This week the Electronic Entertainment Expo descends on Los Angeles. As one of the largest video game-related trade shows in the world, E3, as it's known, attracts a huge array of diehard game fans from all over the globe. These days, many enthusiasts opt to take their love of games to another level by expressing their appreciation for their favorite stories and characters on their bodies. Video game-themed tattoos are far from new, but they are increasing in popularity, and may lead to some interesting ramifications years from now.

Gaming and tattoos – a match made in heaven?
It's not all surprising that diehard video game fans make up a good portion of the population currently getting tattooed. According to a survey conducted by The Wall Street Journal, adults with tattoos are likely to also play video games. In recent years, the numbers of both are rising – data indicated that 42 percent of households reported a member with a tattoo, which is a jump of almost 100 percent since 1999.

Given the high degree of overlap between these two phenomena, it was only a matter of time before tattoos and games started to bleed together. Video games are home to an avid and fervent fanbase, and many young – and not-so-young – adults have begun inking images from their favorite games onto their bodies. Unreality Mag outlined a whole host of gamers of different ages, sexes and backgrounds and found that whether big or small, hidden or visible, video game tattoos are an increasingly popular way to show support for your hobby.

Game over?
As you might expect, going under the needle for a hobby carries with it a high risk of later-life tattoo regret, especially with a field as volatile as video gaming. Not only do personal tastes change, but so do those of the industry as a whole. Game studios rise and fall almost daily, and video games that were once beacons of pop culture coolness can fade into obscurity, shunned by bargain bins and technology obsolescence. 

More importantly, the gamer identity – such an integral part of that subset of pop culture – is a shaky and tentative thing. While you may be keen to show off your mad game skills when you're on the lower end of the 18-to-24 crowd, it's doubtful prospective employers will be thrilled to know your Mario score.

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