Imagine waking up to a world where the rules of conventional language no longer make sense. A place where proper grammar is just a fading memory, and where subject-object agreement vanished faster than a buffet on the set of the Rosie O’Donnell Show. But this is not a place that only lives in your imagination- it is far too real and known as “All your base are belong to us”.
In 1989, a game called Zero Wing came out for the Sega Genesis by Toaplan. It was an unremarkable game; the only feature that distinguished it from any other side-scrolling shooter was the barbaric way that it treated the English language. Fast forward to the year 2000, after just over a decade in obscurity (living next door to the New Kids on the Block and that guy who starred in Herman’s Head) a parody by David Lloyd at Overclocked.org brought this game’s bad grammar back into the pop culture spotlight. Chat rooms and message boards blazed with phrases like “Somebody set up us the bomb”, and “You are on the way to destruction”. Suicides among English teachers and professors rose 358% over normal rates; the highest for English educators since the Valley Girl phrase “Gag me with a spoon” became popular.
Not too long after the game’s bad grammar resurfaced, the pictures started appearing- many from Tribalwar.com. Then the Laziest Men on Mars mixed the first song. This new craze culminated when Bad_CRC created the first “All your base” video. Shortly after the first “All your base” video hit the NG Portal, parodies started appearing such as Mr. T vs. Cats, Eskimo Bob and Final Fight: 2101. Portal veterans braced for the worst, still weary from the “Wazzup” deluge- but most fortunately, this trend wasn’t as pervasive.
But sometimes even the internet isn’t big enough to contain an internet-based inside joke. The “All your base” phenomena has been reported on in Salon.com, the San Francisco Chronicle, Fox News Network, USA Today, the Los Angeles Time, and in Time Magazine. Even The Onion wrote a news brief. When asked if the national media attention surprised him, Bad_CRC said: “Not at all, these things happen all the time.” He continued: “The video took a dying inside joke and packaged it so it was convenient to distribute everywhere very quickly, and that's exactly what happened.” He added, “I did get a kick out of seeing my AYB Time cover printed in Time magazine though... something both amusing and ironic about that. “
Even Zero Wing has been celebrated on its own, beyond the AYB phenomenon.
Nobody knows what the next big fad will be in Flash movies, but if poor translations continue unchecked; we may be faced with a horror beyond imagination- Flash movies based off of Ikea furniture assembly instructions.