It was that time of year again when people put away their mild-mannered selves, put on costumes and makeup to transform themselves into totally different personas... Not quite Halloween yet, but it does start the creative Mood thinking of what to dress up for this year. The video game convention, Penny Arcade Expo -- or PAX -- came and went back in September. It's a weekend-long event where gamers gather to sit in ridiculously long lines to play as-yet unreleased games for maybe a handful of precious minutes, but like any genre/fan gathering, it's a place where you can dress up as your favorite video game/movie/comic book hero and no one raises an eyebrow, unless they want to show you props by asking to take a photo. You can be totally bizarre and not have to worry that someone will beat you up. Even though the convention is long-gone, I felt the photos were more fitting to be shared in October, as we near All Hallow's Eve.
Aside from the surreal experience of walking outside the city's convention center and seeing the streets mixed with plainclothes gamers, robots and cat-people, it does make you think about the notion of why we dress up. We're encouraged as children to role-play. We put on white labcoats and plastic stethoscopes and imagine ourselves as healers. We don a red helmet and wield a plastic fire axe, pretending to break through a burning building to save lives. Sometimes the pretending keeps going, and we imagine ourselves in a totally imaginary world. It's less about the future hopes and more about an escape, leaving the boxed-in world of normalcy and daring to envision a life on another planet, in a different dimension, or having powers that defy all natural laws. While I doubt all the people who showed up to PAX would want to live in an imaginary world, I'm sure there are many who prefer to exist in the costumed persona forever. It seems like a ridiculous idea for a grown adult, but if you think about it, if given the choice between reality and dream world, what would you choose?
Jaunty Fine Print: photographs by Denise Sakaki