The Legend of Zelda series is one near and dear to my heart. In fact, for the past three weeks or so, I’ve been watching Randomized Races of a Link to the Past. It’s fascinating how different your experience can be when you receive items in a slightly different order. The series in general has an excellent sense of pacing as it pulls you through the land of Hyrule. The goal is always the same—to rescue Hyrule—but the journey there is different each time. Just like the Legend of Zelda games, Zelda tattoo designs have their own journeys behind them.
A game is about more than what shows up on the screen. It’s about your experience. It’s about who you play with, when you play the game, how old you were, and so long. Whether you liked a game or not, the time you put into it brings up memories—good and bad—of when you played. When those memories are good and nostalgic, then a Zelda tattoo could be the right thing for you. While I already talked about video game tattoos on this page, I want to go into much more depth about Zelda for a bit. After all, Majora’s Mask and Breath of the Wild are tied for my favorite video games! There’s no way I could skip this cool set of games as I make my 99 Tattoo Design series! Let’s get right into it. Check out these amazing designs.
Zelda Video Game Tattoos
Zelda is a series that has withstood the test of time. Despite being over twenty years old, the game remains one of Nintendo’s top selling series. It’s part of the big three console sellers, with the other two being Mario and Pokemon. What this all boils down to is that your Zelda tattoo is more than a fad. When people see it twenty years from now, they’ll know exactly what it is. Even if you get a pixelated sprite or a minor character tattooed, there are bound to be fans that will spot your reference. There’s never a bad time to meet another nerd, especially when they’re nerdy about Zelda! In fact, I highly recommend Zelda tattoos for couples or groups of friends, so long as you’re all interested in the series.
Part of the reason for recommending this is that Legend of Zelda tattoo designs come in all sorts of varieties. The game style evolved over time, eventually arriving at a highly stylized and colorful world to explore. On the way, it forged its path through the era of pixel sprites, became one of the first 3D action games with a functioning camera, went from a gritty and dark series to a cartoonishly zany one, flew back into an edgy style…you get the picture. No matter what sort of art style you love, the series is sure to have something that appeals to you.
Triforce Tattoo Meaning
Perhaps the best part of Zelda tattoos is how many iconic designs you can pick from. Simple designs are all about recognition, which I talk about on this post. Even a bottle filled with blue potion is recognizable to the average nerd. Triforce back tattoos are easily recognized by even non-gamers—and those that don’t recognize it will still think you’re sporting a very neat geometric tattoo.
Since the Triforce is particularly popular, I want to go over its simple meaning. Each triangle piece represents a virtue important to the world of Hyrule. One is power (usually held by the antagonist), another means wisdom (held by the titular Zelda), and the last is courage (held by the player—Link). When all three are brought together, the Triforce is able to grant a wish, amazing power, prosperity, and all sorts of good stuff. Everyone in the world wants it. Some games have you collect it, some games have you protect it, and others barely mention it at all. Even so, it remains an integral part of the series and is hands-down the most iconic symbol that you could ever get as a Zelda tattoo.
Wind Waker Tattoos
On the topic of iconic symbols, sometimes it’s not about symbols. It’s about style. Wind Waker was a dare that Nintendo took. It has a completely different style—both in tone and appearance—than games that came before it. It’s so toony that it turned off many gamers from the series. They wanted a real game, not a kids’ game. I’m sorry to admit that I was one of those people. I was young at the time, I just didn’t know. When I watched it and later played it, I realized my mistake. It was childish, sure, but it was cozy, and it had the same spirit as all the Zelda games that came before it.
The toony art direction translates amazingly well into the Neo Traditional style of tattoos (read more about that here). The bright, vivid colors and bold lines are all hallmarks of the movement. Plus, they look great. Even inexperienced artists can deliver these designs with ease. Thanks to the thick lines, these tattoos also age well. The Wind Waker style carried over into other Zelda games, but the game we recognize it from certainly captured the hearts of many. Myself included!
Matching Zelda Tattoos
Another neat aspect of Zelda tattoos is the presence of a famous duo. Link and Zelda are widely known as a couple, even to people who don’t play the game. Couples in general reoccur throughout the series. In Majora’s Mask, you have the sibling duo Tatl and Tael. You also have Kafei and Anju. This makes the whole series an excellent inspiration for matching tattoos.
Even for non-couples, there are lots of matching options. The goddesses Nayru, Farore, and Din come to mind. The three pieces of the Triforce, each with their own meaning, also make for good designs. Even 1:1 design matches are fun to have with friends. Not only do they have shared meaning between all of you, but they also have the special significance that only a nostalgic game could have.
Breath of the Wild Tattoos
Breath of the Wild is an amazing entry in the series. It’s even more open world than prior games. You have all the tools you need to succeed from the very beginning. You can even waltz right up to Ganon, if you wanted to. All of this boils down to an immensely satisfied fan base eager to immortalize their experiences. I don’t blame them one bit. Breath of the Wild is one of those games that I wish I could forget playing—just so I could experience it again.
The best and most iconic design that came out of this game was the Sheikah Slate symbol. Although the Sheikah eye with its tear has been present in a huge number of games prior to this, the role of the Sheikah was brought to the forefront and thus caught the attention of many. Some other icons that I expect to gain popularity over time are the Divine Beast/Champion ability symbols and the spirit orb icon. Just like the stones or seals of Ocarina, these will be instantly recognizable by fans of the series, even if they’re not as obvious as the Sheikah slate.
Lastly, the game characters themselves are illustrated in a beautiful, colorful style. This translates to sleeves quite well! The scenes are iconic and harken to Zelda games from ages past. From Eventide Isle to Mt. Doom, and even to Zora’s domain, the changes are easy to spot…but keep the spirit of the original areas. Oh, and let’s not forget those little Koroks. Maybe you can even throw a ‘Ya ha ha!’ into that tattoo!
Picking Between 99 Zelda Tattoos
Yes, I realize I’m a huge Zelda nerd. This article became way longer than I thought it would. Nonetheless, even without this nostalgia tinting my vision, I can tell that the series is iconic to gamers everywhere. The designs are recognizable and beautiful. Even people who don’t play will be able to recognize the Triforce. In the event someone doesn’t recognize it, they’ll be able to appreciate the art of the tattoo itself. From the geometric designs of the Triforce to the Tribal look of the Sheikah to the simple look of the icons, the series is rife with amazing designs that stand up to scrutiny all on their own.
This series has so many tattoo ideas, it may even be hard to choose! With 99 images to inspire you, narrowing it down is going to be really difficult. This matches the wide open routes that the games themselves give you! Well…other than Skyward Sword. But hey, at least the story and art were pretty in that. Point is, Zelda tattoos are the perfect way to memorialize a series that is important to you. Games are more than just entertainment—they mold your world views, pick you up when you’re feeling down, and help you bond with others. No matter how much time passes, your Zelda tattoo will be just as valuable and amazing as the day you got it inked. If that’s not ink done right, I don’t know what is!