Contestants at game show bring their fantasies to life

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 28 December, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 28 December, 2003, 12:00am

Ancient Chinese warriors and schoolgirls in uniforms and blonde wigs were among the characters brought to life from computer games yesterday at the Asia Game Show.

About 140 people aged four to 29 took part in the third annual contest to find the best-dressed characters from a video game, comic book or anime show.

Organisers said the number of 'cosplayers' (as the imitators are called) to appear simultaneously on a Hong Kong stage was a record.

While most of the participants dressed as characters from the most popular video games, some favoured characters from the Harry Potter movies or this year's hit screen trilogy Infernal Affairs.

One participant, Yiu Kwok-hung, 18, flew back from his secondary school in Britain for the contest.

'I get a real satisfaction out of making my own costume,' he said. 'The feeling is so different from buying it or having it tailor-made.'

Mr Yiu, who plans to study fashion at university, had spent the past five days sewing shiny plastic pieces together to make his warrior costume. He made the sword out of wood wrapped in silver plastic.

Another contestant, a 22-yearold comic-book salesman who goes by the name Andi-Dum, spent the past two months conceptualising and creating a costume modelled on Gundam, a robot-like character that has been his favourite anime hero since he was 10.

Andi-Dum spent about $500, and seven hours a day, creating his costume from plastic, cardboard and screws. Hiding behind the mask, he refused to give his real name yesterday, saying he didn't want people to recognise him.

'They might think that I'm an idiot for wasting so much time and money. Even my younger brother thinks this is immature.'

The contest was one of the major events at the annual Asia Game Show, which enters its fifth and final day today at the Exhibition and Convention Centre in Wan Chai.

During its first three days, the show attracted more than 200,000 spectators, up from 150,000 at last year's six-day show. Wendy Lai Sze-wai, marketing manager at organisers Adsale, said turnout was higher this year because the event was better advertised.

Sony Computer Entertainment Hong Kong is the major exhibitor. Keiichiro Kondo, director and general manager, said sales of video games had been better than expected this year.

The company had sold 3,000 software packs - three times more than last year. The company also sold about 1,000 PlayStation 2 game consoles.

Mr Kondo said Hong Kong people were becoming more educated on the protection of intellectual property rights and that was probably why they were favouring authentic software.