Tuesday, October 20, 2009

All Your Base are Belong to Us

"All your base are belong to us" is a broken English phrase that was central to an Internet phenomenon, or meme, in 2000-2002, with the spread of a Flash animation that depicted the slogan. The text is taken from the opening cut scene of the 1991 European Sega Mega Drive version of the Japanese video game Zero Wing,by Toaplan which was poorly translated by Sega of Europe.

On February 23, 2001, Wired provided an early report on the phenomenon, covering it from the Flash animation to its spread through e-mail and Internet forums to T-shirts bearing the phrase.

On April 1, 2003, in Sturgis, Michigan, seven people aged 17 to 20 placed signs all over town that read, "All your base are belong to us. You have no chance to survive make your time." They claimed to be playing an April Fool's joke, but most people who saw the signs were unfamiliar with the phrase. Many residents were upset that the signs appeared while the U.S. was at war with Iraq, and police chief Eugene Alli said the signs could be "a borderline terrorist threat depending on what someone interprets it to mean."

In February 2004, North Carolina State University students and members of The Wolf Web in Raleigh, North Carolina exploited a web-based service provided for local schools and businesses to report a weather-related closing to display the phrase within a news ticker on a live news broadcast on News 14 Carolina.

The phrase or some variation of lines from the game has appeared in numerous articles, books, comics, clothing, movies, radio shows, songs, television shows, video games, webcomics, and websites. Notable mentions include:

  • On June 1, 2006, the video hosting website YouTube was taken down temporarily for maintenance. The phrase "ALL YOUR VIDEO ARE BELONG TO US" appeared below the YouTube logo as a placeholder while the site was down. Some users believed the site had been hacked, leading the host to add the message "No, we haven't been hacked. Get a sense of humor."
  • On September 4, 2009, Google's main search page image was changed to that of a UFO beaming up the second 'o' in 'Google'. On the same day, Google's twitter page posted the message, "1.12.12 15 1.18.5 20.15 21.19." ("ALL YOUR O ARE BELONG TO US."). Despite much speculation about alien conspiracies, Google turned out to be simply honoring Zero Wing's 20th anniversary

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