All Your Base Are Belong To Us

Ken Miller bookrat at BOOKRAT.COM
Sat Mar 3 08:18:40 UTC 2001

At 6:00 PM -0800 3/2/01, Tony Glaser wrote:
>Is anyone familiar with the "All Your Base Are Belong To Us"
>phenomenon? Is this the first time that a mistranslated Japanese
>phrase has entered the English language world in such a big way? I've
>seen various items of Japanese English pseudo-nonsense, mainly
>written on cheap backpacks, carrier bags, or sneakers, but I haven't
>seen any which have been promulgated by native English speakers as a
>result. It seems it's really becoming a catch-phrase.

This entered my life on Feb. 20, 2001, in the form of a column by the San
Francisco Chronicle's Jon Carroll:

Since then, I haven't been able to escape it.  "Brad the Cad" was somewhat
bigger, but for a much shorter time.  (I am speaking of online life.  I for
one still haven't encountered the "All Your Base" meme offline.)

It's from a home version of an arcade game named "Zero Wing".  Almost every
single sentence of the dialog is entertaining in the same way that dada is
entertaining.  "Take off every 'zig'!!"  Tristan Tzara couldn't have put it
any better.

"Viral" seems to be a perfect description for this meme.  After a long
period of incubation, it has burst on the communal consciousness like the
Great Influenza Epidemic.  All your base, indeed.

Ken "For great justice" Miller
Department of Soluble Fish

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