dramatized (I wouldn’t have even notice to be honest). Knowing more about both characters attire and has been a real eye opener, especially when considering important details to be included in my costume design.







Cosplay: Cute or Over Sexualised?

The sexualisation of female cosplay is something which I have explored earlier in my blog posts (here).

Last time I looked at the blonde bombshell Jessica Nigri. Today, after recently delving a little deeper into Asian gaming culture I felt it more appropriate to take a look at the costuming of Asian Cosplayers, given that it is such a giant market in Asia.

Anime cosplay seems to be more popular in Asian countries, so finding a cosplayer specifically focused on gaming cosplay was a struggle even though the Asian gaming market is in continuous growth. In my search, I came across a list of the top 100 hottest cosplay girls on ‘Arcade Sushi’ and when flicking through them (yes I went through every one) I came up with a top 5 to look into further.

Some observations I took out of the list was the global scale of it, with Cosplayers from Russia, Italy, Argentina, Australia, Taiwan, America, Hong Kong, Germany and South Korea to name a few. The range of games/shows/characters which the cosplayers took their costume inspiration from was also extremely broad, from popular games like League of Legends or Final Fantasy to other games which I had not heard of. I also found that one of the American cosplayers was dressed as a character from Sengoku Basara (the Japanese game which I am incorporating into my final project) which was a surprise. Many of the Asian cosplayers had ‘World Cosplay’ accounts or ‘Deviantart’ accounts which I had never heard of before but I assume are popular profiles used to promote their cosplaying activities.

The cosplayers I looked at were;

WOLF (South Korea),

SoGoodbye (Taiwan),

Neneko (Taiwan),

Linda Lee (AKA Vampy) (American with Asian (Vietnamese) background),

Stella Chuu (American with an Asian Background),


While looking through all of the Cosplayers profiles it is clear that the ‘cute’ factor plays a major role in the success of each individual, yet those who can be ‘cute and hot at the same time’ are considered even better.

It’s fairly accurate to say that gaming culture has generally portrayed in game females in ridiculously revealing  (unrealistic) costumes as shown in the Rooster Teeth video below. It is actually something I have considered myself when playing fighting games because being a dancer, I know how annoying (and restricting) some costumes can be so it was interesting to see someone put it to trial. My question is, Is this emphasizing male dominance in the gaming industry or just giving the players what they want to see? ..Maybe both? I believe this character creation within the games is one of the main reasons female cosplay has become such an oversexualised practice; If it’s appropriate enough to be displayed in a globally played video game, why does it suddenly become inappropriate to re-enact it at a local convention?

Showing some skin seems to be highly encouraged in female cosplay culture, especially with Stella Chu and her burlesque inspired outfits gaining her a lot of recognition. I understand how this could lead to controversies, especially when it comes to Ero cosplay which I came across a lot on Simply Otaku, yet the self-expression visible through the costuming and the global reach of the art gives me the impression that for some people, there is so much more to cosplay than just an opportunity to show some skin.

Attention to detail is also a massive factor when cosplaying with many of the cosplayers using props or detail within their hair and make up to finalise a look. Cosplay is considered an ‘artwork’ on Simply Otaku and I agree, the effort and dedication cosplayers put into their costumes should not be overlooked or interpreted as ‘slutty’ simply because the gaming and other media industries have left a little less to the imagination in the creation of female characters.

Oh how you’ve grown!

I’m sure many of you know what cosplay is (merging of the words ‘costume-play’), but how many of you know where it comes from and how far it has actually come?  The past week I have been looking into the history of cosplay culture and let me just say, I was surprised to find out that the first ‘sighting’ of a cosplay costume was wayyy back in 1939..and in America?!

Forest J Ackerman is thought to be ‘the first’ – dressing in a futuristic costume based on the pulp magazine artwork by Frank R Paul at a world science fiction convention ‘back in the day’. It wasn’t until 1984 however, when President of Japanese ‘studio hard’, Nobuyuki Takahashi attended Los Angeles Science Fiction Worldcon and coined the phrases ‘cosplay’ after seeing convention go-ers dressed up.

Since then, it is clear how much this sub-culture has expanded, both in the world of gaming/anime/comic onventions and in everyday life.

Harujuku: a famous district in japan known for its cosplaying community. Girls dressed up in Harajaku

The hobbyist aspect of cosplay is largely recognised through conventions in both America and Australia – however, in Japan cosplay goes further than just an element of conventions. Cosplay has become a significant part of Japanese culture. With Akihabara (a city in Tokyo) considered an otaku cultural city. Otaku is a japanese term for people with obsessive interests and it has predominantly shaped the business and buildings of the area as Japanese Architects have designed the stores of Akihabara to reflect the general desire of many otaku to live in an animated world.

