Gen Con, one of the worlds largest gaming conventions celebrated its 50th anniversary this weekend in Indianapolis, Indiana! Gamers from all over the world converged on the Circle City for four days of playing their favorite board games and discovering new obsessions. While gaming is what brings most people to the convention, one of the most popular aspects is the abundance of cosplay on display throughout the event. The 50th anniversary was no exception as the cosplaying community descended upon Gen Con in full force to celebrate their favorite characters, show off their talents, and participate in the annual cosplay contest.
FEATURED ARTIST: MYSTIFYING ENCHANTRESS
One of my favorite aspects of an event like this is meeting with cosplayers to learn more about them and what inspires them to craft their elaborate costumes. As I roamed the halls of the convention center, I met up with a local cosplayer called Mystifying Enchantress, also known as Kiersten. She has only been cosplaying for a few months, but you would not guess that from the quality of her costumes. In fact, Gen Con is only the second convention she has ever attended. Kiersten is a professional wedding photographer who discovered cosplay while she was looking for another creative outlet to show off her talents. She and her husband, James, consider themselves huge gaming nerds, so cosplay was a natural fit for them to try something new while celebrating the things they love. Some of their favorite games are The Witcher, Minecraft, Star Wars: Battlefront, the Mass Effect series, and Dragon Age: Inquisition. Kiersten loves RPG games and is the of type of gamer known to play a game through multiple times so she can experience multiple story paths.
I caught up with her on day two of Gen Con where she was sporting an Elven Mage costume that is inspired by several of her favorite games. To assemble the costume, she scoured the internet for various articles of clothing she needed, and crafted an impressive mage staff on her own by drawing inspiration from YouTube videos. The staff is crafted from newspapers and hot glue, and includes a lighted jar attached to the top with a really cool blue glow. Her first cosplay was Yennefer from the Witcher series, which took her about three months to make and was shown off on day three of Gen-Con. For day four, she wore an Eevee costume. She hopes to attend Indianapolis Comic-Con in the spring, and already has a couple of ideas for her next costume. These include Darth Talon, the red Twi-lek Sith Lady from the Stars Wars Legacy comics, and possibly Slave Leia someday. Check out all of Kiersten’s work by visiting her on Instagram @mystifyingenchantress!
COSPLAY IN THE HALLS
There were plenty of other cosplayers in the halls as well. I grabbed photos of as many as I could while I meandered among the seemingly endless maze of board games and crafts. Check out the gallery below for a sampling of some of the best.
GEN CON ANNUAL COSPLAY CONTEST
Saturday evening brought what most of the cosplayers were waiting for… the annual cosplay competition. The competition pre-show began with a performance by Different Drummer Belly Dancers dressed as Star-Lord, Rocket, Drax, and Yondu. As they danced to ELO’s Mr. Blue Sky, the crowd clapped and cheered along to the music.
The contest included over 80 players competing in seven different categories of Pop Culture, Gaming, Fantasy & History, Anime, Pot Luck, Children, and Professional. Each contestant was allowed two minutes to do whatever they wanted on stage to impress the judges. The performances included a rapping Dr. Strange, a Rick and Morty comedy duo pretending to be two of the Avengers, a Vulcan wedding ceremony, and many other skits that fit the niche of the costume.
THE WINNER: QUEEN AMIDALA
Once every contestant had their opportunity, the judging began and the winners were announced. There were three winners in each category, but the grand prize came down to three contestants that the crowd determined. These were Princess Zelda, a Paladin, and Queen Amidala. After two rounds of cheering for their favorite, Queen Amidala was the clear winner.
Check out the gallery below for more photos from the event!
Tell us what you thought of Gen Con’s annual cosplay contest in the comments below!