In cosplaying, there is a mutual exchange between the player and fiction. In this sense, the relation between players and characters is similar to that between gamers and their characters. Game theories often stress that the avatar—the main playable character in a game—is not just a protagonist that can be read, but also an enabling character that the player controls. The character-player relationship has been described by De Mul (2005) as "ludic identity" and by Gee (2007) as "projective identity." Both concepts highlight that a player establishes his or her own identity while interacting with a game and its avatar. This interaction also shapes our interpretation of the fictional material. In cosplay, a similar thing happens. Players identify in multiple ways with the characters they portray. Some relations may be very personal while others more general (perhaps based on the outfit, the trope of character). What we see is that the identity of the fictional character rubs off on the identity of the player. The values or features of a character are projected onto the player by the spectators and player him- or herself. In turn, the interpretation of the narrative changes for the same group because of the cosplay, which can be seen as a performance that enriches the existing story or story world.

Marloes de Vries