Mar 29 2012

What Does Your Video Game Tattoo Say About You?

Published by at 10:00 am under Editorials,Lists,Video Games

If there’s a sector of pop culture that knows how to celebrate a hobby, it’s gamers. Just check out their fan fiction. Or soundtrack covers. But now that video games are finally mainstream, the modern gamer isn’t necessarily easy to spot. That dude a few cubes over could be one of the best COD snipers on the east coast and you wouldn’t even know it. That 30-something mother of two you saw on the subway might be able to kick your ass in Mario Kart 64. Gaming Introverts, I call these people.

But then you’ve got gamers who take it to the next level, and that level involves body art. Like all tattoos, their premise and execution varies in quality. Good or bad, though, here’s the thing: I judge people a little when I see their tattoos. Not in a bad way, usually, but if you take the time to create permanent fan art on your body, there’s probably a story behind it. And the more elaborate the art, the cooler the story (I assume).

So yeah, tatted gamers, I’ve got my eye on you. And in my general style of unqualified hyperbole, I’m giving you all backstories.

The Career Troll

Remember playing Halo 2 with your college buddies back in 2005? There always seemed to be at least one 12-year-old-sounding kid on the other team with the mouth of Bob Saget and the sniper skills of Mark Wahlberg. Well, that kid grew up, and his prowess in third- and first-person shooters grew right along with him. Yes, NukeAllN00bs94’s penchant for efficient violence in Video Game Land is a character trait he wants to wear on his sleeve (or shoulder, or back). Like, permanently. Also, he goes to the gym now, and owns a sword.

The Meta Gamer


Yep, hipsters can be gamers too. This is totally cool with me, though; it keeps them off the streets and holed up in their parents’ Brooklyn basements where they belong. Hipsters are loath to express genuine affection for anything in the “mainstream,” so their passion might take the form of minimalist tattoos that are incomprehensible to anyone who didn’t pick up that one side quest in Fallout 3‘s “Broken Steel” DLC. If you ask one of them about their Wiccan-esque body art, get ready for the long explanation. You’ll find meta tattoos on unconventional—yet generally visible—parts of the body, because come on, these guys are just waiting for someone to broach the subject as they wait for that double espresso. I mean, how many [regular] people out there actually know what those specific button presses unlock? What an obscure visual reference! I’ve never even heard of—hey, wait a second…

The Closet Gamer


You’ll never know this person is a hardcore gamer unless you’re dating or stalking them, because their tribute tats are generally undetectable to the untrained eye. When you finally spot those pudgy plumbers on the bottom of your girlfriend’s feet, however, their mustachioed faces are probably intricate and well-rendered, which kind of defeats the point of having a tattoo there to begin with. On a side note: the bottom of your feet? Really? My feet aren’t even ticklish and that already sounds just awful. 





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14 responses so far

  • http://www.twitter.Com/mecart mecartistronico

    Too bad the shoryuken guy got it wrong.

  • Eli Diota

    The shoryuken guy got it right…

  • Andy

    @Eli

    …except he didn’t.

  • trashcanman

    Shoryuken guy got it wrong, indeed. Wow, what a fuck up. I wonder how often he gets called on that. Great article, Mr. Fink.

  • Gale

    I very nearly got a ‘closet gamer’ tattoo, but went with a closet harry potter tattoo instead. I prefer to keep my tattoos hidden personally, I get them for me not others.

  • PokeMan

    A crouching punch is the best anti-air move.

  • PokeMan

    /end sarcasm

  • Diablo

    I love being in college and ex-military. Nothing is as hilarious as seeing hipster douchebags with military and prison tats they they have no clue as the symbolism.

  • Brian

    Not sure how much that has to do with this article, Diablo, but glad you got yourself some hobbies.

  • Lydia

    What about us girl gamers with n64 sleeves?? I am 23, still adore my n64 have a full sleeve tattooed, but also a mum of a two year old little boy!!!

  • Tommi

    Shoryuken is wrong at the angle photographed, but if the arm is relaxed, maybe works

  • Mortecouille

    Nothing. I’ll never have a game related tatto if ever I get one. What a terrible idea

  • Reeper

    Thanks for using my picture there under your meta gamer tattoo label. Its funny because my “Brooklyn basement” where I belong is actually my 3 bedroom house in CA. That weird green pant leg you see is the leg of my flight suit that I wear for work in the military. Is my tattoo obscure? Yes. Do I care who sees and understands it? No. My tattoo is for me, and nobody else. Of course I get asked what it means all the time, and I’m more than happy to explain. Go ahead and keep judging like the self entitled ass-hat you come off as, but you know what they say when you assume.

  • Wodle

    Haha thats my “cartoon boy kicking a pregnant woman” . But its well hidden and your right I don’t work at a desk I pick up dead bodies for the police. Nice article

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