Maids line up in Japan for  Uchimizu - For a further look at the Akihabara city head over to

Maids line up in Japan for Uchimizu – For a further look at the Akihabara city head over to

Fast forward from the conventions of 1938 to today, a technology centered global community. We have social networks and websites based on cosplay activities, along with Internet forums that allow cosplayers to share stories, photographs, news, etc. The rapid growth in the number of people cosplaying as a hobby has made the phenomenon a significant aspect of popular culture.

One of the biggest cosplaying magazines in japan Cosmode has a digitally adapted website version in English to allow different countries are able to come together to share experiences. Cosplay influenced Japanese ‘maid cafés’ are another example of how this sub-culture has expanded globally to countries such as China, South Korea, Taiwan, Australia, Hungary, the Czech Republic, France, Mexico, Canada and the United States.

By making myself a primary participant in my research of cosplay I feel as though my autoethnographic approach will be significantly enhanced. Making  a video documenting my own engagement of cosplay costume creation and relating it to additional research will reveal both my personal experiences and observations about the subject and an even further critical reflection of my findings.

Looking first at the Cosmode online website– it was apparent that it had not been updated since 2009, although all of the content uploaded prior to that seemed fairly consistent. I then decided to look into the Cosmode Thailand website – even though I can’t understand much of it at all.

To be honest, it is what I expected. Much like any other magazines online website it shows you the top articles, front page spreads, directs you to social media pages and has a fair bit of Asian advertisements. What I loved was the visual aspects; cover models dressed in costumes I have no idea about but can’t help but adore! Advice on how to do ‘cosplay make up’ really caught my attention and the bright colours made it impossible to look away! From there I was directed to their ‘webboard’ which was actually their Facebook page. Immediately I was impressed by the most recent post – an upcoming Japan fiesta in Bangkok! A ‘music festival’ with j-rock and cosplay! With a ‘cosplay-break the record’ element (check the video!) which I can only imagine is trying to break some kind of record seeing as I can’t exactly understand what is going on but i did recognise the ‘Tag #JFestacosplay’ which I thought was pretty interesting so of course, I headed to instagram to check it out!

With 135 posts so far the hashtag seems to be going fairly well with some amazing costumes although I did make one fairly stereotypical observation; the majority of them are female, and selfies (although I will be exploring that more later).

A screenshot of the #Jfestacosplay hashtag on Instagram

A screenshot of the #Jfestacosplay hashtag on Instagram

For now, I feel as though this is a prime example that reveals how much the Japanese sub culture of cosplay has grown and influenced elements of other Asian countries as well as westernised countries through conventions and online extensions.

Excited to share with you my further research into this extremely broad and wonderful world!

Minor road block

After doing a WHOLE lot of research and being extremely confused about my digital artefact choice I came across a Japanese game which re-defined my whole concept.

Originally, I had been looking for images of Japanese Samurai in the Sengoku period (16th century), which was known as the ‘warring states period’ and characterised by social upheaval, political intrigue and near-constant military conflict. Funnily enough, this is the time in which ‘Assassin’s Creed: brotherhood’ was set and I wanted my design to be as fluid with this time as possible.

In my research, I came across a video game released in the same year as ‘Assassin’s Creed: brotherhood’ (2010) but by Japanese game developer Capcom. It is called ‘Sengoku Basara: Samurai Heroes’. Set in the Sengoku period (16th Century Japan) it incorporates both Japanese Samurai warriors and Japanese production elements into it …WIN!

Looking further into this game I realised similarities between one of the characters (Oda Nobunaga) and Ezio from Assassin’s Creed. With their clothing both reflecting elements of their country of origin; Ezio, with the classic Roman robes and Oda, with traditional samurai-like armour, I decided to merge both of these outfits for my final artefact.


Left: Ezio in his Roman Robes Right: Oda Nobunaga in his armour

Left: Ezio in his Roman Robes
Right: Oda Nobunaga in his armour


With the incorporation of Japanese history into the game along with the obvious Japanese influences in the animated production, the discovery of Sengoku Basara will allow me to adapt my take on cosplay to a more digitally Asian perspective. I have obviously been set back a week due to my discovery of this game but next week I hope to delve deeper into the culture of conventions and where this art of ‘cosplay’ came from.

