Thursday, June 28, 2012

Zelda Cosplay - The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword







While I have not cosplayed in years (I believe 2009 was the last time I constructed a costume together), I recently had an urge to make Zelda's Skyward Sword costume (her Skyloft costume, to be specific). After finishing the game in December 2011, I fell in love with Zelda's character, as well as her design. What I also love about Skyward Sword Zelda is the fact that this is the first time seeing real romance between Link and Zelda. In the past, it always seemed that Link had to save the Princess because it was his duty for the sake of Hyrule. In this game, however, there is a completely different spin on Link's motives for saving her. I will leave it at that in order to avoid spoilers (even though it is way past the window of the game's initial release).

I am not a master costumer. I have constructed costumes from scratch, so I would consider myself on the  intermediate level when it comes to creating costumes. Why is this good? Because I really want to reach out to those who are beginners or are on the same level as me and are looking to cosplay. I am skilled with fabric, sewing, and embroidery. But when it comes to armor and props I require commissions. Out of all of the past Zelda's elaborate character designs (those tapestries have so much detail!), I felt that Skyloft Zelda was the easiest costume to make. Boy, was I wrong. The little details in the costume require a lot of patience and thinking outside of the box. I was not entirely happy with the way some pieces of the costume came out, but I was overall satisfied with the costume after I put everything together. The following is a brief summary of how I constructed this costume. I hope that anyone who is interested in cosplaying Skyloft Zelda will find this post helpful.




Pattern and Materials

Unfortunately, there is not a pattern out there that is completely accurate to Zelda's dress. Therefore, I had to find a pattern that resembled her dress best and modify the pattern myself. I am not very good at altering patterns, so with the help of my aunt and grandmother, we were able to perfect the dress. I used Butterick B4827 for Zelda's dress. The material I used for the dress was a light cotton, and that is probably for the best for several reasons: it does not wrinkle easily, it is lightweight, and it does not add a shine/glow when pictures are taken. I was worried that I was not going to find the same color pink that matches her dress, but my local fabric store had the perfect match.

For the yellow/golden trimming on the top and bottom of Zelda's dress, I used a yellow ribbon. Instead of sewing the ribbon onto the dress -- which usually is frustrating because ribbon frays easily -- I used Heat n Bond iron-on fabric adhesive.

Zelda also wears a brown belt, where the tapestry she wears connects. I want to point out that I used a brown pleather for that belt and I would highly recommend anyone who wants to make this costume to do the same. It is easier to maintain than real leather and it looks great with the costume. 






Zelda's Sash/Tapestry

I do not know what the correct term is for the blue sash she wears on her belt, but nonetheless it is very pretty. It was also extremely challenging to make. For one, it is difficult to find the bird image on the internet. It is not the Hylian crest, but it obviously resembles the crest very closely. My aunt is a wonderful artist and she was able to trace the bird symbol onto a thin sheet of paper, and from there we traced it onto white cotton fabric. Again, we used an iron-on adhesive to attatch the bird symbol to the sash. This is definitely much easier than hand sewing or using a sewing machine and I cannot stress enough how it should be used whenever possible. 



The Wig

Honestly, I do not even want to talk about this wig. It was not too difficult to make, but it did not hold for very long. It is hard to replicate Zelda's hair because she is an animation, and the two pieces of her hair that are tied in ribbon in the front are not exactly a good representation of hair in real life. I knew it was going to be difficult to create, but I gave it my best shot (with the help of my mom who tied the ribbons together). We used crazy glue to glue the ribbon pieces onto my hair so they would not move. Unfortunately, the wig did not hold up for an entire day and pieces in the front began to fall out. The picture to the right is how the ribbons initially looked,  after looking at the professional photographs it is easy to see that the wig did not stay looking so nice.






Additional Info
  • The elf ears were purchased at Aradani Studios, the Anime Elf Ears.
  • I would not recommend this, but the belt was made from a sturdy cardboard that I spray-painted metallic. Truthfully, it did not look as accurate to Zelda's costume as I had hoped. I would suggest searching for a "circle belt" for a better looking piece for a Zelda costume.
  • Something that is not as easily noticeable is the fact that Zelda does not have bare legs. It looks like she wears white tights underneath her dress and with her brown boots. As a cosplayer, if you are going for complete costume accuracy I would take note of this.



