"All your base are belong to us". Why now?

I started seeing this a week ago. It’s all over the place now.

A description of the phenomenon is in http://www.salon.com/tech/inbox/index.html/index.html. After understanding the origins, I agree it’s quite funny. I don’t know exactly why, but it’s quite hilarious, more so than you expect out of bad-translation humor.

I’m not questioning where is comes from, it’s nicely explained in the salon.com piece.

What I want to know is, why now? It’s a game from the late 80’s. How come this joke has now exploded onto the internet? Can anyone explain this?

As far as I can tell, it’s been big in the gaming world for about a year. I’ll be back with a cite soon.

I think AET’s right. OverClocked has quite a few references to All Your Base that seem to cover a fair span of time. Same with the forums at Something Awful.

Hardly anything concrete, I know, but it’s a start.

Well, these are just WAG’s, but they’re possibilities. One is that the games emulation has become popular.
Game emulations are for playing console games on your PC (there may be more to it, but this is what I understand them to be). I know quite a few people who play a lot of emulations of old games. I’ve heard that this emulation imparticular is very popular. Maybe it was only emulated a couple of years ago, its popularity grew, and now it’s taken off.
Another possibility is that the joke has taken off because of the it’s considered a “classic of Engrish”:
Zero Wing
Engrish is the name on the internet (and possibly other places) for poorly translated Japanese into English that is used on various products. There’s quite a few collectors of this sort of thing, and quite a few sites on it:
Someone could have discovered the game on a site like this, and the popularity could have spread that way. Or it could be a combination of the two. Again, these are just guesses.

I knew it was only a matter of time before this showed up on the Straight Dope. Not being connected with the gamer culture, I only heard about it a week ago.

Why now? I wonder whether there’s a nostalgic resurgence of memories of the great video-game boom of the eighties among the generation who grew up in the eighties. Certaimly the reaction of my friends to the video-game-style video of that Brazilian band (I’ll try for a cite soon) leads me so to guess…

It’s everywhere. I don’t think it’s that funny, anyone who’s played Nintendo as a young’un in the late 80’s early 90’s remembers many bad translations (Metal Gear and Bionic Commando come to mind), some much funnier than “all your base”. For some reason this one got really hyped up. I think this may be one thing that The Straight Dope can’t answer, since there seems to be no logical explanation.

If you want more examples (and most likely the site that first started the interest), try heading over to:

Great site. It has the most comprehensive list of bad video game quotes ever.


Man, when I first heard this, my instinctive reaction was to say:

“Uh oh! The truck have started to move!”
I love this stuff… kills me everytime!

I had heard that someone had just released this particular game in a Flash version, which launched it back into the public eye. No cite, sorry. Just rumor mill.

My contribution to the whole mess.


Here is that animation:


my sig at another.com forums:


Yeah, I heard about it about a week ago too.


the settting is 2101AD

current year: 2001AD

make your time! :smiley:


Recently seen on a European highway.


To get back to the original post, I’d have to agree with silent_rob that emulation had something to do with it. More importantly, in my opinion, is the “camp” factor. Zero Wing released for the Genesis in 1989, a time when everyone I knew had a Nintendo and not a Sega. It was a poorly designed, poorly translated game with a small possible user base. It tanked. However, memories do not fade. The few people who recall this awful game with its memorable opening sequence mention it to their friends, who have to see something that bad. Thanks to emulation and the internet, thousands become aware of this phenomenon in a short time, like the Dancing Baby, Hampster Dance, Mahir, and Wassup phenomena before it.

I first remember reading about this in another site’s forum (arstechnica.com, I think) in late November 2000. Up until that time, it seemed like something of a running joke amongst a few hard-core gamers. What brought it to the forefront around that time, and into my perception, was an animated GIF that began floating around the internet, depicting the opening sequence of Zero Wing.

Yeah, that sounds reasonable, KeithT. It probably didn’t spread wildly until there was something to spread, probably the shockwave of the intro, or at least the screenshots of it.

Oh my god. I just had to say that that flash animation is the funniest thing I’ve seen in a loooooong time.

This seems to be the definitive All Your Base Are Belong To Us FAQ (link from today’s Register story).

This timeline should pretty much put this thread to rest in GQ.