For many, games are a nostalgic part of their childhood and teenage years. Whether you’re a console purist, a mobile app junkie, or someone who enjoys the get-outside-and-move model of the highly popular, though short-lived Pokemon Go! sensation, video games are a major part of modern life. So there’s no wonder why people like to commemorate their love for video games by getting tattoos on their bodies.
If you want to join the ranks of the mighty few who have gaming tattoos, we’re here to provide you an all-in-one resource with all of the information that you need to know. From the significance of common gamer tattoo designs to the top gamer tattoo styles, placements, and tattoo pairings, read on to find out everything you need to know to brainstorm gamer tattoo ideas for yourself.
Because there is such a massive range of games in this world, there is also an endless number of possible gamer tattoo meanings. While we can’t possibly cover them all here, below we provide an overview of the potential meanings for some of the most common gamer tattoos.
In the world of Pokemon, Ash Ketchum is the main protagonist who has always dreamed of being a Pokemon master. He’s a novice Pokemon trainer who is a protector of Pokemon and very compassionate and kind. Ash’s best friend is a Pokemon named Pikachu, whose special power is to emit static.
Because Ash is so closely tied to the world of Pokemon, he is one of the most common tattoos that people get to represent their love of the Pokemon franchise. Other common Pokemon tattoo designs include Pikachu, a Pokeball, and other characters like Misty, Brock, Jesse, and James, as well as other Pokemon like Charmander, Bulbasaur, and Squirtle.
Everyone who has played the Sims recognizes the Green Diamond that hovers above one of the sim’s heads. This diamond is a marker of who the player is controlling, and it’s easily the most popular Sims tattoo.
Jenova, an extraterrestrial enemy in Final Fantasy, is also known to Final Fantasy fans as “Heaven’s Dark Harbinger.” Jenova is recognized for her ability to assimilate herself to other life forms, and she’s also known to take over other life forms by posing as their loved one as a decoy. The Jenova tattoo is a popular design with Final Fantasy fans.
The Hylian Crest is one of many popular Zelda-themed tattoos, and its design is featured above. It represents an archaic bird, known as the ‘Loftwing,’ and it shows up in several important places throughout the virtual world of Zelda. The Loftwing is a symbol of divine protection granted by the Goddess Hylia, and the crest belongs to a magical race of people in the game’s world called Hylians. These people have pointed ears and remarkable powers inherited from their ancient ancestors. To celebrate the long-living, heroic spirit of the Hylian peoples, these special crests are often featured in tattoos.
Another very common tattoo design from the Legend of Zelda game is Princess Zelda herself, a magical princess who is actually the mortal reincarnation of the Goddess Hylia we described above. Most Legend of Zelda games require Link (read more about him below) to rescue Zelda from Ganon, an evil warlord turned demon king.
While many people tend to mistakenly refer to him as Zelda, the protagonist of the Legend of Zelda series is actually named Link. Link is an elf-like child, teenager, or adult of the Hylian race from the land of Hyrule. While he may look like an ordinary boy, in-game lore actually points to the fact that Link is the reincarnated soul of a legendary hero who is called to defeat the forces of evil.
Mario, a popularly tattooed character from Super Mario Bros, is the main icon of all the Super Mario games, and he’s known for his extraordinary ability to jump. Mario is an Italian-American plumber who is the most versatile of all characters, and he’s well-known as a ‘Jack of all Trades’. Mario’s ability to jump allows him to activate ‘? Blocks,’ mystery boxes that contain coins, super mushrooms, or fire flowers, and ‘P-Switches,’ which can turn enemies into coins or open access to a secret door for a limited amount of time.
Pac-Man features a cast of fun characters, and the Pac-Man himself is a very popular tattoo. He looks like a yellow pizza with a slice missing, and he’s a family man with a good appetite and high spirits. A common image is that of the Pac-Man eating a virtual cherry or strawberry. The game also features several well-known ‘Ghost Monsters,’ henchmen who steal power pellets. One popular, evil-doing, genius ghost is named Orson. All of these characters are common tattoos, and they’re often depicted against the backdrop of a convoluted maze.
The game Tetris is made up of what are known as Tetrominoes, which are often depicted as tattoo symbols. Tetrominoes are blocks made up of four square components, and they come in a variety of configurations that need to fit with the blocks at the bottom of the screen. The player’s goal is to rotate the tetromino so that it fits properly in a limited amount of time. Tetromino tattoos commemorate one’s love for the game.
Although the popular Nintendo character Kirby first appeared in a Gameboy game, he has since become one of the most iconic Nintendo characters of all time, if not one of the most popular video game characters in general. With his distinctive round, pink body and ability to copy his foe’s powers, Kirby has appeared in over 20 video games, as well as anime and manga series. In addition to being able to inhale objects and creatures to gain their powers, Kirby can also float by expanding his body.
The title character of the Sega Sonic the Hedgehog game series is Sonic the Hedgehog, a blue hedgehog who is known for his ability to run at supersonic speeds and curl into a ball in order to attack enemies. As he races through levels, Sonic’s goal is to collect rings while avoiding enemies and obstacles. An incredibly iconic video game character, Sonic was one of the first video game characters to be inducted into the San Francisco Walk of Game, along with Mario, Link, and Master Chief.
