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All your base are belong to us
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All your base are belong to us

"All your base are belong to us" (sometimes abbreviated AYBABTU or simply AYB) is a phrase that sparked an Internet craze that occurred in 2001 and 2002. The phenonemon initally took the form of the sentence appearing on website message boards. Many images were digitally altered so that the phrase was added in, either obviously or discreetly. Eventually these were collected together onto one site and a Flash animation produced from them, which was widely downloaded.

The phrase arose from a poor translation used in the English version of the Japanese video game Zero Wing, originally produced by Toaplan in 1989. The infamous quotes were taken from the European localization of the Sega Megadrive port released in 1992. (The arcade version of Zero Wing does not include the quote, nor any other dialogue; the intro for the PC-Engine version has CD quality spoken dialogue, but has a completely different introduction. Zero Wing was never released in North America, and therefore never came to the Sega Genesis, the North American Megadrive.)

All Your Base was interesting in that it demonstrated the power of the Internet to quickly spread idiosyncratic messages that would never have been covered by the traditional mass media. Although the fad has since died down, the phrase continues to be one of the most commonly quoted examples of "Engrish".

Table of contents
1 Origins
2 Video games that have referenced AYBABTU
3 Original Japanese text
4 Alternative Translation
5 See also
6 External links

Origins

The phrase is a line from the game's introductory cut scene, which is subtitled and poorly translated. It made its first appearance on the Internet in 1998. During mid-to-late 2000, the phrase began appearing in the forums of Something Awful. In 2000, Canadian Gabber group The Laziest Men on Mars created the song "Invasion of the Gabber Robots" using samples from the game theme by Tatsuya Uemura (including a robotic voice synthesis rendition of the complete cut-scene dialogue, which by some accounts caused mp3.com to temporarily remove the track from their servers for perceived copyright violation).

By the second half of February 2001 a huge number of altered pictures, GIF animations, and Macromedia Flash animations swept over the Internet - fueled in part by an online music video by someone named "Bad_CRC" for "Invasion of the Gabber Robots" - and just as suddenly seemed to slow to a crawl. It has been used as a caption for almost any photograph since the heavily overloaded word "base" (along with homonyms such as bass and compounds like base pair) seemed to make the phrase mean almost anything. Numerous persons and groups also replaced the word "base" with other topics (e.g. "all your data are belong to us," "all your vote are belong to us"), generally suggesting someone's aggressive dominance in a particular field.

The cut scene transcript goes as follows:

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 ....
Operator: Captain '!!'*
Captain: Take off every 'Zig'!!
Captain: You know what you doing.
Captain: Move 'Zig'.
Captain: For great justice.

* This line is not in some animated GIF versions seen on the Internet.

The final phrase "for great justice" appears also to have been adopted by various groups as their slogan, and there is also some adoption of "move 'zig'" (which resembles that of "Let's Roll" - a universal command to action; the "Zig" was the name of the small fighter craft piloted by the player in Zero Wing) and "Somebody set up us the bomb" (basically "uh-oh!").

The AYBABTU phenomenon is continually declared dead, yet it is still seen on the Internet. Some people who play multiplayer games like Counter-Strike have been banned from servers for continually repeating this phrase.

On April 1, 2003, in Sturgis, Michigan, seven men 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 said they were playing an April Fools joke by mimicking the famous Flash animation which depicted the slogan ubiquitously. Not many people who saw the signs got the joke. 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." [1]

In 2002, AYBABTU was featured in an art exhibition called Trigger: Game Art which looked at the way computer games had influenced contemporary art. [1]

Video games that have referenced AYBABTU

Note that all of the following games were designed by Western studios. The phrase is little-known in Japan.

Original Japanese text

西暦2101年
戦いは始まった。

艦長:一体どうしたと言うんだ!
機関士:何者かによって、爆発物が仕掛けられたようです。
通信士:艦長!通信が入りました!
艦長:なにっ!
通信士:メインスクリーンにビジョンが来ます。
艦長:おっお前は!
CATS:おいそがしそうだね、諸君。
CATS:連邦政府軍のご協力により、君達の基地は、全てCATSがいただいた。
CATS:君達の艦も、そろそろ終わりだろう。
艦長:ばっばかなっ・・・!
CATS:君達のご協力には感謝する。
CATS:せいぜい残り少ない命を、大切にしたまえ・・・・。
CATS:ハッハッハッハッハッ・・・
通信士:艦長・・・。
艦長:ZIG全機に発進命令!!
艦長:もう彼らに託すしかない・・。
艦長:我々の未来に希望を・・・
艦長:たのむぞ。ZIG!!

Alternative Translation

The following is a "free text" translation of the original Japanese. It is not intended to translate the exact wording of the original, but rather to capture the spirit and tone which the author seems to have been intending.

A.D. 2101, the war has begun.

Captain: What was that?!
Chief Engineer: It appears someone has planted bombs.
Operator: Captain! We have an incoming transmission!
Captain: What? Who?
Operator: I'll put it on the main screen.
Captain: You! You're...
CATS: You seem very busy, gentlemen. Maybe having a little trouble?
CATS: With a little help from the United Forces, we have captured all of your bases.
CATS: It appears your ship is next in line.
Captain: Im... impossible!
CATS: Thanks for coming out this far. You have made it too easy.
CATS: Make the most of these last moments of your lives.
CATS: Ha ha ha ha ha...
Operator: Captain...
Captain: Operator, give a launch order to all ZIG fighters, now!
Captain: We have no time to lose. It's up to them.
Captain: All our hope for the future is in their hands.
Captain: Godspeed, ZIG fighters!

See also

External links