FUN FACT: Oda Nobunaga was an actual powerful Samurai and warlord in 16th Century Japan and has also appeared as a character in games such as ‘Pokemon Conquest’ (Nobunaga – The warlord of Ransei).

Starting from the bottom

As my autoethnographic research will be looking into the culture of cosplay, specifically gaming cosplay I thought it fit to base my research around my own first hand account of an Assassin’s Creed cosplay costume creation. As a non gamer I feel as though this may be a little out of my league so in order to successfully portray a characters costume I feel like I need to explore the world of Assassin’s Creed a little more.

To do so, I could play the game developed by Ubisoft Entertainment, the third largest game producer in the world… But I’m hopeless at that so I decided to watch someone else playing instead; after all, that’s what the internet is for.

At first, I thought I would try out the ‘twitch TV’ website that everyone in this subject seems to be raving about to see if it had anything worth watching, but in all honestly I just couldn’t understand it and I turned back to my trusty YouTube for some answers. Typing in ‘Assassin’s Creed’ I immediately found their official YouTube channel (AssassinsCreed) and began flicking through some videos.


Ezio is the character which I have decided to base my costume on, and after reading his Wiki, I thought I would start by seeing what I could find on ‘Assassins Creed: Brotherhood’ hence the trailer.

My immediate thought when I saw this was “um.. Is this an actual movie?” The graphics are so life like that until I actually saw close ups I was a little confused. As I don’t know the full extent of the games storyline, I am still struggling to understand, but from what I have seen it seems extremely action packed with lots of fighting and violence – I love it!


Ok, I had to share this. You may think I am totally idiotic, but I never knew that this whole game is based on a guy’s (Desmond) past life memories being exposed! The cinematic features of the game revealed by this let’s play are helping me to understand it more and I feel as though I’m learning so much already! It is sort of reminding me of a more ancient, awesome Avatar, with a much better plot and less blue forest people; mainly due to the whole technology forcing you to experience another world aspect obviously.

Throughout my viewing of this, I was in awe at all of the amazing graphics and realism, I still am. No wonder so many people are obsessed with this game! I know I still need to watch the next few parts to fully get the jist of it all but this intro to the world of Ezio has me hooked.

The costumer which I will be adapting through cross play and adding Asian Samurai Elements to. Source:

The costumer which I will be adapting through cross play and adding Asian Samurai Elements to. Source:

This costume creation is going to be harder than I though, because examining Ezio’s costume throughout these videos makes me realise that there are A LOT of specific features which will need to be incorporated and he has many different robes which I will need to consider. I often put a lot more effort than is needed into things like this but I am determined to make it work! Who knows, I might become an avid gamer in the process.

This was just an introduction to get my myself familiar with what I’ll be working with over the next few weeks. I am still yet to explore many elements of the cosplay culture including:

– ‘Convention culture’ how cosplay started and where it is today
– Gender dynamics such as crossplay and the use of make-up and costume sexualisation
– Comparison of the clothing/robes and actions of 16th century Roman assassins within the game with 16th century Asian Shinobi (Ninjas).
– New global markets which have emerged and are currently emerging from this culture, and how online platforms are aiding in this expansion.

More elements may come to me in the next few weeks as my research becomes more in depth, but for now i’ll leave you with those ramblings and get stuck into my costume design!

Feel free to hit me up with any other aspects of cosplay culture you would be interested in reading about!


Ones real life identity tends to be irrelevant in the culture of gaming, RPG’s (Role playing video games) such as Final Fantasy, Dungeons and Dragons and WOW allow an individual to portray themselves however they please through their character in the fictional world. Reflect your real life morals or go against them and be someone entirely different – the choice is yours. There are two specific ‘groups’ within this RPG culture, they include WRPG (western) and JRPG (eastern). The western culture RPG’s tend to be more system/rules based with darker realistic graphics, however Eastern RPG’s are generally action/story based with brighter anime-like graphics and intricate plots.



Regardless of their cultural differences, role playing video games are peripheral to the art of cosplay in the fact that the characters/identities portrayed in these games are who cosplaying individuals look toward to influence their costume choice.  A lot of the time, an individual will develop a bond with their online persona and therefore, it becomes easier for them to reflect this persona in their cosplaying over a character they are not familiar with.

An extension of this RPG experience is LARP (live action role play) where a group of individuals dress up and pursue goals within a fictional setting represented by the real world while interacting with each other in character. I see this as like ‘next level’ cosplaying, as they are not only dressing up as the characters, but also choosing to engage themselves in the recreation of the characters identity through role play.

