Two UW-Madison students attend Geek.Kon 2008 in costume as mages from <i>Final Fantasy</i>.
The geek elite was out in full-costumed force this weekend for the second annual Final Fantasy, before revealing that they had also made the costumes themselves. Nate wore a black strip of fabric attached to his hat that obscured his face, and under that he wore a pair of modified black-rimmed glasses with paperclips that held LED lights that glowed like a pair of creepy Halloween eyes. Carla held a ludicrously oversized mallet, which she joked about in a proud yet self-conscious way. "It's just a big pole and a couple oatmeal cans," she said. But, including the huge croquet mallet, every part of their costumes down to the stitching on their robes was of a professional quality that shows the care a true geek puts into his or her costume. Throughout the con, this seemed to be a loving tribute to the characters with which the fans identified.
One of the more obscure costumed characters to the mere casual geek was Atoli from the .hack//G.U. video games and movie trilogy. Vicky came from Milwaukee sporting a very accurate costume made from components she said cost a grand total of $80 at a fabric store. Her hat, which looked more like an exaggerated pillow, was made from another hat that she had to modify in order for it to fit on her head. The main thing she had come for was to join in on all the gaming events, but she also had come to show off her incredible costume. Her kind and excited personality matched that of the "Harvest Cleric" character she emulated.
Another Geek.kon attendee named Kou painted half of her body black and wore a blonde wig to resemble Ginko, a character from the series called Mushishi, which she explained as an adaptation of ancient Japanese folk tales. The black part of her skin is called Togliani, which is a condition Ginko has where he is infested by spiritual "bugs" called mushi, which are neither good nor evil.
The cosplay culture in Madison is truly devoted to its various obsessions, and displayed its knowledge through proud and detailed costumes at Geek.Kon, with at least two thirds of participants sporting some sort of disguise, each with its own back story. Everyone at the convention had a similar outlook, and all got along on a level unknown to most non-geeks.