Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Graduated Gamer's Top 5 Video Game Memes

5) The Cake Is a Lie
For anyone that’s been around gaming for the last 5 years, this meme should be pretty familiar to you. The now infamous line “the cake is a lie” had its humble origins in Portal. Throughout the game you’re promised that, should you finish a bunch of tasks set forth by the GlaDOS computer system, you will get cake. However, as you progress through the game you find ominous messages on the walls claiming that the cake you were promised is in fact a lie.

Soon after this phrase caught on in the Portal community, it soon spread to various areas as a way to convey to someone that what they were after or wished to obtain was in fact unattainable. “The cake is a lie” hit even loftier heights when it was used as an achievement in games World of Warcraft (“The Cake Is Not A Lie”) and Minecraft (“The Lie”).

4) It’s Dangerous To Go Alone! Take This.

Number four on the list is a true classic, spawned from the 1986 hit The Legend of Zelda for the NES when Link is offered a sword by the old man for his quest. However, as with most things on the internet, this quickly formed into a meme where the phrase would be caption to a picture of someone offering an object in hand. Also, because the internet is about 75% lolcats, that “object in hand” was usually an adorable kitten, thus spawning a meme within a meme, “Dangerous Kitten”. To this day, deep in forums and blogs everywhere, someone this very day, maybe this very second, is talking about going on a blind date, and someone is cleverly posting a picture of a condom with the phrase “It’s Dangerous To Go Alone! Take This.”

3) Do A Barrel Roll!
I apologize to everyone reading this because if you’ve heard this once, you’ve heard it a million times. This is one of those memes that, depending on the day and my mood, I can either laugh hysterically about, or want to destroy with every ounce of my being. Being a huge fan of Starfox 64 and playing countless hours to get perfect runs as a kid, I was all too familiar with this simple yet versatile phrase. Like Admiral Ackbar before him, Peppy Hare would forever be associated with a seemingly innocent one liner.

“Do a barrel roll” has since been used for everything from gifs to fails to ringtones to its very own Google Easter Egg! I have a feeling that an entire generation of people is going to completely forget about how barrel rolls were actually used by fighter pilots beginning in WWI, and will only associate this with Fox McCloud and his Arwing. With that sort of ability to revise history in the public mind, it’s no wonder “Do a barrel roll!” is the third best gaming meme on the list.

With the size of the game and community at large, I’m surprised there aren’t more ridiculous memes to come from World of Warcraft. However, WoW did give us one of the most memorable videos and catchphrases in gaming history. Who cares if it was staged and whether or not the actual event happened the way to video portrays – this meme is funny as hell.
But what made this meme spread like wildfire? Maybe it was the mystery behind exactly who Leeroy Jenkins was, and what he was thinking. Perhaps it was the clever anticipation and build up in the video to the climactic idiocy of said Leeroy Jenkins that made this such a hit. Or could it be because if you’ve ever gamed online you’ve run into people just like this and you can relate. Whatever the reason, the impact this simple battle cry had on out forums and gaming lives has been large and it’s persisted. With pop culture references abound from The Daily Show to Jeopardy, and one of the true YouTube classics, we tip our hat to Leeroy for being AFK and charging head first at complete doom like a complete dumbass.

 1) All Your Base Are Belong To Us!
You may have seen this coming a mile away, and if you did then I’m sure you don’t mind reliving what is quite possibly the very first video game meme. Now, I’m not actually claiming it is, and I don’t think there’s any way to prove this, but this major translation FUBAR from the arcade game “Zero Wing” became a popular phrase with gamers before the Al Gore invented the internet for lolcats and porn.

Back in 1989, Japanese-to-English translation in games was…sub-par at best, and many games at that time had little bits of confusing text. However, “Zero Wing” caused raised eyebrows and chuckles in arcades across the US with an entire intro of, well, just watch:

To this day, I still bust out this gem for no reason but to remember a truly great meme and a time when arcades were king. When a meme spawns an entire internet subculture of people looking for mistranslations in games and still using this simple phrase to create genius works of comedy, then it certainly deserves the #1 spot on the list of greatest video game memes. 

With so many memes out there, it’s difficult to pick just five greats to create a top 5 list, but we at Graduated Gamer do the dirty work so you don’t have to. See a meme that you don’t agree with? Think we left something off? Let us know in the comments, on Twitter, or on our Facebook page.

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