I had originally planned to wear this costume at the Symphony of the Goddess Concert, but I decided to debut the costume at AnimeNext in Somerset, NJ. Some of the photos I used in this blog post are courtesy of the lovely Emily B.!

Overall, I would give this costume a difficulty rating of:

3.5/5
(I figured the heart containers would be appropriate)


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XOXO

Miss Magitek

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Well, E3 2012 Was Not All That Great.



Today was the last day of E3, and before the hype completely subsides, I would like to talk about my feelings. My initial thoughts about this year's press conferences are not very different from most people. I feel this year was one of the more disappointing years. This is not because there was a lack of good games to look forward to -- I definitely have a long list of games that I saw at this year's E3 that I will be getting. However, the presentation of just about everything at this year's E3 was rather disappointing. E3 is like Christmas, Superbowl, and every other exciting day put together for gamers. We certainly do expect a lot from these companies, and we do not like to be let down. Out of the five companies that presented, I feel that Ubisoft stole the show, but there were even things about Ubisoft's press conference that had me shaking my head in disappoint.

What I feel was missing the most out of this year's E3 was the element of surprise.
Millions of gamers watch these press conferences in anticipation that the companies will blow us away with something we never would have expected. It is hard nowadays to surprise gamers because things are constantly being leaked on the internet (if I am not mistaken, the new Splinter Cell was supposed to be a surprise, but it was leaked earlier before Microsoft's press conference).

Ubisoft was the only company that really took us for a surprise with their premiere of Watch Dogs. As I was watching -- I was not even sure what I was watching -- but I knew it looked awesome. It was something new and different; a refreshing change from the sequels, prequels, reboots and third installments to games that we have been constantly seeing (not that any of those are bad things, but it is good to finally see an intriguing brand new game).

The "big three" (Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo) failed to bring out any excitement in me. Like I previously said, I was either a) expecting what they were showing or b) the presentation did not convince me enough that what they were showing was worth being excited for (i.e. - Microsoft's "smart glass"). I will admit, though, that Sony is usually a snooze-fest for me, especially since I do not have a PS3 and/or Vita. But this year was the first year that Sony actually had me interested in purchasing a Vita because of All-Star Battle Royale and God of War: Ascension. Still, there were other parts of Sony's press conference that had me quite bored.

E3 2012 was not a total bust for me. Overall, I discovered some great games that I look forward to playing in the near future. The main problem was they were not presented well. I would like to end this post with a few of my own personal "top 5" lists from this year's E3, both good and bad.

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Top 4 things I was looking forward to at E3, but ended up being a disappointment.


4) Resident Evil 6
This was a game that I have been excited about ever since I saw this trailer (Leon AND Chris? Yum, it is a fangirl's dream), but the presentation of it at E3 did not impress me. I mean, the gameplay looked cool, but Microsoft's press conference made it look rather uninteresting. The footage they showed during the press conference made it look like Leon was having an awful day; zombies were in his face every few seconds, his helicopter crashed through a building, and so on. The first game trailer and everything I have read about the game still make me want it, but the press conference made it look far from impressive.


3) Gears of War: Judgment
As a huge fan of Gears, I will definitely be buying this game. However, a 20 second "teaser" of the game and no gameplay footage was not what I was expecting at Microsoft's press conference. They spent a great deal of time showing off a Nike fitness game, but only a brief  moment on this much-anticipated Gears of War game. I know many will agree that this was a very disappointing move on Microsoft and Epic's part. IGN, G4, Spike, and other sites have further discussed the game, but the press conference was meant to be an introduction to the game's awesomeness. Unfortunately, it failed to do so.


2) Dead Space 3
The first Dead Space was a horror game, to put it simply. There were points in Dead Space 1 that had me crying I was so terrified. Dead Space 2 really lost that horror aspect that the first game had. After watching the Dead Space 3 trailer, I was sad to see that it looks like it is going to be the same way in this game. I feel that the Dead Space franchise is slowly going downhill, this new game looks more like Gears of War and less like a real survival horror game.


