Cosplayers. They are the geeks that gamers love to hate. They're roleplayers that even LARPers make fun of. As a whole, I can't think of any other segment of the gaming populace that gets more vitriol thrown their way - except maybe furries. But this isn't about hatred. I'm going to tell you why we should not only love the cosplayers - but thank them, too.
First of all - they make waiting in line at conventions fun. We disparage their names, but really - who wouldn't be disappointed if cosplayers didn't show up in droves at conventions? Who doesn't love seeing the latest incarnation of Final Fantasy babes, rounding up stormtroopers for a group shot, or even running into a character from one of your favorite videogames? Cosplayers make waiting in line magical. You see Darth Maul, you want a picture, your friends want pictures, you strike up a convo about how they made their costume, and before you know it - bam - you finally get your hands on that 3DS. If there weren't cosplay babes and hunks to ogle at, that line would move even slower. You remember that the next time you're stuck in line for two hours, waiting to attend a panel with The Guild stars.
Secondly, can we all just take a moment to step back and admire the time, energy and overwhelming amount of skill that went into the creation of some of these costumes? Sure, anybody can throw on a bikini and call themselves Catwoman, but what about Big Daddy? The props for that costume alone entail some serious skills. Cosplayers are the renaissance men and women of our times - they knit, they sew, they weld, they forge. Do you know anybody else who could easily recreate an authentic 14th century 1 into 6 chain mail hauberk? I sure don't. I also don't know when I would need an authentic 14th century 1 into 6 chain mail hauberk, but that's not the point. I'm sure it would make a fine conversation piece.
Lastly, you will always remember the day you meet a really good cosplayer. Just from 2010's San Diego Comic Con, we were treated to a reconstruction of Colonel Sanders, complete with KFC bucket and a "Chef Vader," with a spatula and Jar Jar's head on a plate. Those moments make conventions, folks. Heck, I still remember the time I tracked down Robot Unicorn at WonderCon, and I can barely remember anything else that happened that weekend (except for Spike, of course).
-- Lauren Admire