A lot of the time, YouTube is the digital media platform which both RPG and LARPers use to express their voices through recording their live action or video game experiences and uploading them for the public to see, as seen below. In addition to this podcasts are used, one group in particular who use this in addition to their YouTube channel is Rooster Teeth.




Through viewing and comparing both these forms of role play, it is immediately clear how much dedication and passion an individual puts into their characters. To me, the LARP genre actually helps to break down the stigma created by RPGer’s as the second video reveals the multitude of people who actually get involved. The Rooster Teeth video (to be honest I didn’t watch all of it) does reveal the ‘WRPG’ mentioned by the comparison video through its darker and more realistic graphics. As a non-gamer the detail and customisation actually surprised me but in saying that, the specifications confused the hell out of me! People who actually play this game and understand it, I applaud you because I had no idea! This video also shows how RPG’s allow the option for both male and female characters regardless of your real life gender (Ray has chosen a female panda even though the others chose a male) which is the same when dressing up for cosplay in the fact that you can be whoever you choose to be.

Back to the LARP video – I was amazed at the amount of planning and scripting etc that goes into them because before watching this, I honestly thought that they were improvised. The fact that people do this kind of thing on a weekly basis is actually impressive, a further reason why the dedication and passion are so necessary to these gamers life. The strategic and tactical ‘quest’ elements resonate through both the RPG and LARP  worlds, and I feel as though it would be one of the main motivations to playing the games. Completing quests, moving up levels and gaining more skills would be super satisfying and ultimately enhance the bond you have with the character.

Jessica Nigri: Cosplayer

They say that sex sells and in the huge world of Cosplay “sexy gamer girls” have become highly recognised due to their somewhat revealing representation of various characters.

Exibit A: Jessica Nigri. An American gamer who became ‘cosplay famous’ after her cosplay of a ‘sexy Pikachu’ at San Diego Comic-Con International went viral in 2009.

Jessica Nigri - Pikachu Cosplay costume

Jessica Nigri – Pikachu Cosplay costume

Her career has since exploded, winning a contest in 2012 to be the face of the protagonist in Goichi Suda’s video game ‘Lollipop Chainsaw’. Her achievements and involvements in various anime and gamer conventions across the globe have resulted in the development of a massive online fan base. What interested me the most was her involvement in ‘crossplay’ (genderbending characters). Because unlike ‘crossdressing’, there is very little stigma put on ‘crossplay’ within the cosplay community. People often dress as a character they like and whether they are male of female is often irrelevant to this art.

Her cosplay success has led her to open up an online print store called NIGRI PLEASE! Here she sells revealing posters of herself dressed as various characters from games such as Pokemon, League of Legends, Assassins Creed, Borderlands and Lollipop Chainsaw. In addition to some rather raunchy underwear pictures, Nigri’s web-store also sells posters of her modelling different characters from Studio Ghibli films, Dragonball Z and Comic books.

Jessica Nigri - Cosplay Posters available on NIGRI PLEASE!

Jessica Nigri – Cosplay Posters available on NIGRI PLEASE!

When ciphering through the images of Nigri online, it is apparent that she has created a public image based on her looks and sexuality and not just her knowledge of gaming and/or anime culture. My brother, who proudly flaunts one of her underwear images as the wallpaper on his phone said, “Make sure you include the boobs” when I mentioned I was going to do a blog post on her. In all honesty, they are hard to miss.

The ‘sexy factor’ of many female cosplayers tends to be seen as ‘self-objectification’ and it is an issue which has been continually explored throughout this cosplay culture (read more: Here, here and here). In saying that however, Nigri’s cosplaying over the years has become more than just a hobby like most, it is her career. She has fan pages dedicated to her and a YouTube account that helps to share her exciting cosplay experiences with her many fans.

After viewing this video and many others on Nigri’s channel, I feel as though this would seriously be the best gig to have! It is not only the extravagant costumes and makeup of the cosplayers which seems to draw people in, but the whole convention/expo atmosphere bringing people with common interests together in a social setting. It is clear how much the art of cosplay has grown to become such a massive part of western convention culture. Nigri’s personality is bubbly and adorable and her fame, although highly sexualised is in my opinion not highly objectifying or exploiting but instead an external method of marketing to help expand this convention culture even further – and it has done just that!

Although, this sexualised form of marketing makes me wonder if the Asian cosplay culture is the same, or is it us western cultures who have created this ‘sexy gamer girl’ image in order to boost awareness and sales. None the less, cosplay does not seem to force a divide between the east and west, but instead reveals the coming together of the two due to a common love for the digital world.

