Cosplay Survey Update: Still Seeking Responses!

It’s been a while, hasn’t it? Last time I posted to my blog, more than three months ago, I solicited participants for the Cosplay Motivations Questionnaire. I collected nearly 260 ‘hits’ to the online survey but only about 190 participants actually completed the entire questionnaire. By distributing a new link, I hope to collect more information in order to draw more robust conclusions about cosplay and fan identities.

me-jill2If you’ve already taken the survey, I can’t thank you enough. I only encourage you to share the link with fellow cosplayers and explain the importance of finishing an online survey. It’s a challenge to interpret your results when pieces of the puzzle are missing!


Speaking of cosplay, I was Jill Valentine (Resident Evil) for Halloween last year – and I’m slooowly working on a new Star Wars costume. Hooray!


Cosplay Motivations Questionnaire Seeking Participants

The researcher/blogger in cosplay as Jill Valentine from Resident Evil.

The researcher/blogger in cosplay as Jill Valentine from Resident Evil.

If you’ve worn at least one cosplay costume to a fan convention within the past 12 months you are invited to take part in a study that aims to understand the motivations for making and wearing cosplay costumes at fan conventions, available here.

This survey was created by me, Jessica Tompkins, a Ph.D. student at Indiana University, Bloomington, in the Media School. I started making and wearing cosplay costumes several years ago and have attended several fan conventions over the past six years. My current academic research focuses on media and identity from a social scientific perspective.

I hope that you will participate in this study as it could be valuable towards understanding how cosplay functions as a subversive practice for identity exploration within fandoms. Your participation will provide insight on motivations for doing cosplay – a fan activity that is often misunderstood by non-fans. Thank you for your time reading this post and I hope that you will complete this brief questionnaire if you meet the qualifications. If you have any questions about the research project please feel free to contact me at jetompki [at] indiana [dot] edu. You may also contact me if you would like a copy of the final report once it is completed.

Please feel free to share the link among your social networks and groups (e.g. cosplay clubs), and if you would like additional information about the study, please do not hesitate to contact me. Thank you!

Resurrection Man and Historiographic Play

Resurrection Man is my video game project, currently in alpha phase, that compliments and serves as example for my written Master’s thesis of Media Arts. I will graduate from the University of South Carolina Media Art’s program in May 2014. My written thesis will be available online at that time.

For my thesis, project and written, I am exploring the ways in which games and gameplay serve a pedagogic or interpretative role for thinking about and evaluating historic individuals, moments and events. Other scholars, such as Tracy Fullerton, Steven F. Anderson and Ian Bogost have discussed and elaborated on the documentary function of computational artifacts. In video game scholarship, these types of games are often categorized as “documentary games,” or “docu-games.” However, I posit that this label is insufficient to describe how video games and other digial media may represent and simulate the past. I argue for a historiographic approach to designing historically contextualized games and play. Video games, via simulation and player-based interaction, can do more for history than simply preserve it as documentary record of the past. I believe that the interactive experience afforded by a gameworld engages players within a historical instance and that this may lead to new insights and perspective regarding the past.

My game project, Resurrection Man, is historically situated via character, narrative and play. Players are historically situated in the 19th century and control slave turned body snatcher Grandison Harris. Harris was a Gullah man purchased from the Charleston, SC slave block by the Georgia Medical school in Augusta in 1852. The medical school was in desperate need of fresh corpses for the student’s dissections and anatomy lessons and this unsavory task was given to Harris. In the game, player’s sneak into a moonlight cemetery to avoid detection from night watchmen, dig graves, axe coffins, and steal cadavers to return them to the medical school. Through the simulated grave robbing scenario, players are invited to question, evaluate and interpret the institution of slavery in service of 19th century medical education and practice.

Of course, there is a lot more covered by my research and much that I will continue to learn and expand upon as I read, write and design. For now, this post simply serves as an introductory discussion of what I am pursuing for my written thesis and game project.