Life has classics of many kinds. There’s classic literature, there’s classical music, and older films are considered classics. But the meme-riddled internet moves pretty quickly. If you don’t stop and look around every once in a while, you might miss it. Many of the internet’s original viral sensations have sunk into near obscurity, and much of the nascent interweb’s original hilarity is entirely unknown to a younger generation. It’s not all Star Wars kid and JibJab, but today, All Your Base Are Belong to Us. Welcome to my segment, Internet Classics.
Probably sometime around 1999, in the internet’s Mesozoic period, when marquee text and websites in frames roamed the wild web, I recall first seeing someone on the Yehoodi.com discussion board say, “All your swingouts are belong to us.” This snowclone was new to me, for I had never seen Zero Wing.
All Your Base Are Belong to Us is one of the Internet’s earliest memes. The astoundingly poor Chinese to English translation of Zero Wing has been a comedy gift to all English speakers. In addition to “ALL YOUR BASE ARE BELONG TO US,” it’s given us such gems as “YOU HAVE NO CHANCE TO SURVIVE MAKE YOUR TIME,” “SOMEBODY SET UP US THE BOMB,” and “FOR GREAT JUSTICE.”