“All Your Base Are Belong to Us” is a popular catchphrase that swept across the internet at the dawn of 21st century as early as in 1998. An awkward English translation of “all of your bases are under our control,” the quote originally appeared in the opening dialogue of Zero Wing, a nostalgic 16-bit shoot’em up game released in 1989. Marked by abundance of poor grammar, “All Your Base” phrase and the dialogue scene went viral on popular discussion forums in 2000, spawning thousands of image macros and flash animations featuring the slogan both on the web and in real life.
The phrase and game footage used in the meme come from the 1989 side-scrolling arcade shooter Zero Wing. The quote is from the introduction sequence of the game in which the player’s enemy, the leader of CATS, appears. The following conversation happens:
- Captain: What happen ?
- Mechanic: Somebody 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.
The poor grammar present is an example of Engrish; phrases originally written in an Asian language but translated poorly into its closest English approximation.
Its first appearance on the internet is hard to pinpoint due to sites closing down. It was popularized in 1998/1999 on the Rage Games forum, which has now become Classic Gaming powered by IGN. It also was popular on Zany Video Game Quotes, archived here with a Zero Wing image on their main page.
In June 2000, Overclock.org posted their Zero Wing Dub Project, featuring a dubbed version of the introduction with Wayne Newton’s voice. This was most likely the first instance of a response video.
On February 15th, 2001 (approx.), Bad_CRC of Tribal War released the famous music video, which was also uploaded to Newgrounds on February 16th, 2001.