It all started with the Big Bang

Hey guys,

For our digital artefact, after engaging in a thorough brainstorm sesh, James and myself decided to explore the world of boy bands and the surrounding fandom and culture.

Our main focus will be on the South Korean based bands, Big Bang and Super Junior and their particular influence on the K-pop scene and it’s surrounding culture. 

This research will include how male masculinity is challenged through image construction (hair, makeup, style) as well as a comparison of American boy bands (e.g. One direction), music analysis and online social media fan engagement. 

Our digital artefact will be presented through tumblr. We feel that this platform will enable us to engage with a following of people interested in the boy band culture whilst developing our own understanding of this Asian boy band phenomenon!

Until next time, 

Lil and James 😀




South Korean boy band: Big Bang


Welcome to the world of Cosplay


In today’s lecture as soon as I saw the words ‘cosplay’ and the video linked to it I knew what my post for this week was going to be.
It was generally easy to access this video, as the link of the Prezi was uploaded by Chris onto this site.
This video was created by – I don’t know – because the Prezi app on my ipad would not allow me to view it on YouTube and therefore I could not access more information on the creators and their reasoning behind this video. Unless I was to attempt to find it via google or YouTube but ain’t nobody got time for that.
I had never watched a video on the creation of cosplay before so I didn’t know what to expect, and in all honestly, this video challenged everything I originally thought of the cosplay culture.


I felt two major feelings while watching; Intrigued as to the time and effort put in and disappointed when they were not completed in time for the convention.
The term ‘Otaku’ (people with obsessive interests) never came up in this video. Instead, the individuals referred to the art of cosplay in their lives as ‘just a hobby’ as they each had a life outside of their cosplay creations and mainly used the act of cosplay to socialise.
To be honest, whenever I think of cosplay I think of it as heavily Asian; based on Asian characters and played out by Asians. This cultural assumption significantly impacted upon the way I watched this video.
The video compared the act of cosplay to costume design in films and TV, so similar yet one is stereotyped as ‘geeky’ and heavily judged where as the other is ‘art’ and considered a ‘real job’. Personally, I have generally considered cosplay as a fairly ‘geeky’ practice, which reveals even further my personal bias toward it (sorry). However, this video and the creative challenges which are brought about by this art form have changed my thinking purely due to the self confidence and individuality which is able to be portrayed through the characters.
One of the main points communicated through this video I believe is the way the cosplay culture breaks down barriers to sexuality. In this ‘world’ a male can be dressed as a female character and visa versa without it being considered ‘strange’.

Further research for me in this topic could potentially be expanding my knowledge of the characters to understand this art and the motivations of the audience. In addition to this, the topic of sexuality within the cosplay culture has many avenues to still be touched on which I believe could lead to some interesting discussion.

Now I’ll leave you with this picture of two of my brothers friends at Supernova with this insane robo-pikachu cosplay character – imagine the time that would have gone into that!! .


Oh look, it’s Lil

Hey everyone!

There isn’t really all that much I have to say so I’ll just bore you with the basics…

My name is Elizabeth Zammit (but please call me Lil), and I’m in my 2nd year of a BCM degree doing a double major in International Media and Communications and Marketing and Advertising…yet I have no clue where I want to end up once It’s all done and dusted.

I guess I’m just you’re average girly girl; way too materialistic, spending money I don’t have on things I don’t need and hoping one day everything will suddenly fall in to place. For the past 3 years I have had a never ending desire to travel, go on adventures, meet crazy people and do crazy things. Yes, I am a hopeless dreamer – blame my dad. Right now I have 3 part time jobs in addition to this full time uni thing in the hopes that 2015 will finally bring me the European adventures which I so desperately need!

I’m doing this subject purely due to the fact that I’ve watched a fair bit of anime courtesy of my Dad’s Studio Ghibli addiction and thanks to my brother’s love for all things geeky I have developed somewhat of a soft spot for this pop culture. I am borderline obsessed with everything social media related as much of this generation are…aaand well, sushi is Japanese (that’s a valid reason right?).

Right now I couldn’t tell you what angle I am planning to focus my research on because I am possibly the most indecisive person you will ever meet and it is way too soon into the semester for my brain to become set on a specific topic. My knowledge of this subject is minimal at best so hopefully in the next few weeks I can begin to wrap my head around the vast amounts of information coming my way.

My brain is ready. (I hope)