Saturday, 11 February 2012

Video Game Tattoos and Indecision

This was originally posted on Forces of Geek in early January.

Here's the thing, I was going to write about my video games of the year but realised that it's technically still December and while there are no new releases pre-2012, there are many games that I haven't yet played and to write an article about 2011 releases without sampling them would seem a little counter-intuitive.

So I'm going to fill up the remaining days of December with Halo Anniversary, Sonic Generations and Gears Of War 3 (Thanks, Father Christmas!) - Actually, if I'm honest, I'll probably end up playing Skyrim (it has my soul trapped in a little pink gem, I can't help it). When I'm not slaying dragons or enchanting my weapons I'll be thinking about the upcoming year, 2012.

Potentially the end of the world, my gaming time this year needs to be spent wisely.

This is why I've started thinking about what my New Year's Resolution will be.

Last year, I had a newly bought Kinect and Dance Central and promised myself a leaner, healthier me...


Well, here I am 12 months later writing this while slovenly eating chocolate over my keyboard... mmm, delicious chocolately keyboard.

Subsequently, this year I want to have a more resolute resolution - I want to get a tattoo but this is where I find myself in a quandary - not only do I have to think of something good and design one but I also have to choose how big it should be, where to get it inked and decide what is most meaningful to me! No wonder I've put this off for so many years, the endless options and overall permanence of it is just terrifying.

Years ago, I wanted to get the Triforce from the Zelda games tattooed somewhere on my pale, pasty skin - I didn't care where, anywhere. I mentioned it in one of my posts earlier in the year about what the Legend of Zelda means to me. Though, something put me off the idea of etching courage, power and wisdom into my skin - namely, the hordes of other people I'd seen with the same thing. Including my nemesis - though she doesn't yet know it - Jessica Chobot:

(it's a pretty dull video, so skip to the end!)

Not only has the Triforce been sullied for me but other video game related designs are also off-limits, primarily because I've been questing endlessly for something "unique". Unfortunately there are only a finite amount of games and series' I enjoy and subsequently any good ideas are going to be in some way derivative. Either that or someone else has stolen my idea.

In the meantime, while I'm thinking about what tattoo to get, let's analyse some of the more interesting choices. Video game tattoos have a bad press, they're seen as childish or dated because, after all, the games we love now will be far-away memories in 20 years time.

However, I think they're awesome and anyway, they certainly beat the unoriginality of Winnie The Pooh, dolphins or stars, lots of frickin' stars! I'm not saying video game tattoos can't be done badly because they really can, point in case:


Common themes in video game tattoos seem to favour retro or long-standing companies (like Sega, Commodore, Atari, Nintendo), arcade games (soooo many Pacman tattoos!) and in-jokes such as this adorable couple donning their complementing Zelda tattoos. Most people will recognise Link on this guys arm but few will understand his girlfriend's heart containers unless they've played the game. Romantic and geeky... aww.

Some people opt for a combination of their favourite games, use their bodies as a marker for every game they've played or bring together iconic images from various awesome retro games melding them into totem poles of awesome! (see right).

Epic gaming montages are another popular choice for the inked gamer, whether incorporating vast scenes or representing all characters from a game series, inking a huge area like your back shows total dedication and wins you kudos with any gamer. This one (below) is an example of that and is an impressive homage to the Super Mario series. I can't say I'd be brave enough to cover my whole back with a full on Zelda scene-scape but it'd be damn impressive that's for sure.

With game graphics constantly improving, recent video game tattoos are more than likely, sprawling artworks as opposed to logos. If you do decide to go for a logo here's how NOT to do it, it's evident that whoever had this inked onto their back is probably never going to have to fret about hoes...EVER:

The best gaming tattoos I've seen are full sleeves or complete back or abs coverage, they scream dedication, like this one (if you're wondering, the hoody is from Insert Coin Clothing and it is awesome);

Of course, deciding on a tattoo based upon video games can be limited.

There are only two main options; logos or characters. As such, trying to find something different within these categories is somewhat impossible. The only way to express oneself through a tattoo in a more unique way is to focus on locations or scenes.

Think, the entirety of BioShock's Rapture tattooed on your back, every beautifully creepy underwater aspect captured - something like that is as important as the characters that live there and looks timeless, whereas an image of a Big Daddy, while very cool now will eventually look dated.

This leads me on to the Halo games, a tattoo of the planet would be stunning, if done well.

Items are another way to be out of the ordinary, unless you're getting Mario items tattooed on your arms - that just screams unoriginality. I'm thinking more along the lines of contemporary games like the Gears of War series for example. Collectible items like cogs would look very cool and also work as a symbol of the game. However, rather than opt for the game's logo, the idea of having real looking cogs hanging around your neck would look great if it was done right and would certainly raise more eyebrows.

Alternatively, tattooing big red veins for your big fat neck to resemble Marcus Phoenix might also get a similar response but ultimately, you probably don't want to do that.

Undoubtedly, there are already hundreds of Elder Scrolls fans who already have the dragon logo from Skyrim inked on their bodies and I'm not surprised. The design of the logo is perfect for a tattoo, it's intricate yet not too detailed, it's a shape that would look good on any body part and to non-gamers, it's just a really well designed dragon tattoo and everybody knows dragons are frakking cool.

I'm almost talking myself into it though while it does look pretty majestic, I would choose to replicate a shout from the game or the word "Dovahkiin" (Dragonborn), both would certainly receive major geek outs from fellow fans, I mean, uh... fellow Dovahkiin's.

Another tattoo I'd like to see would be long-standing characters evolving (like The Evolution of Man), it would be an interesting tattoo especially for characters that have changed dramatically through the years.

Better still, a Usual Suspects style line-up of your favourite gaming characters, especially as you could incorporate more than one game franchise. All these ideas are currently swarming around in my skull causing me to question why I've even had trouble in the past deciding whether or not to get a video game tattoo.

Thus, in writing this post I have made my decision... In 2012, my blank canvas of a body shall be blank no more. The real question is whether The Legend of Zelda really is the game to pick a design from? Especially when I haven't played Skyward Sword and don't intend on buying a WiiU with it's upcoming Zelda title. Am I a true fan!?

Perhaps, I better hedge my bets and leave it another year, see what new games are released... after all as much as I love Zelda and the Triforce, if I'm not going to buy a WiiU just to play it, should I really have it permanently tattooed under my skin? Is it that important to me anymore? Is the pain of a thousand needles worth it?

... Yes.

1 comment:

  1. I've been trying to decide the exact same thing for so long!