Cosplay: 3 Ways to Get Started!

Lots of gamers go to conventions and see cosplayers and think, “I wish I could cosplay  too, but I don’t even know where to get started.” MAGFest is coming up next week and while I was thinking about which cosplay I will be doing, I found some articles that can help you start brainstorming and preparing your first costume!

The first article I found is actually a video made by Kris Kittie for All That’s Cosplay titled, “Epic Cosplay Video: Cosplay Planning Made Easy.” Kris Kittie explains how budgeting your time is vital, and it’s important to know your capabilities and allow time for troubleshooting when creating your costume. Being organized will help you greatly, and always collect lots of reference images. She also stressed that waiting until the last minute usually causes cosplayers lots of anxiety, and costumes can sometimes start falling apart if built at the last minute!


My first cosplay was Villager from the Animal Crossing series at Nintendo World Store in New York City.

The second article I found was from Observation Deck – an in-depth overview called “Cosplay 1.01 – A Beginner’s Introduction to Cosplay” written by Variable. This post was very comprehensive and discussed how anyone can be a cosplayer, as long as you know your limits and plan ahead. Compiling reference images from every angle is recommended, and keep a realistic schedule leading up to a convention. She discussed how going to cons can be a lot of fun and you can make a lot of friends, but be aware that there are still some issues with harassment… remember, cosplay is supposed to be fun for everyone!

If you’re looking to get started in cosplay and are choosing a character, keep these 3 important tips in mind:

  1. Budget Your Time – Plan ahead, create a realistic schedule for yourself, and remember that ordering props from overseas can result in long shipping times, so start working on a cosplay months before the convention starts!
  2. Use References – If you want to be proud of your work and have an authentic cosplay, it’s extremely important to have reference images from every angle (including front, back, side and prop details) to be sure you are making the best choices when buying materials.
  3. Know Your Capabilities – Cosplay beginners probably shouldn’t choose a character with complicated body armor; stick to what you know you can make, and choose a character that you will feel comfortable portraying.

It’s pretty clear that being organized and planning ahead is the best strategy when starting to create a new cosplay character. But the most important thing to remember is that cosplay is for everyone and the main goal is to HAVE FUN!

Gluxbox is my codename and gamertag! I’m a cosplayer, gamer and blogger. This article was written mostly for fun, but also because I’m taking a course called Engagement & Nurture Marketing at Coursera.org and this was an assignment! If you want to contact me, you can find me @gluxbox on Twitter!

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First Impressions: ACHHD (JP)

When I learned that Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer was coming out on 6/30 in Japan, I decided that it was finally time to put myself out of my misery. And by that, I mean I finally broke down and bought a Japanese New 3DS system. What do those two things have to do with each other? For those who don’t know, the latest AC game – which I will be calling “ACHHD” for short from now on – utilizes a new Amiibo card peripheral that can only be scanned using NFC technology. That means I could either wait for Play-Asia to ship me the game with the Amiibo NFC-scanning adapter peripheral, or I could buy a Japanese New 3DS (which I call “JP N3DS”) and finally enjoy some faceplates, along with downloading the game to my SD card. I tend to prefer the digital copies of games, and I have been DYING to get my hands on some faceplates. The decision was made, and the order was placed. I opted for the simplistic monochrome K.K. Slider (aka Totakeke) faceplates because I like the matching K.K. Slider theme for the Home Menu. And you know, cuz I have a K.K. Slider plush and he is one of my favorite characters in the game. Chances are that I will be getting more faceplates in the future, but this is a start!

So, after 12pm on 7/29 I was able to start playing the game, thanks to Japan being like 12 hours ahead of the east coast! I’m still waiting for the Amiibo cards to arrive, but they should be here early this week. That didn’t stop me from diving right in and starting the game! Keep in mind that I still don’t speak Japanese and I’m basically playing the game without having a clue what’s going on. But I’m getting by!

PLEASE BE ADVISED – MAJOR ACHHD SPOILERS FROM HERE ON!!

Mayor Neko checking out the break room at her new office.

