To start with please tell the readers a little about your background.
My name’s Angel, and I’m a 35 year old Digital Designer living near Southampton. In defiance of my ever advancing age, I also love dressing up as my favourite video game characters.
How long have you been cosplaying? Which costume was your first?
Not all that long actually, about two and a half years. My first con was the MCM Expo and I was pretty nervous as I wasn’t sure what to expect from it. I opted for a FFVII Tifa costume, as it was fairly simple to pull together and I thought I looked a little bit like her. It turned out to be a real blast, now I’m kicking myself I didn’t get into it sooner. I’ve never entered any competitions though – maybe next year if I feel brave.
Who’s your favourite character to cosplay?
It’s got to be Fran from FFXII. She’s such a distinctive looking character and totally badass, even though it’s one of the least well known games in the series. Not many people cosplay her either; the costume itself is very tricky to make and because it’s quite revealing you do need a certain amount of confidence to wear it in the first place. But it’s also the one I’m most proud of, since I put a lot of effort into making her look accurate.
Do you make your own costumes?
Yes, I do. Some items I’ll make myself, other times I pick up bits and pieces from eBay like shoes or tops and then modify them to fit the character since I’m not the worlds’ greatest at sewing. But now I’ve made a few, I’m getting more adventurous and picking up new skills. So for Fran, I learned how to make craft foam armour and 4-in-1 chainmail. Oh, and bunny ears.
One thing it turns out I really enjoy making is the props. Yuffies’ 4ft shuriken was great fun to do.
Is there anybody you would like to cosplay that you haven’t or can’t?
The FFX version of Shiva, but styling wigs is my kryptonite. Otherwise it’s FemShep from Mass Effect. I’ve not done it up till now as the powersuit always looked pretty daunting, but since I know what I’m doing a bit more, I’ve decided to bite the bullet and give it a go. My spare room is now full of EVA floor tiles, patterns and spray paint, so fingers crossed for October Expo, really…
Have any of your cosplays ever gone wrong?
Not wrong as such, but there were a few malfunctions the first time I wore Fran to Expo. It was right in the middle of a heatwave, and my foam armour fastenings kept melting and snapping off in the sun. I learned a valuable few lessons from that. One, elastic is your friend in keeping things up. And two, take a friend along so you can load them up with superglue and duct tape.
Have you been to many conventions?
Quite a few now. I go to both MCM Expos in London, and I try and make it to the LFCC or Eurogamer as well. It’s great being around people who enjoy and appreciate the same kind of things that I do. What I’d really love though is to get to San Diego one year, that would just be the ultimate experience for me.
What game(s) are you playing at the moment?
Right now I’m working my way through Final Fantasy XIII-2, and a bit of Guild Wars 2 thrown in when I get some time. I’m biding my time until FFXV and Dragon Age: Inquisition come out, then I can wave goodbye to what passes for my social life.
How long have you been into games? What’s your first gaming memory?
Well, if I tell you the first game I ever played was Granny’s Garden on a BBC Micro, that ought to give you an idea of how long I’ve loved games. Since then I’ve worked my way through a couple of Amigas, a SNES, all the PlayStations and XBoxes, with some PC gaming thrown in for good measure.
Impressive. So overall, what’s your favourite game or genre?
It’s probably obvious by now that I’m a complete Final Fantasy fangirl, but I’m a sucker for all kinds of RPGs and action adventures. Back in the day I used to love Speedball 2, Elite and Rainbow Islands, give me a break, I was only 12. I also had an EverQuest habit for a good five years, but I’ve been clean for a while now. But, cliched though it may be, I think FFVI and VII hold special places in my heart. And Dragon Age. And Mass Effect. OK, so I’m not great at picking favourites.
What’s the most frustrating game you’ve played that’s had you stuck for hours?
It’s going back a bit, but I’d say the original UFO: Enemy Unknown for the Amiga. I loved it to bits, but it really was a case of having about five saves on the go at once, for when a Chrysallid popped out of nowhere and took out three of your best soldiers. I wasn’t standing for that. Or when an alien could head shot you from the other side of the map, but you couldn’t hit a barn door at three paces. And don’t get me started on Terror Sites, there was a reason they were called that.
Do you like playing online or just play for the story?
Depends what I’m playing I guess. I loved EverQuest with a passion – the quests and storyline were very good, but they weren’t really why I kept it up so long. I got into the raiding scene; taking down big bads, getting the best gear and trying to top the DPS parses. I gave the Mass Effect 3 multiplayer a go so I could get 100% galactic readiness (gotta catch ’em all) and really enjoyed it, and I used to love Doom and Unreal when I was younger. These days though I prefer PvE over PvP if I’m honest. I’m much more likely to play something with a gripping storyline that keeps me on the edge of my seat than the big shooters. If only because the thought of getting teabagged by a 12 year old is far too humiliating to even consider.
What game are you most excited about coming out in the near future?
Got to be Final Fantasy XV, hasn’t it? Bet you never saw THAT coming. I saw the original E3 trailer back in 2006 and thought it looked exciting, so I can’t wait to see the end result after all these years. I didn’t hate the XII series, but I did feel it lacked a lot of the magic of the earlier games like VI. I’m hoping XV will be a return to form; an open world, interesting characters, exciting story, good battle system, ludicrous weapons and gravity defying hairstyles.
Thankyou for taking the time to answer our questions, perhaps we’ll see you at the Eurogamer Expo this year.
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