Long before Epic’s Cliff Bleszinski made a name for himself with Unreal and Gears of War, he already made a name for himself in the heart of at least one young(er) gamer with the PC’s answer to the platforming mascot character.
His name is Jazz Jackrabbit, and if you don’t know who he is then the latest splash of ink on my increasingly colourful arms is of no consequence to you. That’s fine; I didn’t do this for you. I did this for all of the teens and young adults that didn’t have a traditional game console back in 1994-1995. Instead we had shareware, freeware, demos… we pretty much had what console gamers are enjoying now, a chance to download and play games before laying out cash for them.
And where Nintendo fan had Mario and Sega fans had Sonic, we PC gamers had Jazz Jackrabbit, a green bunny from outer space on a mission to save Carrotus princess Eva Earlong from her turtle captors. It’s the classic Tortoise and the Hare fable, only this time around the turtles are jerks and the only thing that can win the race is the slow-and-steady application of massive amounts of firepower.
The inspiration for the Jazz tattoo came during my visit to Epic Games last month, where the old game boxes lining the walls coupled with the woefully tiny conference room named after the gun-toting rabbit made me realise that our furry green friend didn’t get the respect he so rightly deserves.
He still doesn’t, but now he’s on my arm.