All your base are belong to us
All your base are belong to us is a popular Internet meme based on a poorly translated phrase from the opening cutscene of the video game Zero Wing. The phrase itself first appeared on the European release of the 1991 Sega Mega Drive port of the 1989 Japanese arcade game.
By the early 2000s a GIF animation depicting the opening text was widespread on the Something Awful message forums, before reaching 4chan and other internet forums. The phrase found popular reference outside internet forums through the 2000s and 2010s, including use by Newgrounds in 2001.
Zero Wing transcript
Below are some further examples of text as it appeared in the poorly translated English release, alongside more accurate translation from the original Japanese.
The meme was addressed by Toaplan's Tatsuya Uemura (the game's programmer and composer) and Masahiro Yuge (composer) in interviews during the 2010s. They stated the poor English translation in the Mega Drive version was handled by a then-member of Toaplan in charge of export and overseas business, whose English was "really terrible".
Mentions in media
The phrase or some variation of lines from the game has appeared in numerous articles, books, comics, clothing, movies, radio shows, songs, television shows, video games, webcomics, and websites.
In November 2000, Kansas City computer programmer, Something Awful forum member, and part-time disc jockey Jeffrey Ray Roberts (1977–2011) of the Gabber band the Laziest Men on Mars, made a techno dance track, "Invasion of the Gabber Robots", which remixed some of the Zero Wing video game music by Tatsuya Uemura with a voice-over phrase "All your base are belong to us". Tribal War forums member Bad_CRC in February 2001 created a Flash animation combining Roberts' song and the various images created in a Something Awful AYB Photoshop thread, which proceeded to go viral.
On April 1, 2003, in Sturgis, Michigan, seven people 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 claimed to be playing an April Fool's joke, but most people who saw the signs were unfamiliar with the phrase. 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".
In February 2004, North Carolina State University students and members of TheWolfWeb in Raleigh, North Carolina exploited a web-based service used by local schools and businesses to report weather-related closures to display the phrase within a news ticker on a live news broadcast on News 14 Carolina.
On June 1, 2006, YouTube was taken down temporarily for maintenance. The phrase "ALL YOUR VIDEO ARE BELONG TO US" appeared below the YouTube logo as a placeholder while the site was down. Some users believed the site had been hacked, leading YouTube to add the message "No, we haven't be [sic] hacked. Get a sense of humor."
On January 19, 2019, American Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (Democrat from New York) tweeted "All your base (are) belong to us" in response to a poll by Hill–HarrisX indicating that even 45% of the Republicans who were polled approved of Ocasio-Cortez's suggested implementation of a 70% marginal tax rate for individuals making over $10 million per year.
- Original broken English translation as it appeared in the released video game.
- All your base are belong to us - Zero Wing Intro (1992) [Mega Drive]Oberon Gaming (video). Oberon Gaming, YouTube. Retrieved May 22, 2021.
- Stephen, Bijan (2021-02-17). "All Your Base Are Belong To Us has turned 20". The Verge. Archived from the original on 2021-04-10. Retrieved 2021-04-02.
- Dibbell, Julian (2008-01-18). "Mutilated Furries, Flying Phalluses: Put the Blame on Griefers, the Sociopaths of the Virtual World". Wired. Archived from the original on 2014-06-30. Retrieved 2014-06-30.
- "The 'All Your Base Are Belong To Us' Video Is Now 20 Years Old". Kotaku. Archived from the original on 2021-02-24. Retrieved 2021-02-25.
- Sandoval, Greg (2006-06-02). "YouTube: Our humor, not our hack". CNET News. Archived from the original on 2014-05-06.
- Cole, Brendan. "Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Tax Rate Plans Find Favor Among Republicans, She Responds with Retro Meme". Newsweek. Newsweek. Archived from the original on 21 January 2019. Retrieved 21 January 2019.
- Toaplan (1992). Zero Wing (Sega Mega Drive). Taito. Scene: Intro scene.
- Mandelin, Clyde (2014-01-13). "How Zero Wing's "All Your Base" Translation Compares with the Japanese Script". Legends of Localization. Archived from the original on 2020-09-22. Retrieved 2020-09-17.
- Toaplan (31 May 1991). Zero Wing (Sega Mega Drive) (in Japanese). Taito. Scene: Intro sequence.
- Kiyoshi, Tane; hally (VORC); Yūsaku, Yamamoto (3 February 2012). "東亜プラン特集 - 元・東亜プラン 開発者インタビュー: 弓削雅稔". Shooting Gameside (in Japanese). Vol. 4. Micro Magazine. pp. 41–48. ISBN 978-4896373844. (Translation by Shmuplations. Archived 2019-09-06 at the Wayback Machine).
- Brian Mosley; James Brunner (March 2017). "Out Zone with guest Tatsuya Uemura – PA76" (Podcast). Pixelated Audio. Archived from the original on 19 May 2020. Retrieved 23 October 2019.
- Taylor, Chris (2001-02-25). "All Your Base Are Belong To Us". Time. Archived from the original on 21 June 2007. Retrieved 2007-06-29.
- The Laziest Men on Mars, Bad_CRC (Feb 2001), All your base are belong to us, retrieved 2021-02-21
- Benner, Jeffrey (2001-02-23). "When Gamer Humor Attacks". Wired. Archived from the original on 2014-06-30. Retrieved 2014-06-30.
- Doyle, Holly (2003-04-04). "Men arrested for "All Your Base" prank". WWMT NEWSCHANNEL 3. Archived from the original on 29 August 2010. Retrieved 2009-07-10.
- Poulsen, Kevin (2004-03-05). "Wags hijack TV channel's on-screen ticker". The Register. Archived from the original on 25 May 2006. Retrieved 2006-05-15.