Speaking of Master Chief… This iconic character hails from the first-person shooter Halo game franchise as well as the Halo books and graphic novels. Master Chief is a supersoldier of the Spartan category who was raised to be trained for combat. Because he serves as a mascot for the Halo brand, Master Chief is one of the most common visual symbols associated with this video game series, which is why many Halo fans get tattoos of Master Chief.
While it’s not associated with a specific game, another very common gamer tattoo that can express one’s love for video games, in general, is the Konami code, also called the Contra code and 30 Lives code. The Konami Code is a cheat code that appears in many games from the company Konami, although it has also made its way to other company’s media and as an easter egg into a large number of websites. The Konami code is up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A, and it can be entered in most video game controllers and keyboards.
As the lead female character in Nintendo’s Mario franchise, Princess Peach is very noticeable in the Super Mario Brothers character lineup. She is the ruler of Mushroom Kingdom, living in her castle with her Toads. Sometimes Princess Peach will play the role of the damsel in distress, although she is also sometimes a playable character. Princess Peach is probably one of the most famous female video game characters in gaming history, making her a pretty popular tattoo inspiration.
In general, when people get gamer tattoos, they are usually of an iconic symbol or character that has already been drawn or rendered by the company that the game belongs to. And in most cases, people will get tattoos that are as identical as possible to the original imagery and iconography that they intend to get on their bodies.
That being said, there are also those who take stylistic liberties with their gamer tattoos rather than staying entirely faithful to the original design. When this is the case, here are the tattooing styles that are most often chosen.
Perhaps the most common tattoo style for gaming tattoos is the neo-traditional style. An offshoot of the American Traditional tattoo style, which is iconic but also fairly limited in terms of color palette and stylistic flourishes, the neo-traditional tattooing style is much more flexible, rich, colorful, and lush. Because video game characters and imagery are already often very colorful and even opulent, they lend themselves well to the neo-traditional style.
Another tattooing style that works well for gamer tattoos is the linework style, which is when a tattoo is rendered entirely or almost entirely with lines, including the shading. This is a more subdued and elegant style of tattoo, which is a good option for people who want to pay homage to their favorite video or computer game in their tattoo but without getting a carbon copy of a video game image inked onto their bodies.
For people who are getting gamer tattoos that they want to be simple, small, or even not immediately recognizable as a gaming tattoo, a great tattooing style option is the minimalist tattoo, which uses crisp lines, negative space, and sparse color palettes. This is a good option for people who prefer their tattoos more plain and basic.
Another choice you’ll need to make when planning your gaming tattoo is where you’ll get it on your body. The truth is that gamer tattoos are incredibly diverse and flexible, the same way that games themselves are. That means that where you get them on your body will entirely depend on the tattoo itself. Factors like size, color, style, and personal preference are all things you’ll want to think about when choosing your gaming tattoo location.
That being said, here are some placements that might work well with your gamer tattoo that you can consider.
If you want to get a gamer tattoo that is going to be easy to show off to both the world and yourself, the arms are a great spot. They’re very versatile when it comes to size, plus they are a highly visible body part. This is great if it’s important to you for you and others to be able to see your tattoo.
Another option that is similar to the arm gamer tattoo but slightly more private is the leg gamer tattoo. Depending on where you get the tattoo on your leg, it might be more or less visible. For example, a tattoo on the thigh will be highly visible while you’re wearing shorts, but hidden during pants season. A tattoo on the calf will be much more subtle, but the trade-off is that you also won’t be able to see it as often.
If you want your gamer tattoo to be large, in charge, and very detailed, getting it on your back or chest is a great option, as these are pretty much the largest flat swathes of skin available to us for tattooing. While you can get pretty large tattoos on your arms and legs, they’ll warp as they wrap around your rounded body part. So if you want to make a statement with a bold gamer tattoo that is easy to hide under a shirt, the back and chest are both solid options.
A lot of the time, people want to get tattoos that involve more than just their main image or symbol. Whether it’s for additional decoration, to contribute to the tattoo’s meaning, or to fill in extra space on the skin, it can be worth thinking about whether or not you’re interested in getting other tattoo(s) paired with your primary gamer tattoo. If you do, here are some options worth considering.
Do you have a favorite quote from your favorite video or computer game? If there’s a quote, phrase, or word that you associate with the image you’re choosing for your gaming tattoo, perhaps one that resonates with the meaning of the main tattoo, you can consider inking it alongside your gamer tattoo.
If your gamer tattoo is of something with intense or fiery associations, you can consider getting it on a background of flames, which will emphasize its fierce nature.
A gamer tattoo that is more on the cute side can look nice with small stars and sparkles surrounding it, especially if they are emphasizing certain parts of the tattoo and filling in negative space.
If your gamer tattoo has a natural or organic type of style, like Bulbasaur from Pokemon or Link from the Legend of Zelda, it can look really nice over a natural background with plants, flowers, leaves, grass, etc.
It’s no wonder that we relate so strongly to the world of video games: despite the fantastical elements in virtual universes, many video games have their roots in everyday human experiences. The characters have motivations that closely mirror our own, and the game worlds, though usually based in science fiction, are thematically similar to ours. That’s one of the things that makes gamer tattoos so beautiful and popular. If you choose to get one of your own, we hope the information above can help you make the important decisions about your tattoo’s meaning, style, and placement.
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