Video games, especially Nintendo video games, have been a popular pastime for children, teenagers and adults since the late 1970s. One of the most famous video game characters of all time is Mario, the mascot of gaming giant Nintendo, and the main character of dozens of Nintendo video games. Mario is so popular that he is now appearing in body art in the form of tattoos.
Mario Video Games become Mario Tattoo Art
The first Mario video game was Donkey Kong, an arcade game that was released in 1981. In the game, Jumpman (who later became Mario) had to rescue a princess from a giant ape called Donkey Kong. These early forms of video games were highly pixelated, which means that the characters were built out of a few large pixels. This made the characters appear blocky, a stylized rendition of an artist’s character design that is often used in arcade tattoo designs.
Pixel tattoos of 80s video game characters have a sweet nostalgia about them. The majority of children living in America in the 1980s either owned a Nintendo or visited video arcades to play games. Because most video games had two controllers and allowed two players, video game marathons became social events, as did meeting at the arcade after school or over the weekends. It was through these game playing gatherings that most kids of the 80s formed happy memories surrounding the video game characters. Tattoos of Mario and other Nintendo game characters are a way of celebrating childhood and one of the things that made the tattoo owner’s childhood fun; Mario games.
The children of the 80s have now grown up, many of them alongside Mario. Over time, Nintendo has improved their graphics and game playing speed, transforming Mario from a pixel character into a 3D character. Thousands of images of Mario exist, so choosing a tattoo design for a Mario tattoo can be quite daunting. It all depends on whether you wish to honor the early Mario games or the more recent ones.
Playing Mario games is a pastime that is now spanning generations. Young adults who played Nintendo games as a kid in the 80s are now having children of their own and introducing their kids to the Mario games. The fun, adventurous nature of the games means that children and parents can play the game together, and the adults can leave the kids to play, safe in the knowledge that the game doesn’t include gore or violence. Mario tattoos are often chosen by parents as a way to honor their own childhood and to entertain their kids with Mario tattoos.
The Meaning of Mario Tattoos
Although the video game creators didn’t intend for the characters to be symbolic, there are a few characters and objects in the game that can have symbolic meaning. Mario has a brother, Luigi, who is younger and taller than Mario. Mario wears red, a confident, passionate color, while Luigi wears green, a more material color in that it represents earth and financial gain. So while Mario is the driving force (the heart) behind most of the duo’s adventures, it is Luigi who is the capable, dependable character. The physical differences between the two is an image that has appeared many times in the past. Many comedians will speak about the humorous nature of a tall partner and a short partner and this combination has appeared in the form of Laurel and Hardy, Penn and Teller and Asterix and Obelix. Tattoos of Mario and Luigi together are a symbol of friendship, brotherhood and loyalty.
Yoshi is a dragon character who appears in Super Mario World, Super Mario Kart and Yoshi’s Island. The Yoshi are a species of dragon who carry Mario around on his adventures and act as companions to baby Mario. Tattoos of this duo are another symbol of friendship and loyalty. The original Yoshi is green, but the dragon character can appear in various colors. The colors of a dragon changes the symbolism of the dragon in tattoos, so do some research on the meanings of color before choosing a shade for a Yoshi tattoo. See more dragon tattoos in Dragon Tattoo Designs for Guys and Girls
Stars and mushrooms play a large role in Mario games. Stars are a symbol of success and luck. The seemingly sentient stars used in Mario games have eyes. In tattoo art, a star with eyes can be used as a symbol of protection, a sign that a deceased loved one or deity (both of whom are associated with heaven, the home of stars) are watching over the person. See more star tattoos in Star Tattoos Shine a Light on Body Art
The mushrooms in Mario games are a bit ironic. The design of the mushroom is based on Amanita Muscaria, also known as magic mushrooms. Magic mushrooms have been used for centuries to create hallucinations and psychedelic visualizations. This poisonous mushroom has been used in children’s animations and books because it is bright red with white spots and appears to be a cheerful little mushroom. Its hallucinogenic effects are actually caused by poisons within the mushroom that can make a person very ill. Tattoos of Mario’s mushrooms are a symbol worn by people who enjoy the effects of magic mushrooms or who simply like the cute design of the mushroom. See more mushroom tattoos in Trippy Tattoos of Magic Mushrooms.