How Hardcore are You?

Come one, come all; delve into the wonders of our latest picture blog!

 Pop culture merchandise is bigger than it ever has been. Twenty years ago, finding toys, clothes, trading cards, anything with comic book or video game tie-ins was a rare treat. Sure, you could find some movie related toys, like Star Wars, but if you wanted to find a Link with Sword Swingin’ Action!… good luck.

 For some reason, it took the pop culture markets a good fifteen years or so to realize what a cash crop was growing in gamer culture, but now that they’ve caught on, you can find everything from toys to t-shirts to statuettes. Gamers, collectors of all types for that matter, are constantly surfing through mounds and mounds of merchandise, trying to find that pefect combination of rarities from around the globe, creating a collection as unique as they are. Everything becomes customizable, as we seek to build our own little shrines to our pixel icons.

 But for some, owning a Gamecube launch day Mario Bobblehead, or 1:1 scale Master Chief statue  just isn’t enough. They have to create, or in some cases even become, tributes to their heroes. And that, my friends, if effin’ hardcore…

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We all have our own skills, tastes, and our own way of expressing love for our favorite passtime. No, wait, passtime is thelegomario.jpg wrong word. ‘Way of life’… that’s better.

For some, its as easy as using our recreational hobbies to express that love. You like to build stuff? How about a Mario made of Legos. Good at art? How about a really disturbing Mega Man painting. Yeah, that’s the way to go.
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For those  looking for a more unique way to show off, there are other mediums too, why in Break’s house right now you can find gaming related light up signs, plushies, and from the home-made side of things, a hand sewn Legend of Zelda cross-stitch. Why with Break (and the rest of us at BMX, for that matter) so immersed in gaming culture, I can only imagine what his kids’ nursery might look like, some day in the  future. Hmm…

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Still, beyond the realms of the normal game enthusiast, there is that rare breed that feels the need to transcend beyond the realms of traditional displayed fan appreciation, and become a part of the video game legacy. Just as the Incans and Aztecs bore tattoos of mighty gods and their triumphs over chaos; just as early tribes in South East Asia tatooed the chronicles of their forefathers upon their bodies; so is it that we map our legends, our video game triumphs upon our own bodies in modern day.

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Some, such as the picture here to the left, prefer to get something smaller, a little more tasteful. This image depicts the evolution of the game sprite, from the simple Pong, through Space Invaders, Galaga, Pac Man, Mario, Mega Man (really enjoy the inclusion of Special Item #2) to Zelda’s Tri-force. Beautiful work, and easily concealed for your 9 to 5 job.

On the other hand, you could go a little more extreme…

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… it’s a work in progress. There are tons…TONS of examples of video game ink work out there. Go explore. We’ve reached the point where games aren’t just a pass time for some, but a way of life. And while some may roll their eyes at that sentiment, I ask them to consider our history. We’ve always had need to for librarians and chroniclers to keep track of our methods of story telling. Libraries exist for music, newspapers, books, plays, movies and television shows. Video  games are just the new kid on the block as far as story mediums go, and are still being discovered as an art form. But its obvious from the level of dedication its fans show that they have a meaningful connection with us, as we share in the adventures of these characters, be it a fun escape with Mario, or a deep emotional journey through Final Fantasy. And so, since we’ve just reached the point where we can actually have ‘nostalgia’ and ‘retro-gaming’ and all of the other sentiments attached to Video Game history, why not have game libraries? Why not have chronicles of game history? Why not appreciate the art?

I encourage everyone to go out and find their own perferred method of expression. People are always afraid that Videogames are too passive an experience for gamers, an emotionless, mind numbing excursion into adolescent wastes. Prove ‘em wrong! Make a little art, show them that love of games is a community based, artistic experience, and get expressive. Of course, if you do get a tattoo, make sure its one you can be proud to show your grand kids one day…

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(I had to blur a bit out from between his cheeks. Please excuse the discoloration.)