1) Wii U 
I would say that the entire Nintendo press conference was just awful, but there were a few announcements for the 3DS that had me excited. It was really just the Wii U aspect of Nintendo (which was the majority of the press conference) that had me disappointed. If you know me, I love Nintendo. In my opinion, they usually always win E3. Last year they did an incredible job, but this year they really plummeted. The Wii U has already appealed to me, but what disappointed me most is that they did not appeal to the self-proclaimed "hardcore gamers" who have no desire to buy a Wii U. Nintendo has always focused on the "family" aspect of gaming, which is great. But they also have claimed to appeal to those who consider themselves "hardcore" gamers. There are still so many unanswered questions about the Wii U. When is the release date? How much is it selling for? Is it a next gen console? Let's be real -- it is not a next gen console if they are going to spend a good portion of time talking about Arkham City, a game that came out last year. I am thoroughly disappointed that Nintendo did nothing to appeal to the gamers who have harshly criticized them, they have only given them reason to be more critical. Even some sort of Zelda, Metroid, or Star Fox announcement would have made the press conference better -- we were all waiting for something about the Wii U to blow us away, but there was nothing that did.

Runner-ups: Star Wars: The Old Republic updates, Fable: The Journey.

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Top 5 games shown at E3 that had me tossing money at the screen (AKA the games that look awesome and I want right now).


5) Metro: Last Light
Maybe this was not the Metro 2034 we wanted, but definitely the sequel we needed. Metro is one of those incredible games that was never really advertised too much, so it was no surprise that there was no mention of it at any of the press conferences. Nonetheless, the footage that was covered by IGN, Gamespot, and other gaming resources had me looking forward to this sequel of a game that I fell in love with right from the start.


4) Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance 
A rather confusing title change, but nonetheless a long-awaited game that does not fail to look great. It was another game that was not shown at any of the five press conferences, but Konami had their own "pre-E3 conference" where they talked about this game. I will admit it looks nothing like any of the Metal Gear titles, instead it looks more Ninja Gaiden-esque. However, I am not upset about this because this is not Snake's game, it is Raiden's game. I know that I am going to have hours of fun kicking butt as Raiden in Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance.


3) Star Wars 1313
Another game that was not shown at any of the press conferences (I am beginning to spot a trend here; just more reasons as to why the press conferences were not that great). This game was the most impressive looking game at E3 because the incredible-looking cut scenes were also the gameplay. I have no idea when this game is coming out or for what consoles, but I do know that I am going to enjoy playing as one of my favorite classes in the Star Wars universe: the bounty hunter.


2) Watch Dogs
This game took everyone for surprise (except the Ubi devs, of course. I am in intern with Ubi and I did not even know about this game!). There was hacking, stealth, along with many other cool elements. Quite frankly, the game was unlike anything I have ever seen before. Good on you, Ubisoft. You have created something new and refreshing for gamers to enjoy. This was definitely one of the most talked about games during this year's E3.


1) Assassin's Creed III 
Not only was this the number one game that I was looking forward to this year, but Ubisoft presented it so beautifully and did not get my hopes up for nothing. I already saw an exclusive trailer of AC3 at PAX East, but I still wanted more. Taking Assassin's Creed to a completely new setting was the best thing that Ubisoft could do for this franchise. The American Revolution is a period in time that is never touched by video games, and now gamers can experience this time period with Conner. Jumping through trees, killing bears, being able to see George Washington -- these are all elements of the game that I cannot wait to experience. I already have the game pre-ordered and now I am anxiously awaiting late October so I can finally play it for myself.

Runner-ups: Halo 4, Splinter Cell: Blacklist, God of War: Ascension

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Check out my awesome Assassin's Creed 3 shirt! Looking forward to this game along with many others this fall & holiday season!

xoxo
  Miss Magitek 

Saturday, June 2, 2012

G4, Why You So Mean To Nintendo?



I have been a follower of G4 for many, many years. To this day, I rely on them for decent video game news, and I always watch X-Play out of curiosity to see how they rate certain games. Despite all of this, there has always been something about G4 that has irked me -- their blatant hate of Nintendo. I have noticed it increasingly more with E3 2012 coming up and their negative views about Nintendo's press conference (which I will discuss further in this post). If you have not followed G4 as long as I have and are not as much of a Nintendo fan as myself, it may be hard to notice. Since their G4TechTV days with older shows such as Electric Playground, this company has had some sort of weird grudge against everything Nintendo. Very rarely have I ever seen a G4 person praise Nintendo.



Before I go any further, let me point out that I am not talking about third party Nintendo games (because, honestly, not many of them are too good, anyway). I am saying that G4 hates on first party Nintendo games. Not only first party Nintendo games, but Nintendo consoles. Not only consoles, but the entire company.


