So as the title says, I just finished writing my college essay. And what is it about? My experience cosplaying as the Witch from L4D at PAX East 2010!
When I say "college essay", I don't mean I'm in college writing an essay. I mean I'm in highschool writing an essay to submit to colleges alongside my application (the GPA, SAT/ACT scores, awards, activities, ect). It's supposed to be between 550-750 words in length.
I didn't know where else to post this on the forums, so if it doesn't belong here (or on this site at all), I'm terribly sorry.
When I finished writing it I decided I definitely want you guys to help me edit. Feel free to make any sort of comments/crits you desire. Grammar and the flow of the essay is something I really want comments on, if you can't think of anything else. Just want to let you know I may or may not take your advice depending on what you say - I still want this to have my voice in it, and I do have opinions about what I think is strong and isn't - but I really want to hear what you think. I'll keep revising it and posting the revisions so it stays up to date, too.
Changes in content will be underlined
. Each time I update it, the next newest change will be underlined and the previous update will return to normal. This is so you guys don't have to read and reread my essay. (:
Zombies at Gaming Conventions
You hear a faint moaning, a whimpering almost, coming from the dark room in front of you. Aiming your shotgun and flashlight into the room, you see a weeping girl in the corner. Raven black claws extend from her fingers, each one a foot long at the very least. Tight, tattered clothing cling to dirty, decaying flesh. The glare of the flashlight hits her eyes; and she starts getting agitated. You turn off the flashlight and back away quickly, about to make a dash, but it’s too late. Screaming and snarling, she lunges at you with her wicked claws.
The Witch, an undying icon from the popular zombie videogame Left 4 Dead
, strikes gamers’ hearts around the world with dread. At the Penny-Arcade Expo East, a convention for gaming and those invested, I became the very Witch they fear.
When I first arrived at four in the afternoon on that fateful Friday with three of my close friends, I looked like any other attendee. I had my surplus army medic messenger bag, which treasured my DSi named Billy, a set of crystalline Dungeons&Dragons dice, my Witch costume and makeup supplies, two blue ballpoint pens, and a roll of duct tape
. When going to a convention, always remember the duct tape. My pokéwalker clipped faithfully to my side, finding its home a prime place for picking up points as a pedometer. I was always a firm believer that you could tell a lot about a person by the contents of their bag, or if they carried one at all.
Before I got to the convention, I was dead set on wearing the Witch costume. I loved showing my dedication visually as well as interactively. When I got there and realized there were far less people wearing costumes than I had anticipated, I balked. I put off wearing my costume for an hour, the options of either putting myself out there or playing it safe bouncing around my head like a game of Pong. I came to the conclusion that, in the end, I would regret not taking the chance to do something outrageous and awesome. I was going for it.
Like when a superhero transforms from his true identity into tights and a cape in a telephone booth, I transformed from my true identity into a special infected zombie in a bathroom stall. I was no longer Rachel, female gamer and actress, I was the Witch, a sobbing, screaming, brain-craving creature. I waltzed out of the women’s room with complete confidence and an itch to get back in the crowd. Take the chances, go the distance, step outside your comfort zone. Life is like the game when you try to guess the number of candies there are in a jar: if you don't try to guess, you've passed up a grand opportunity, but guess the right number, and your life is so much the sweeter.
Pretending to be a zombie in the midst of thousands of normal people was one of the most positive experiences I’ve ever had. I took the risk, and was rewarded far greater than I deserved. Not only was I having a fantastic time, the other attendees were also enthusiastic about interacting with me as a mock in-game experience. They treated me as if they were playing the game, using whatever flashy objects they had to startle me, like camera flashes, cell phones, or even reflective surfaces, and brought out their invisible heavy-duty weapons to defend themselves when I launched my attack. However, they were also respectful and understood that when it came down to it, I was another human being. Similarly, I would react to them as they provoked me, thriving on the glee that spread across their faces when they realized I would respond as the Witch would, but at the same time knew when to end the simulation, be safe, and move on.
Turns out I made the right decision. From the moment I stepped out in public to the hour of my departure I was questioned, high-fived, and honored by journalists and photographers, curious random attendees, and quite a few of the thousands of Left 4 Dead
fans. I was videotaped by fans and professionals alike. My performance was recorded by G4 and shown as a reoccurring feature in their review of PAX East, which was broadcast on national television. The best honor of all was when even Mike Krahulik, the co-creator of the Penny-Arcade itself, said that my being the Witch and acting the part was his favorite moment in the whole weekend of PAX East, and even put a great video one of the fans took on the front page of their extremely popular website. Best to take the moment present as a present for the moment, and seize the day.