ACHHD has a totally different format than a regular AC game. You don’t play in “real time” and you don’t have to have an interview with Rover to determine the look of your character. Naturally, I designed my character to be an extension of Mayor Neko of my JP ACNL game. Now that Wasabi is well established, Mayor Neko decided it’s time for a sabbatical of sorts, to try her hand at interior design and get a fresh perspective. She was impressed with the facilities available at her new Happy Home office, complete with a changing room, a sewing machine (that she couldn’t use yet), a salon (also not yet unlocked at the start of the game) and a cute little New 3DS that opens up when you select it. Side bar: The fact that the game designers decided to put this particular New 3DS XL limited edition console in the game makes me feel even more certain that this special edition will be released globally. I mean, why would they put that in the game if it wasn’t going to be for sale in every region?? Fingers crossed that this LE makes it to the states!!

Once Mayor Neko was in her work uniform and ready to start work, she was first tasked with what I can only assume was a practice design. I say this because there was no client involved, it was just to learn how to move furniture and whatnot. For those who are curious, the game is mainly controlled by the stylus, as it allows for furniture to be moved around and rotated easily. You can also make tweaks the old fashioned way, by pushing and pulling using your character, but I find that it’s much faster and more convenient to use the stylus. I’m officially spoiled!! lol

A lovely practice room!

Anyway, the practice theme was quite clearly the Lovely theme. I did the best that I could, and I couldn’t help but feel that I wasn’t provided with the full set. I’m sure the rest will unlock as I progress in the game. How did my design come out? I was super excited that they gave me a painting to use right away, so I made that the featured item of the room!

After that, I was able to work with my first customer! Goldie the adorable doggy was eager to have her new home set up. Now, this is when their requests get a little iffy for me. Obviously, I have no idea what the townies are requesting. Luckily, each design project has requirements such as a chair or a desk that you MUST include, and those tend to be of a certain theme. New townie customers will also unlock new furniture items, so I also check the “New” tab to get an idea of what the theme might be. So far I haven’t received any complaints so I guess I’m doing a pretty good job!

My first happy customer!

Goldie had what I can only assume is a bookworm type of theme. She required a giant bookcase and stacks of books be included in her house. I came up with a design that kind of caters more to an “older” character. What do you guys think? You can’t see it in the photo, but in her house I also included an egg fryer that sizzles the entire time. I think it adds a little something extra. 😛

After every design project is finished, there’s a cute cut-scene where you can take photos and watch the townie enjoying their new digs. It’s super cute. Then you are whisked back to the office (you get a car in this game btw!) and have to “fill out paperwork” which is saving the game. You can only work on one design project per day. However, if you don’t want to save immediately, you can still wander around town and talk to townies before you go in and save and start the next day. What I ended up doing was going back upstairs to the break room and seeing if I could change my clothes, since I had noticed that some clothes had shown up in the New tab when I was working on Goldie’s house.

Mayor Neko’s professional work attire.

You can’t change your shirt, I guess that’s the uniform requirement of the job. But you can change your skirt/pants, shoes, socks, hat and accessories! Mayor Neko thought it might be funny to try a wacky outfit. Let’s see if the customers take her seriously.

OK Readers – I know I’m excited about this game and I could blog about it all day. But should I not write all the details of every single townie customer? Should I stick to highlights? Let me know, otherwise I’m just gonna write about everything!! 😛

Just to sum it up, I think everyone who enjoys Animal Crossing would like this game. I don’t want to say it’s AC-Lite, but it does kinda have all of the home decor design fun without the stress of saving up money, collecting items and then ordering from the catalog. However, it doesn’t fully satisfy your AC needs if you enjoy other things like bug catching, fishing, holidays, etc. because it doesn’t work in real time. So Happy Home Designer is certainly not a REPLACEMENT for the regular Animal Crossing game, but its a fun re-imagining of the same idea. I hope everyone will pick it up when it is released in the west this fall! 🙂

More to come!!!

