When bad translation goes viral

December 17, 2014 6:36 pm

all_your_base_are_belong_to_us_by_kaushmar-d5td58aBack in 1989, Zero Wing, a nostalgic 16-bit Japanese side-scrolling arcade shooter, was released. The video game was introduced by a sequence in which the player’s enemy, the leader of CATS, appears and talks. And this is when it all went bad. The translation of this dialogue from Japanese to English – or Engrish – was nothing but hilarious. So much more than a bad translation that, in a few years, one of the sentences became the first meme in internet history. We are talking about “All your base are belong to us”, which was supposed to be “all of your bases are under our control”.

This bad translation went so viral that shortly it became a huge crossover phenomenon that took internet by storm and spread all over. Mainstream media began to notice the trend, and stories appeared in Time Magazine, USA Today, Fox News, The Los Angeles Times, Tech TV, Wired, and many others. Here is the opening scene we just mentioned. Enjoy!

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