I went to my first Megacon last weekend. My girlfriend and one of her friends went in together on a vendor table to sell their jewelry, masks, and hair decorations, so I was there to help out behind the scenes. Apparently you can't go to Megacon without wearing an appropriate outfit, so we chose a couples costume worthy of our gaming backgrounds. On Saturday we became Wario and Captain Syrup from Nintendo's famed Wario Land series, and in my travels around the convention I experienced what it was like to be recognized (and not recognized) as one of gaming's most famous anti-heroes.
First things first: I learned that when you dress as Wario, people feel they are allowed to shout Wario's signature "WAAAAH!" grunt at you. People WAAAAHed at me all day long in lines, walking the halls, climbing stairs, and sitting in chairs. Sometimes they shouted it from afar, other times they were right in my face, but they all WAAAAHed. It is unavoidable. One person dressed as Mario confronted me in character, of all things, and I was so taken aback by it that I failed to have a snappy comeback ready. Mario wins again, dammit. As someone who prefers to just mind his business and keep to himself in public, this level of attention was unexpected and it took most of the day before I was comfortable playing along with it.
On the other hand, people who took the time to say words instead of grunts had lots of nice things to say about the costume. I even had a few people stop me to ask for a photo. The W hat and gloves are licensed World of Nintendo accessories and the shirt is off-the-rack, but the purple overalls are handmade by my girlfriend, a professional seamstress and tailor. She does exceptional work and I know it's the custom overalls that really elevated the outfit. It's easy to throw on blue denim overalls and become Mario, but for Wario's purple, you have to work for it. Her own Syrup costume is all custom-made as well, right down to the captain's skull belt buckle and earrings. I wish more people had recognized her as Syrup. Wario is easy to spot, but the captain is a bit more obscure of a character having only appeared in three games over twenty-years.
And while Wario is easier to spot, he's harder to identify. I had five different people throughout the day call out "Hey Waluigi!" at me, one exhausted vendor thought I was Luigi, and one older man asked if I was "the Mario brothers" which, hey, close enough. Coming out of a panel Q&A, a guy said he saw lots of Marios, Luigis, and Waluigis the day before, but no Warios, and now today here I was. "Sorry I'm late," I told him, "I had to work yesterday!"
For Sunday we passed on the costumes since we had to break down and unload the vendor table at the end of the day, but I wore a red shirt and blue jeans in what I jokingly described as "spiritual Mario". Nobody WAAAAHed at me and I wasn't stopped for photos on Sunday, so while it was fun to be Wario for a day and we'll have new costumes next year, I think I prefer the anonymity of my regular clothes for massive public events. Wario will be back though. We already have Halloween plans.