Animal Crossing & Smash: An Observation

Wii U Animal Crossing Stage

Wii U Animal Crossing Stage

Hey everyone! Super Smash Bros. Wii U is coming out THIS FRIDAY (11/21/14) and I got a chance to play it early at a demo event this past weekend. I was really excited about the new Animal Crossing stage! But when I saw it in all it’s glory… I realized it was a bit dated.

Am I the only one who cares about this? I touched on this a little in my last blog entry. The Villager, the Wii U Animal Crossing stage… everything except for Tortimer Island in Smash 3DS is actually based on Animal Crossing: City Folk, and not Animal Crossing: New Leaf. I guess I’m the only one who thinks this is weird? I’m sure it’s a result of games like these being so content-heavy that production takes years, and when they were working on the Smash game ACCF might have been the only option for the game designers to use as a model. But personally it kind of bothers me! I’m just being nit-picky. I think they should have updated the look of the Villager characters to match ACNL, at least.

super_smash_bros_female_villager-640x360

 

ACNL Female Villager

ACNL Female Villager

Again, notice that these SSB4 Villager characters are short and well, wide around the middle. The female at the end is jumping and you can see her little undies, which was a trademark (and pet-peeve of mine) of the female characters in ACCF and earlier. I was happy when they changed the look of the human characters in ACNL, making them a little more proportionate and girls’ underwear not visible lol! I think this would have been an improvement for Smash players too, because the way the Villager was designed, the character is more of a shorter, child size character like Ness or Toon Link. I would have pictured the Villager as a medium height character in Smash Bros., especially since the villagers are almost as tall as the tall bears in ACNL.

Height comparison - Vllager and Grizzly, courtesy of the awesome Sosostris Blog!

Height comparison – Villager and Grizzly, courtesy of the awesome Sosostris Blog!

Aside from the Villager character design in Smash, my other observation is about the Wii U Animal Crossing stage. (NOTE: SPOILER ALERT!!!) It’s a fantastic stage, excellent for competitive play and incorporates the “rolling log” effect of the Animal Crossing games, which is really cool! The graphics look amazing. So amazing that you can see the Town Gate all the way in the background… wait a sec. Town Gate?? This is a feature from the Animal Crossing City Folk series! In ACNL, there are train tracks, the Train Station and a stairway to the Shopping District at the north-most part of town.

Wii_U_AC_Stage

 

See those adorable Animal Crossing characters that stand along the background of the flat area in the stage? Sure, you might recognize the three pictured here, but during the stage these characters change! I saw Frillard and Serena appear in that part of the stage a few times, and players new to ACNL will certainly not know who they are lol! Plus, you can clearly see a sign for the bus stop, which does not exist in ACNL.

Another feature of this stage in Smash is that you actually follow a bus to the city. It’s really cute! I don’t have any images of that so no major spoilers here but I just think it’s interesting that they chose to model this stage after the Wii game instead of the latest 3DS game. I know it’s not a big deal and I’m a fan of throw-backs too… it’s just not what I was expecting I guess.

Tortimer Island

Tortimer Island

Really can’t complain though. At least Animal Crossing is represented in the game! And we do have Tortimer Island, which is a really awesome stage in Super Smash Bros. 3DS. I love this stage because of the awesome music, its like a remix of the songs Kapp’n sings on the boat ride to the island! Plus you can get eaten by sharks and harvest fruit from the trees. It’s one of my favorite stages!

Wouldn’t it be great if all of the ACNL animal townies were assist trophies? Or all the gyroids?? You know, maybe they should just make an Animal Crossing/Fighting Game crossover series to get more people interested in the franchise lol! I’d play it…

Smash is Back!

The return of Mayor Gluxie.

Mayor Gluxie had been missing from Jubilife Town in ACNL for quite some time. Weeks, months probably… Isabelle was up to her doggy ears in paperwork trying to pick up the slack. Where was Mayor Gluxie? There wasn’t much of an excuse for the absence all summer, but in the past month, Animal Crossing Villagers had been spotted in another popular Nintendo title.