Here is how it all began for me:

I used to frequently watch Electric Playground while it aired on G4TechTV, not because I ever agreed with the reviews, but mainly because I would like to argue with Tommy Tallarico through my TV screen. I love Tommy, I have met him, and he is an awesome person in the video game industry today -- but wow did his reviews suck on Electric Playground. About 90% of the time he hated on Nintendo. I wish I had some good footage of the show while it aired on G4TechTV, but that was back in 2005 so it is much harder to find videos of it.

In this video which shows some clips from the show, Tommy talks about how disappointed he was with Pikmin, while Victor tries to balance his negative views out by pointing out the positives such as the games' uniqueness and originality. Victor gave Pikmin an 8/10, while Tommy gave it a 5.5/10; Tommy also noted that the Nintendo GameCube was a huge disappointment to him. Jak & Daxter, however, he had nothing bad to say about.

I have not followed EP since they stopped airing on G4, but all I can say is while they were on G4 I witnessed a great deal of Nintendo-bashing. This is where I began to become more observant of the Nintendo hate.


I am not going to highlight every incident where prominent names on G4 have said bad things about Nintendo, but here are some of the more recent incidents, mostly from the lips of Adam Sessler (now a former host of X-Play) and Morgan Webb.

Gasp?! Is this Sessler interviewing Reggie?
A very rare sighting considering G4 is NOT covering Nintendo at this year's E3.

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1) On an episode of Attack of the Show, Webb called Super Mario Galaxy 2 insulting to play as an adult.

Back in 2009, Webb was discussing recent action platform games with Blair Herter. Webb stated that Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time was the only real action-platformer during that time and went on to say Super Mario Galaxy 2 is "for kids":

"…And let’s be honest, there are no other action-platformers out there…This is it, this is it…This is the only game out there for people who like action-platformers. I mean, I guess Mario Galaxy, but Mario Galaxy feels like its aimed so much for kids. Whereas this is like for everyone, but you feel like you’re not being insulted when playing it as an adult."


2) During a discussion about the most popular action games of 2011, here is what Sessler and Webb had to say about Skyward Sword.

Adam Sessler: Zelda. I think it is curious. Of course I’m going to play it, but it’s not drawing up that same level of enthusiasm that a Zelda game usually would.

Morgan Webb: *Yawns* Okay, I think basically what it is is that you show Zelda and then right after that we showed Uncharted, and just the difference in graphics and just adult nature of Uncharted…the graphics were beautiful.

Adam Sessler: And the evolution of gameplay…it doesn’t feel like we’ve really graduated from what we experienced in Ocarina of Time.

Morgan Webb: And how great would a Zelda game be on a modern console with modern graphics?
Adam Sessler: Exactly.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 

X-Play claims to be a show that gamers can "trust" for good game reviews. If you ask any Zelda fan about Skyward Sword, they have nothing but praises and enthusiasm for the game. But Sess and Webb do not seem to be moved by Skyward Sword, even though they claim to have played other Zelda games.


3) When Skyward Sword won G4TV.com's "Best of 2011 Deathmatch", where fans were given the opportunity to vote for the "best game of 2011" title, X-Play claimed that the only reason Zelda won was because of "angry Nintendo fans".

4) Webb told CNN in an interview titled "What is a 'gamer' in 2011" that hardcore gamers do not play motion control games like the Nintendo Wii. 
The funny thing about this interview is, Webb was asked about the Wii U and PS Vita. Instead, she does not say anything about either console and states that there is no skill involved with Wii motion games.

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CNN Geek Out: With the Wii U and the PlayStation Vita coming out next year, is this where we are headed with more motion controls and less button pushing in gaming?

Morgan Webb: I think there is room for both. Core gamers - the hardcore gamers who play games like "Gears of War," "Call of Duty," "Assassin's Creed" and Skyrim" - that gamer is definitely more interested in using a controller for a lot of their experiences. The problem is that [with] the [PlayStation] Move, these motion experiences aren’t nuanced enough to actually give the player as much control as they would have with a [regular] controller. For example, if you are swinging a sword on a Wii game, you slash to the right and it does a right slash or slash to the left and it does a left slash, but it doesn’t really track or there is no skill involved. Now you are just standing up there making slashing motions for three hours.


4) G4's latest E3 2012 predictions do nothing but insult Nintendo.

This is what pushed me over the edge to write this blog post. Is this how "top minds" of G4 feel about Nintendo? As a Nintendo fan, I am truly insulted. None of them had anything good to say about Nintendo's press conference. If you do not want to click the link to see for yourself, here is what everyone had to say.

