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21/11/2009 Artistic Art Gamer Article
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Virtually Dressed Up Article

Virtually Dressed Up

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A video game is only as good as its characters. The story and setting of a game are crucial. And a large part of the appeal of a video game character is the clothing that he or she wears.

Art directors spend countless hours conceptualising and drawing sketches for their characters in search of an iconic look that will be instantly recognizable and potentially become a brand.

I've come up with a list of four video game characters who have great get ups and we wanted to highlight them here.

Link - Legend of Zelda: Link dons a classic green tunic with a belt and high boots that gives off a rugged fantasy look while still being unique. No matter which Zelda game you power on, Link will be wearing a tunic with a sword on his back.

Another key piece to Link's outfit is his draping hat that stands mid shoulder. As part of the Legend of Zelda lore, a hero will always wear the green tunic as part of his journey. Nintendo has tied the cannon of the Zelda series to the costume that Link wears for further effect. The only thing that we are wondering is how Link fits all of his items inside of the tunic.

Yuna - Square Enix: Their anime inspired characters have been a part of gaming since the original NES. The costume that stands out most in their series is Yuna's. She made her debut in Final Fantasy X and later appeared in the sequel Final Fantasy X-2. The clothing in question appears in Final Fantasy X-2.

What makes it all more interesting is the change from X to X-2. She is a side character in X and she wears conservative traditional robes. When she emerges as the main character in X-2, she loses the subtlety and wears one of the best examples of a neo-modern fashion sense. She wears a half skirt with black shorts and a tight top with a cape.

Her blue skirt has three layers and white frill and goes down to about halfway down her thigh high lace up boots. She almost always is seen with a revolver in each hand completing her outfit. This over the top display shows Square Enix's anime roots.

Ivy Valentine - Soul Calibre: Or rather her almost complete lack of clothing. She wears tight purple leather that barely even covers herself and tight stilettos to complete the outfit. She also wears shoulder pads. This complete lack of a costume was novel in a fighting game as being completely over the top and unpractical. The latex makes a zigzag down her stomach accentuates her white skin with the purple clothes.

Mario: Wearing bright red with blue overalls, and a red cap to match, Mario has been beating bad guys for longer than any other character on the list. His costume was originally designed as the easiest way to display running and jumping with the limited pixel count of the Nintendo Entertainment System.

It has since evolved as new characters were added to the Nintendo line up with Luigi, Waluigi, and Wario all wearing contrasting costumes to Mario's red and blue. If someone were to wear red with blue overalls for Halloween, they would be instantly recognized as Mario.

Costumes can make a character come alive and give immediate recognition. These are 4 great examples of how video game characters come alive with their clothing.

Written by Mary Hess

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Mary Hess writes the Art Gamer column.

"Are games art? The long debate may never be settled. Either way these reviews come from a place that responds to something deep and meaningful."


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