Where the Villager has been…

OK, so maybe you pro’s might notice that the Villager pictured here isn’t really Mayor Gluxie. Let’s just go with the suspension of disbelief ok? They didn’t make Mayor Gluxie’s face type an option in Super Smash Bros. 3DS lol! Also, I don’t know if anyone else noticed this but the “sprite” of the Villager character still maintains the fashion style and proportions of the ACCF/ACWW Villager, note that you can see the female Villager’s undies – something that was done away with in the newest installment of the game. The Villager is also not as tall and slender as in ACNL. Am I the only one who cares? Probably.

Since the release of Super Smash Bros. 3DS on October 3rd, I’ve been playing this game practically non-stop. When I need a dose of nonviolence, I’ll switch over to ACNL, Harvest Moon or Tomodachi Life. But that usually doesn’t last long before I start jonesin’ for some more Smash action. I’m really enjoying the latest Smash Bros. game, there are a lot of new features and game modes. Plus… you can take SCREENSHOTS! I’ve decided to turn Smash into my own personal Pokemon Snap Redux. I’m going to start taking photos of every Pokemon and build myself a Smash Pokedex. And of course, I’ll only use the BEST photos, only the ones that would be up to Professor Oak’s standards! Save that for a future blog entry… lol!

Pokemon Snap Smash!

Overall, I have a ton of things I love about Super Smash Bros. 3DS. The updated graphics look amazing, the new characters add more options and being able to customize them really opens up the playing field in the competitive scene. I love the multiplayer options – from the original Smash mode to Smash Run and don’t forget the 2-Player games like Multi-man Smash! Since the game is now portable, it’s even easier to participate in local Smash Tournaments in the area. I recently went to a tournament in NYC and we dressed up in Smash Bros. cosplay. It was so much fun!

Smash Bros. Cosplayers!

I might not have won the tournament (wah) but I did make it to the second round, and I got a decent number of KO’s. I just need to keep practicing. If any of you out there want to battle, hit me up on Twitter – @gluxbox!

If that wasn’t enough gaming for you, there are three cool titles coming out THIS FRIDAY (Oct. 24th)! Coming to stores is the adorable Fantasy Life, which is another open-world style game with a bit of action and quests thrown in. Also coming out on 10/24 is Pokemon Art Academy so we can learn how to draw some of our favorite Pokemon – and I hear each game comes with a demo code for Pokemon Alpha Sapphire and Omega Ruby, which is coming out this November! Not to be forgotten is Bayonetta 2 releasing this Friday for the Wii U, which has really cool dark graphics and a lot of magic and dragon-filled action/adventure (check out the demo on the eShop now)! I’m definitely picking up Fantasy Life on Friday… the others might have to wait. Too many games, my wallet can’t handle it lol!

What games have YOU been playing lately??  😀

Disney’s Magical Game

Pretty much all of my other games can just kiss me goodbye for the next few weeks, because I’ve found the ultimate game for me!!

Disney’s Magical World is everything I’d hoped it would be and more.  It’s like a combination of all of my favorite types of games, from Animal Crossing to Harvest Moon, with a touch of Diner Dash/Cake Mania, plus a little third-person action/adventure element too… all set in the Disney world, of course!

I fell in love with this game immediately.  I enjoy collection games where you have to seek out and collect as many items as you can, and that’s what this game has in spades.  Every area of the in-game world has special themed collectables, which you use to create new dishes for your Cafe, or to assemble new clothing sets, and craft themed furniture items too!

When I discovered that the 100 Acre Wood was the area where you can farm, I was so excited!  I love Winnie the Pooh so much.  After I planted some crops, I noticed that Pooh, Piglet, Rabbit, etc. would come over and help me water the crops and pull weeds!  How freakin’ cute is that???

So far I’ve unlocked areas for the following Disney themes: Cinderella, Winnie the Pooh, Alice in Wonderland and Aladdin.  (Note that I’ve only been playing the game for like 4 days lol!)  I literally cannot stop playing this game.  I’ve heard some criticism on the “grind” but I don’t even notice.  I love collecting everything, and as you play further in the game certain collectables become extremely easy to obtain and it all becomes second nature.  The action/adventure aspect is so much fun because you can craft new clothing that gives you better defense, and you can increase your offense by upgrading your magic wand.  It’s so cool!

