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Yesterday, I was lucky enough (thanks, state tax refund!) to walk into the tattoo shop where my amazing artist works and walk out 3.5 hours later with a finally finished Deku Scrub tattoo and a pair of Mass Effect Paragon/Renegade symbol tattoos on my back.
My Deku Scrub is sort of two-years-old, sort of brand new. In April of 2011, I went in for my first ever tattoo session. I planned on getting the entire Deku Scrub done that day, but passed out about halfway through (I have low blood sugar), which made me nauseous. I had to cancel the rest of the appointment, but promised I'd be back in a couple weeks. A couple weeks, a couple years…what's the difference, really? The tattoo's significance: one of my family's favorite pastimes was gaming together, and a lot of my bonding moments with my mom happened as a result of playing and watching each other play Zelda games. I spent probably hundreds of hours reading the Ocarina of Time player's guide and exploring the game's map, which seemed enormous to me as a kid. As an adult academic, one of my first major research projects (which I was finally able to present nationally in March) was on archetypes of femininity in the Zelda series, specifically Ocarina of Time, The Wind Waker, and Twilight Princess. Needless to say, my experiences with the Zelda games are very meaningful to me. Not to mention, Deku Scrubs are just so darn cute. By the way, "Twenty-three is number one" is the hint the traitor Deku Scrub gives to Link in Ocarina of Time's Deku Tree. Do you remember that part?
Note: The blue rings are actually just stencil marks my tattoo artist used as reference points. They'll wash off in a couple days. The significance of my Mass Effect tattoos? Despite not yet being done with all three games (I'm only a few hours into ME3), the series has touched me in a way I haven't experienced since playing through the first few Kingdom Hearts games back in high school. I feel like a giddy, fourteen-year-old fangirl, and I love it. There are a lot of specific reasons I feel impacted by the series, but those reasons are still mostly personal. The symbols, specifically, speak to me as a relativist. The Paragon symbol represents a perfect hero; the Renegade symbol represents a perfect badass/meanie. I put one symbol on each shoulder because my heart is in the middle. I believe there is no black and white in the world – no pure evil or pure good. We are all grey. Er, purple.What do you think? Do you have any game-related ink? If not, would you like some? What do you want to get?
(Remember to avoid Mass Effect spoilers! I don't know how the game ends yet)
Ali is a former Game Informer editorial intern and is currently a
master's student at the University of Minnesota, where she studies
games, virtual communities, manga, and other nerdy crap. Follow her on Twitter or Tumblr.