FAIL is turn-of-the-century internet slang that came to popularity through image macros and short videos depicting situations with unfortunate outcomes. Traditionally, the verb “fail” has been a used to signify the opposite of “succeed,” to fall short of achieving a goal. Today, the word is also commonly used as an interjection to point out a person’s mistake or shortcoming, often regardless of its magnitude.
The earliest documented usage of the term “FAIL” can be traced to a Japanese 16-bit scrolling shooter game, Blazing Star (1998), often mocked for its grammatically incorrect “game over” message that reads:
- “YOU FAIL IT!
- YOUR SKILL IS NOT ENOUGH-
- SEE YOU NEXT TIME- BYE BYE.”
As seen with the All your base are belong to us meme, the combination of a retro video game narrative and Engrish translation proves itself to be a powerful source of lulz.