I love being able to customize my Mii by wearing different outfits.  You can put together your own look by wearing different Disney themed hats, shirts, pants and shoes.  On top of that, you can unlock costumes, Quest outfits and formal wear.  I’ve already completed the Cinderella gown, so I get to run around dressed up in a fancy ball gown!  It’s adorable.

Honestly, I could go on all day about how much I love this game.  I hope I don’t beat it too quickly.  All I can think about as I write this is how much I want to play the game.  I’m obsessed.

There are two criticisms that I have of this game.  First of all, there is no Wi-Fi (aside from DLC) for online multiplayer.  Secondly, while there is free DLC, there is also paid DLC.  As of now there’s only like $5 worth of DLC you can buy, but I can see that easily adding up over time as they release new themes.  I’m a sucker for this stuff so I might be in trouble lol!

Holy Awesome Games!!

If you haven’t seen the latest Nintendo Direct, or rather, the Smash Bros. Direct from 4/8/14… well you are missing out.  The half hour long presentation has taken the Nintendo community by storm!  New game footage and details have been revealed about the upcoming Smash Bros. games for Nintendo Wii U and Nintendo 3DS.

There is just TOO much to hype about in the upcoming Smash games!!  So many new Pokemon playable characters, the Animal Crossing Villager character, new stages, new Final Destination stage options, new game modes for the 3DS version… and the graphics for the Wii U version are just so fantastic, I can’t get over it!  If you haven’t checked out the Nintendo Direct, watch it here.  Even if you’ve never played Smash Bros. before, now is the time to get into this franchise.

Can I just say that I totally LOVE Sakurai??  His hair is awesome!  He clearly is a huge Pokemon fan, has a hilarious sense of humor, and definitely represents what I consider to be “my generation” of gamers.  Is it bad that I secretly wish Sakurai would host all future Nintendo Direct videos?  😛

The bad news is that we have to wait.  Super Smash Bros. 3DS won’t be released until this summer.  The Wii U version is slated to be released this WINTER (holiday season no doubt) so we have a while before that new challenger will approach.  Not to mention we don’t have any actual concrete release dates.  I hate that!  My main worry is that the Wii U version will eventually be pushed back to 2015.  Fingers crossed that the developers stay on schedule.  Super Smash Bros. is going to be huge for StreetPass communities, and I can’t wait!!  So what am I supposed to do until then?

Good news!  Lots of cool games are coming out in the coming weeks and months.  Tomorrow, April 11th is the release date for Disney Magical World, which I’m sure many of my readers are psyched about!  If you haven’t heard of it, it’s kind of like a cross between Disney Infinity and Animal Crossing, with a touch of Harvest Moon.  You’re in the Disney world, and you get to interact with the Disney characters in a similar way to how Animal Crossing works.  From what I understand, it follows the daily calendar.  But you also get to gather items and collect things, which you use to craft OTHER things, which is why I say it’s also kind of like Harvest Moon.  Plus there’s some action/battling and you also run a cafe.  Everything I like!  If you want to learn more, check out this trailer:

Lots of cool games are coming out in May as well.  Namely, the awesome new Kirby Triple Deluxe and Mario Golf are both slated to be released early May.  At the end of May comes Mario Kart 8 for Wii U, which also looks to be AMAZING.  Sweet HD graphics on Rainbow Road?  Yes please!!

So hopefully all of those new games will tide us over until the release of Smash on 3DS later this summer.  I know I barely have time to play the games I have… I bought Yoshi’s New Island recently and have barely had a chance to play it because I’m still backlogged!  I was rushing to beat Pokemon X before the PVGC, but now that the big competition is over I can put Pokemon down for a minute.  What I really want to do is finish Zero Escape: Virtue’s Last Reward which I had rented from GameFly.  I’m like half way through it so that’s my goal.