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Rob Manuel:

If you don’t already know what to expect at the Nintendo Press Conference 2012, then I just have two words for you – Wii U. The new system that still has people scratching their heads will get its chance in the spotlight yet again. Along with the new system, Nintendo will surely talk about new games, something for the 3DS, and someone may actually remember that we still have a Wii.

I’ve gathered yet again the top minds behind games at G4 to find out what to expect at the Nintendo Press Conference.

Matt Keil:

The big Wii U push: price (over $250 is suicide), release date, launch titles, the whole deal. I expect Pikmin 3 and New Super Mario Bros. Wii U as launch titles from Nintendo. I really hope the rumors of the insane Metroid/Star Fox crossover game by Retro are real. Nintendo will attempt to prove for the third generation in a row that they have strong third-party support, which will consist of current-gen multiplatform games with a Wii U screen controller gimmick added in. The 3DS section of the conference will focus on apps and online features nobody wants, because Nintendo is still trying to compete with Apple instead of making a successor to the DS and its exceptional game library.

Becky Jutzi:

The Wii U is Nintendo’s only hope, Obi Wan Kenobi. They will hopefully display some games that mainstream and hardcore gamers alike will enjoy, much to the disdain of their mothers. I really hope this is the year that Nintendo grows up and allows some more mature games into their library. Maybe a Halo-clone? They will announce their dedication to churning out 3D versions of all the NES, Gameboy, and GBA games that we have already bought more than once.

Leah Jackson:

This year, we’ll finally get an understanding of what the Wii U is capable of and hopefully Nintendo will also announce a new title for the system itself. We’ll see some of the games coming to the system, and possibly even a teaser of the Zelda or Mario game that will hopefully debut with the system. We’ll also get to hear about how amazing the Nintendo 3DS is selling, how it’s the greatest thing since sliced bread, and why it’s a much better handheld than its competitor.

Nikole Zivalich:

This is a tough one because I want Nintendo to blow me away, but I don’t think they will. I have a bad feeling the Wii U will have nothing to convince me I need to own it as long as I own a Wii.

If I stop being a negative Nancy, then - OMG the Wii U is going to be awesome. They are going to announce an HD Zelda: Ocarina of Time and a BRAND NEW ZELDA! 4 MORE YEARS!

Stephen Johnson:

Nintendo’s press conference will consist solely of Miyamoto saying “The Wii-U is really cool you guys!” in a sing-song voice again and while dancing under a giant mushroom. This is a wish and a blessing.

Also: There will be a lot of games designed for kids, so hardcore gamers will complain about all the kiddy titles and wish Nintendo would go back to making games that were good. They will fail to realize that what they really want is to return to an earlier time in their lives, before all the pain.

Jake Gaskill:

Because this year is the Wii U’s big coming out party, expect to see plenty of compilation-type games in the vein of Wii Sports and Wii Play. Also, I can’t wait for the painfully awkward demo of the new Mario Kart and/or Star Fox game that I’m also guessing will be announced.

Rob Manuel:

Miyamoto’s downloadable dream team. Nintendo wouldn’t just allow one of their biggest stars to say that he’s looking into working with smaller teams if they didn’t already have something set up for him to work on. Forget launching Wii U with Mario or Zelda. Give me a dozen titles from the man who made my childhood that I can download to the new system or the 3DS.

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Media bias is everywhere nowadays. I do not think I have ever been on a , news website where there has been 0% media bias. I am not trying to put some sort of end to this media bias, but I sometimes wonder why it exists in this case between G4 and Nintendo. I am sure that if I walked up to Adam Sessler today, for example, and asked him if he hated Nintendo, he would most likely say no. But his actions and his reactions on camera toward Nintendo games back when he was part of G4 give me reason to think otherwise.

I will be honest, I am a Nintendo fan girl to the maximum degree. Perhaps I have my own bias. But I believe Nintendo has given me every reason to feel that they are as good of a company as Microsoft and Sony. However, I do not think that G4 takes Nintendo seriously and I believe Nintendo deserves more respect from the big names over at G4 (former names and current names, because I know how they come and go).

G4 is the self-proclaimed "Most Trusted Video Game Website" (it says so on my swag from PAX East and it also used to say it on their website). If they want to live up to that title, I feel that they should show less bias toward Nintendo games, products, consoles, and the company itself.