I've always been a Playstation kid, and I've always been an outgoing person but the thought of dressing as my favorite PS characters in public was, for the longest time, just a dream. In my early teens, I'd rationalize to myself that the costumes are too hard, too expensive, or I'd just look lame in front of everyone. Never in my life did I think that I would one day be surrounded by throngs of excited fans with my hand raised squinting off into an imaginary desert at a busy Sony booth at Comic-Con. But like Drake quoted from T. E. Lawrence about the dreamers of the day, "they may act their dream with open eyes, to make it possible". This, I did.
The Uncharted series struck a huge chord with me since it was released a few years back. Starting with Drake's Fortune, I was introduced to a funny, confident, and capable treasure hunter, someone that his friends loved, and enemies hated. Naughty Dog and Playstation's awesome attention to excitement, story and lovable characters basically summed up everything I liked in a game, and a movie. I was beyond excited for Among Thieves and Drake's Deception. I'm still secretly hoping for an Uncharted 5 =p.
So of course, being new to cosplay, I wanted to stick to something grounded to reality. As far as I'm concerned, any foamcraft for armor is voodoo magic that like Bill O'Reilly and tides, I can't explain, so Commander Shepherd and Monster Hunter armor was out. BUT, why not go as my favorite scoundrel, Nathan Drake? I style my hair like his anyway, and it doesn't hurt that I rock climb too! In fact, why stop there? Why not shoot for my other favorite character, the greatest soldier that ever lived, Big Boss? As far as the gaming world is concerned, the name Snake is synonymous with manliness and superhuman will, which is what drew me to Metal Gear in the first place and I like to think that I'm pretty physically fit. Why not?
It took some time, a lot of time to get every piece of my costumes together but in the end I put them all together and was really happy with the final products. I have a hard time explaining what the feeling is like to people who've never done cosplay. I feel a rush of confidence, childlike fun, and excitement. When I clip into my STABO harness as Snake, I'm no longer Andrew to the world, I'm a war hero, a fighter, and a lover of cardboard boxes. As I hook my arms through my leather gun holster as Drake, I become a treasure hunter and a lovable smart aleck.
For me, doing cosplay has been one of the biggest joys in my life. I get to be whoever I want to be, and actually get praised and respected if I pull it off well instead of looked at like I'm crazy. Well, maybe I am a little crazy, but I love the boost in confidence that I get from the positive feedback from fans and people in the industry. This hobby also led me to meet tons of amazing of like-minded and enthusiastic individuals who dress up to celebrate their favorite characters. I've met game developers and cosplayers from around the country and it feels amazing to be a part of a group of people that are all a little crazy, just like me. And there is no other event in the world that has more of us crazies than San Diego Comic Con, my favorite time of the year. Whenever July comes around, look out world, Drake and Snake are coming to town. I throw on my costumes and head out feeling ten feet tall.
I'm walking to the badge pick-up line when before I know I hear an excited gasp followed by a "It's Drake!". I turn to see this young girl snap a quick photo of me as her line shuffled past. This was only the beginning. Sure enough, in the crowded halls of the convention center, whole throngs of fans stopped me to pose for them. I felt overwhelmed by the response, it was amazing. I had a hard time to keep from blushing as girls (and....some guys ) asked to take their photos with the one guy who is cosplaying as the man of their dreams. I decided to have fun with it and I made it interactive with some of them.
It was awesome to see so many fans of Uncharted and Metal Gear Solid. It made me feel good knowing that I wasn't the only one who had a ton of passion and love for a series. And it was even cooler to see that fans of Nathan Drake came at all ages! There was a 4 year old boy who out of the corner of my eye, I saw staring for a long time when I was waiting in line to meet Blair Herter from G4. I smiled at him and asked "do you know who I am?" and he nodded with a shy grin. I looked up at his mom and with a nod of her approval he ran over to me to snap a photo. **bleep**, that one melted my heart.
This past Comic Con was the greatest of my life, as I met tons of new people, several other great Nathan Drakes and Naked Snakes, spent the weekend with the perfect Tifa and got the attention of some important people in the industry. All of this crammed into 2 days. The words "Big", "Fat", and "Crazy" don't even begin to describe this cosplay story of mine. I am so thankful for meeting all these wonderful people that put so much time and effort into their work and who have make my life so much more interesting.
So what's next for this Nathan Drake/Naked Snake? " I dunno, I haven't thought of it yet". But with PAX looming in August, the possibilities seem endless.