Video games have been around since the early 1970s, and when the industry has been around for so long, there’s bound to be a healthy proportion of inside jokes. At the dawn of games, such jokes were shared on the playground or read in various popular gaming magazines, and with the advent of the Internet, these jokes have become more common than ever, appearing on the first pages of forums. Nowadays, the Internet and social media have made information instantly available, which has led to the creation of memes, some of the most iconic of which come from the field of video games. With the latest additions to Nintendo Switch Online, players can now personally experience one of the most famous video game memes of all time.
Zero Wing is a side—scrolling arcade shooter created in 1989 by Toaplan. A few years later, in 1991, Zero Wing would be ported to the Sega Genesis with a new introductory video. This new introduction to Zero Wing will become one of the most cited video game episodes of all time and one of the most iconic video game memes of the past two decades.
The famous phrase Zero Wing “All your bases belong to us”
Zero Wing was first released in Japanese slot machines by Namco in 1989. At the time of its release, Zero Wing did not cause much talk. The game was a solid side-scrolling shooter and impressive considering Toaplan had never made games in this genre before. However, the 1991 European version of Zero Wing became infamous in the gaming industry, and all thanks to some unsuccessful translations.
According to the Zero Wing composers, the infamous translations of the game were handled by an employee of Toaplan, who was mainly engaged in foreign business and was mainly responsible for exporting the game. Apparently, this employee’s English was not the best, which led to the well-known funny translations of the Zero Wing, the most famous of which, of course, is the phrase “Your entire base belongs to us.”
More accurately translated as “With the help of the Federation government forces, CATS has captured all your bases”, “All your bases belong to us” — the most iconic in the long list of hilariously bad translations that are common in Namco- published “Zero Wing”. Several other examples include the lines “Someone planted a bomb for us”, “You have no chance of surviving, take your time” and “The main screen turns on”.
By the early 2000s, a GIF file depicting the segment “Your entire database belongs to us” appeared on the web, and it was quickly distributed on the forums of the site Something Awful, one of the first comedy blogs that really gained momentum on the Internet. The popularity of the meme only grew over the next two decades, with the advent of social media, which allowed even more people than ever to join the joke. Over the past 20 years, the phrase “Your entire base belongs to us” has appeared in various films, TV shows and other video games, and was also used by Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in 2019, who tweeted the infamous phrase in response to a poll on tax rates.
Nintendo Switch Online may not be an ideal service, and it may not justify its high price for everyone, but at least now players can see for themselves the meme “Your entire base belongs to us.” All they have to do is subscribe to the Nintendo Switch Online expansion pack service, go to the Sega Genesis section and download Zero Wing.