Catch Phrase – United States of America

Catch phrase – United States of America

‘All your base are belong to us’

This is a phrase I hear numerous times while playing online games such as World of Warcraft. I often see it used when a team of players triumph over another, but I never knew where it originated from. Fung explained to me that the phrase originated from a series of dialogue in the intro to a video game called Zero Wing. It was originally a Japanese game that was poorly translated into English.

‘English translation of opening scene dialogue:

Narrator: In A.D. 2101, war was beginning.

Captain: What happen ?

Mechanic: Somebody set up us the bomb.

(spoken in the Flash animation as Someone set up us the bomb)

Operator: We get signal.

Captain: What !

Operator: Main screen turn on.

Captain: It’s you !!

CATS: How are you gentlemen !!

CATS: All your base are belong to us.

CATS: You are on the way to destruction.

Captain: What you say !!

CATS: You have no chance to survive make your time.

CATS: Ha Ha Ha Ha ….

(spoken in the Flash animation as Ha Ha Ha)

Operator: Captain!! *

Captain: Take off every ‘ZIG’ !!

Captain: You know what you doing.

Captain: Move ‘ZIG’.

Captain: For great justice. ‘

The above scene was accompanied by flash animation and was a huge internet phenomenon in 2001-2002. It was the subject of numerous Internet memes due to the humor many users found in its broken English. Fung feels that the phrase “All your base are belong to us” fits perfectly into the showboating mentality of some gamers, especially in team based games. Many in-game clans or guilds often use this term whenever they are victors in a battle or as a clan slogan.

It is very interesting to consider how such an unintentional erring in game production by the makers of Zero Wing has led to such an online phenomenon. As with most internet crazes this one revolves around humor. While professional reviewers would frown upon the broken English in the dialogue as a flaw in the game, the players hold it close to their heart, it would not be the same experience without it.

Moreover, I believe that gamers hold onto this phrase because it says a lot about game development. A video game doesn’t have to be graphically brilliant or revolutionary to be fun, it just needs that spark of originality, which is sometimes completely unintentional.

Like me, Fung first came across this catch phrase while playing online games. He feels that it has become a core part of game culture. Although, he does agree that some gamers overuse it which is generally annoying. While I don’t think that it’s a core part of game culture, I do think that catch phrases make game-play much more enjoyable.