- "Tattoos are popular with gang members who like showing that they can write on themselves. It is an important part of the initiation process, I've heard."
- ―GTA San Andreas Website.
In GTA San Andreas, much like the haircuts, tattoos increase player respect from fellow Grove Street Families members as well as sex appeal from girlfriends. There's a total of four tattoo parlors in the game.
In GTA Chinatown Wars, the player cannot receive tattoos, but instead he can work in the tattoo parlors, applying tattoos in his clients.
In GTA V, the player can receive tattoos again, but unlike GTA San Andreas, the tattoos only have a cosmetic effect, not affecting the gameplay in any way. There's a total of seven tatoos parlors in the game.
Tattoo Parlors in GTA San Andreas
Players can only apply tattoos to their player character's upper body, but have the option of picking any one of its multiple parts, including the upper and lower parts of their arms, the upper and lower parts of their backs, the left and right chest, and the stomach. Players can also remove existing tattoos at the tattoo parlors. Individually, a tattoo can only increase the player's respect or sex appeal by a maximum of 3%, thus requiring the player purchase multiple tattoos in order to witness any significant changes.
The range of available tattoos depends on the city the player in. The Idlewood and El Corona parlors offer the same selections of tattoos, while Hemlock Tattoo and the Redsands East parlor offer different sets of tattoos each. Prices for tattoos range from a low of $25 to a high of $720, while removal of each tattoo costs $400. Unusually, some of Redsands East parlor's tattoos are not priced at a figure that is divisible to 5, unlike the other three parlors, leading to the notion that the parlor is actually overpricing; comparisons at GTA-SanAndreas.com imply its pricing is 20% higher than in the rest of the state. As mentioned, the Hemlock Tattoo tattoos are unavailable in the PlayStation 2 version of GTA San Andreas.
Locations in GTA San Andreas
In the original PlayStation 2 version of GTA San Andreas, Hemlock Tattoo is inaccessible to the player, resulting in the player having no access to the parlor's unique selection of tattoos. This glitch was rectified in subsequent versions of the game.
Tattoo Parlors in GTA Chinatown Wars
In Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars, unlike in San Andreas, the player cannot personally receive tattoos. Instead, they work for the parlors, applying tattoos to others with the Nintendo DS/iOS/Android touchscreen. A rating is given after each tattoo, depending on how closely the player matches the given pattern. The player may continue to give tattoos until the allotted time has expired, or they perform too poorly on the tattoos. Depending of how many tattoos the player can complete before the time expires, a different medal will be awarded, bronze medal for 10 tattoos, silver medal for 15 tattoos and gold medal for 20 tattoos.
Tattoo Parlors in GTA V
Tattoos make a re-appearance in GTA V. They become available after the mission Mr. Philips. As with clothing and haircuts, each player character has their own specific set of tattoos to choose from. Tattoos are available for the characters' torso, head, both arms and both legs. Tattoos are also removable (at no cost) by clicking the tattoo the character already has in the menu. All the tattoo parlors in the game have the same tattoo options. Tattoos in GTA V are entirely cosmetic, with no effect on gameplay. Online players have a longer list of tattoo options available, with gender-specific sets introduced in the Beach Bum and The Business Update, whereas the additional tattoos introduced in the I'm Not a Hipster Update were the same for male and female protagonists.
Locations in GTA V
- The radio that plays inside the tattoo parlors in GTA V is Channel X.
- A large number of Michael's tattoo options are Irish-themed. It may imply Michael has Irish ancestry.
- One of the available tattoo options in GTA San Andreas is the phrase "Orange Grove Families". This was the original name for the Grove Street Families during the development stages of the game, and apparently this error was never noticed by game developers and it carried over into the final version of the game.
- Similarly, another available tattoo erroneously reads "San Fiero" instead of San Fierro. This was either the beta name for San Fierro, or simply a developer's misspelling.
- Tattoos Guide at GTA-SanAndreas.com, including images of tattoos.