And if you are wondering… I have NO idea how I am going to manage 3 ACNL towns as well as Disney Magical World.  I haven’t even played ACNL in over a week, I’m sad to say.  There are just not enough hours in the day!  I’m hoping I will make some time to play games this weekend, even though I will be in Boston for PAX East.

But what can I say?  I have a ton of awesome games to play so I really can’t complain can I?  😀

 

Ready for Setsubun!

UPDATE ON WASABI:

Fans of Wasabi can breathe easy.  It seems that Wasabi is no longer in imminent danger of being destroyed!  I did a bit of research on my game loading slowly, and saw that I wasn’t the only one experiencing similar problems.  I was reading some different forums, and many suggested that perhaps the SD card was to blame.  I investigated this a bit, by playing some of the other apps and software that I have stored on my JP3DS’ SD card.  Every other game I tried ran fine, and there were no more issues regarding the A button acting strange.  I determined that it couldn’t be the SD card.  (For the record, I’m using a Lexar 4GB SD Card.)

More research turned up this forum thread, which was very interesting.  The original thread creator describes that he is facing a problem that is almost identical to mine, only my game wasn’t crashing, just taking a long time to load.  This poster describes how it could be a digital software issue, an SD card issue, and then there was one more factor that he described in his thread:

Wow, just wow… My town crashed for the sixth time today, 3 days after I formatted that SD card into FAT32. When it happened, I was playing online with two other players in my town with the “Best Friends” function activated and my town has quite a lot of bushes, flowers, trees, and whatnot… Most of the other towns I visited are usually less jam-packed than I do. It might be due of the complexity of my town for raising the crash rate over time.

This post got me thinking about Wasabi.  What was different about Wasabi as of late that would cause it to act differently than it had in the past year?  Ohhh right… Wasabi was completely overrun with bamboo at this time.  Then I started thinking about how Animal Crossing save files have been notoriously large (remember how you needed an entire dedicated save cart to run AC: Game Cube?) and maybe all that bamboo (plus everything that comes with bamboo, such as new spawned shoots/cracks every few days, loads of rotten shoots that didn’t have the room to grow into real bamboo, which I hadn’t been shoveling up) was causing the load time to slow.  Think about it, the game has to render all of the townies, houses, flowers, bushes, public works, your full catalog… and now I was forcing it to render hundreds of bamboo stalks, shoots, cracks and rotten shoots all over my town.  It sounded like a VERY plausible cause.

So I did what any reasonable person would do.  I grabbed my golden axe and went on a rampage chopping down all the bamboo!  I left all of the bamboo stumps because they look pretty cool, like wierd mini warp pipes or something.  Guess what?  It seems to have done the trick!  As soon as I saved Wasabi with it’s new “bamboo stump” style, the game loaded up much more quickly!  What a relief!

My advice: While it’s awesome and fun to decorate your town with all of these new features like shrubs and bamboo and public works, remember that aesthetically (and apparently from a coding perspective) less is more.  You don’t need to have something in every single square inch of your town.  In fact, doing so seems to kill your game!  I don’t know if anyone had the same issues with a cartridge, but at least if you have a digital download, use caution!  But personally I think it was the living bamboo with all of the spawning and rotten shoots that was the main issue in my game.

Having said all of that, the good news is that the Setsubun Festival is ON!  If you are still interested in participating in the festival, which I will have open in Wasabi on Monday 2/3 from 9PM-11PM EST, please visit the event page here:

https://www.facebook.com/events/1461491234064525/

The main reason I ask you to RSVP on the event page is so that I know how many to expect.  If I don’t have it already, please comment on the event page with your friend code so that I can add you to my system.  I will also be trying out a new format for this JP event.  Using the StreetPass Long Island Twitch Channel, I will be streaming this event live on the internet.  Hopefully this will make it easier for people to see who is coming and going, and when they should pop in.  Our Twitch channel also has a chat room, so hopefully the power combo of a live stream AND a chat room will make the experience a little smoother for everyone.  Keep in mind that the chat room on Twitch is not compatible with iOS, so you’ll want to be on a real computer to participate in that way.

Hope to see you all there!  Fingers crossed that we won’t have any more loading problems in Wasabi!