My First Gaming Tattoo

So last year I turned 30. Three zero. An age of responsibility and adulthood. I am no longer in my twenties and have decided that I am a little late off the mark for making poor life choices. I mean, I have been on this planet for more than three decades and I have done very little to actually make my family ashamed of me. I haven’t even been to prison, and for a young man from Texas that’s pretty scandalous.

So late last year, I decided to fix that. Not the prison part. I’m not going completely crazy. I’m just getting a tattoo.

I floated the idea by my wife (cause I’m being rebellious, not stupid) and she didn’t hate it. The only thing left to do was to decide on what I wanted done. Seeing as I write for a gaming website, something from a video game seemed like the logical choice, but what to pick? Hylian crest? Persona 4’s Teddy? A gorilla high-fiving a shark in front of an explosion?

It isn't from a video game but it damn well should be...

It isn’t from a video game but it damn well should be…

Chrono Trigger. I went with Chrono Trigger. Because of course I did.

The question became which image to have inked on my person. There are a lot of really amazing moments in that game that keep me coming back to it over and over again. The scene where Frog makes peace with his guilt over Cyrus’ death and becomes the true wielder of the Masamune? The bit where everyone piles into the Epoch for the first time? The lonely old man at the end of time? It’s a game that is chock full of moments that give me that emotional lump in the throat as I play them, so picking should have been a very difficult task. In reality, though, it wasn’t, because I was already well aware of what scene I would be happiest wearing on my sleeve (or chest, in this case).

The scene with Crono and Marle at the top of the mountain, after the long, exhausting journey to bring him back to life. I’ve talked about why this scene sticks out to me so much, but for those who can’t be bothered to click a link I will sum it up for you. The game starts out in typical video game fashion. You are the hero, Crono. You go on a quest to save the princess, Marle (you don’t know she’s a princess at the time but that’s just another trope, really). You rescue her from non-existence, because time travel is a bitch, and then go on a quest to save the world from an alien spike monster. All pretty standard stuff, until about three quarters of the way through when the main character gets straight up killed in front of the princess and all his friends. What follows is the princess, who had journeyed back and forth through time with him, leading the others on a quest to bring him back from the dead.

A lot goes into this quest and it gets a little weird. A game of Simon Says with a floating face and hands plays a big role, in fact. But after everything, including a journey up the very friendly sounding Death Peak, Marle finally succeeds in cheating death and time itself by bringing Crono back. She tries to tell him about all the dangers she has faced and the trials she has overcome, but instead she just falls into his arms at the bottom of a tree at the top of the world.

For those of you who haven't played it, it looks like this...

For those of you who haven’t played it, it looks like this…

So there it is. I’ve chosen the game and even the specific scene I want plastered across my chest. What more could there be to talk about? Quite a bit, actually, because making that decision is just the first part of getting a tattoo. See, Chrono Trigger was released in 1995, which you might recognise as twenty-one freaking years ago. Photorealistic games weren’t a thing yet. Heck, this was back in the 32 bit era. Pixels weren’t just something that occasionally went dead on your monitor and caused you a minor inconvenience; they were the entirety of the art style used in the game. We had to use our imagination, goddamn it. Not like kids today with their motion capture, polygons, and loud music…

The point is that pixels were part of life and since the scene I wanted wasn’t one of those that had been animated in Akira Toriyama’s style for the Playstation release of the game I had to make a few compromises in order to ensure that the art looked good on my pasty, white chest. For instance, outlines would need to be smoothed out and would lose their pixelated quality and the colour of the tree would need to be altered to greyscale.

All of this was fine since the tattoo artist (Sam from York Tattoo and Piercing Studio) walked me through the whole process, explaining what changes would need to be made and why and totally not laughing at me for being a helpless nerd. She had a bit of experience working with video game tattoos so she could offer just enough guidance that I could make an informed decision but not so much that she was taking the decision away from me. It was an excellent experience, even if I’m sure she laughed at me and how poorly I handled the pain.

Turns out I’m the biggest wimp.

So what is the point of all this? Well, many of you might be considering getting inked with the image of one of your favourite gaming icons. In fact, I’m already planning on getting something done around The Legend of Zelda or a favourite anime, but if you’re like me and have a love for games from the long, long ago, I would suggest doing a bit of shopping around to make sure that you find an artist that can make the conversion from pixels to skin in a way that works for both of you. After all, it’s all fun and games till someone has to have laser tattoo removal.

Chrono Trigger Tattoo

The result! Also, hooray! My chest hair grew back!

Do you have some video game ink that you can show us without us having to change the classification of the website? Send us a link in the comments below or share it on Facebook! We promise not to tell your mother.

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About Trent Cannon
An American trying to infiltrate and understand English society, Trent is a writer of novels and player of games. He has a serious addiction to JRPGs, the weirder the better, and anything that keeps him distracted from work.

  • Francisco Guerra

    I have the Mark of the Outsider from Dishonored tattooed on my hand, in addition to a couple of Warhammer 40K tattoos.

    • Trent

      That is some dedication to the cause, man.

      • Francisco Guerra

        You never stop at one!