(DM) – Wednesday March 22, 2017 Paintball, video games, comic books what? What do these have in common? A lot more than you may know. In short, these pastimes have converged with cosplay. In a word, LARP’ing. LARP is an acronym, Live Action Role Playing. It came about from fantasy dice games coming to life where players actually dressed in costume. More than just dressing their part, players acted out what the game roll of their dice required using prop swords and prop knives in mock battle for example.
How does LARP’ing connect to paintball, video games and comic books? Consider the saying, “All dressed up and nowhere to go.”
You have this great outfit with some practical uses, but not put to use. That’s a bummer. You can see where this is going now can’t you? Paintball, comic books and video games have joined forces not to simply look the part, but play practical roles. Not all costumed characters lend well to this but many do. Seen below are masks that don't work well for paintball but would work with paintball's cousin, airsoft. However with the right eye coverage (high impact lexan) these two could be paintball ready.
Paintballers, video gamers, and comic book readers often overlap in interest. Paintball is the one activity where you get to exert yourself physically. For year’s video gamers have been in awe of some of the on screen outfits worn by their virtual counterparts yearning to act out in real life what they enjoyed on the small screen. Comic book heroes bring that same desire to the table.
Enter cosplay which is short for costume play. In most respects cosplay precedes LARP’ing. If you’ve dressed up for Halloween or a costume party, you’ve cosplay’d. It’s reached epic proportions in
Paintball like other sports has various types of gameplay. Speedball requires the most athleticism, yet most play casual woodsball (aka rec ball) and scenario games requiring less intensity. Scenario paintball games are overblown, and over-the-top experiences. Where in many recreational paintball games you top out at 20 or maybe 30 players per side in a 15 minute game, imagine a game that lasts all day or even days – that is scenario. Furthermore consider games with hundreds of players and sometimes thousands.
Scenario games do have themes with objectives but are not re-enactments. The outcome is decided on the team most focused on achieving the goals and objectives (with point values) throughout the event. Despite playing for a win, there is a huge element of laissez faire. You can walk off the field at any time for your own break or even leave the event early. With that understood players found over time some of the game elements called for certain players to be labeled as characters, and here is where cosplay or LARP’ing finally enters into paintball. Scenarios are often given a theme from either a comic book, film, or video game.
ION draws over 4,000 players for a three day weekend each July. Paintball players from around the world will camp out and even dress in military garb. Some will make tongue cheek jokes to keep things light, take for instance German player representatives sporting a Marvel Hydra flag at their campsite. Or players chanting in game, “Hail Hydra!” It's a matter of time before we see a Hydra Bob on the field.
In Chesapeake City Maryland at OXCC paintball complex each December is Battle of the Bulge, taking its name from another World War II event. At Topgun Paintball in Jackson New Jersey (physically next to Great Adventure Amusement Park), is another annual scenario called the Alamo, in that case an actual fortress is stormed in a final battle when the event closes.
Fulda Gap is yet another annual scenario out of North Carolina. To the North in Kitchener, Ontario - Flag Raiders holds Phoenix Project D Day 28, Guns of Navarone. Break out your WWII clothing for that annual event each June.
Yes, that is a real paintball gun! (Seen above) Modified but real! Behind Justin is Robert Brejcak dressed as Wesker from Resident Evil. Living Dead's two main teams are The Brotherhood and Stranded with the smaller third entity being the Umbrella Corp / Undead.
Passion is part of the game and Living Dead is one demanding scenario. Justin Stoner's Nemesis suit retains a lot of heat around the head especially, causing the him to sweat a good bit on a hot summer day. In the case of Nemesis he was a neutral character that either team could use to their own ends IF their scientist could turn Nemesis to their side. Robert Brejcak's Wesker played for the third entity Umbrella Corp, his character was invincible like a tank, but with some nuanced rules. Wesker could not start battles and was only armed with a pistol.
Scenarios can't always directly reference a licensed product so you'll often get variations like, COGs of War (Gears of War) or Metal Gear Tactics (Metal Gear Solid).
Scenarios are constantly being modeled on comic books and games, such as X-Men with the Brotherhood vs the Mutants, or Star Wars, vrs Star Trek, (see poster below) where some Star Trek players can beam in behind enemy lines.
In the example of X-Men some players had super power attributes such a autohealing (essentially the same as a tank in most other scenarios). From themes based on 1940’s noir to video games like Assassin’s Creed, Metal Gear, Halo, Destiny, the list goes on.
You can build things yourself or buy functional cosplay. If you have the talent and tools, constructing gear with a sewing machine can be a fun experience in and of itself, however what if you want to buy? You could of course commission things to be built using resources such as the 501st when it comes to Star Wars related items, or a more expansive cosplay site such as The RPF .
For nuanced items such as the Assassin’s Creed Hood you could use Etsy or if you have the extra cash try Volante Design’s for stunning Hoodies, gauntlets, and coats from The Assassin’s Creed franchise: http://www.volantedesign.us/.
For more hoods based on Star Wars, Destiny, Titanfall, Legend of Zelda, and Mass Effect you gotta check out Musterbrand at https://us.musterbrand.com/en/. We’ve found a great resource is the New York Comic-Con, not only can you find Cosplay’ers that will knock your socks off with their own work, it’s great to network with them to help you or sell you a future item. Even better is the New York Comic-Con show floor where we found Volante Design’s and Musterbrand have items right on the show floor for immediate sale.