All your base are belong to us
"All your base are belong to us" is an Internet meme based on a badly translated phrase from the opening cutscene of the video game Zero Wing. The phrase first appeared on the European release of the 1991 Sega Mega Drive port of the 1989 Japanese arcade game.
By the early 2000s, a GIF animation depicting the opening text was widespread on the Something Awful message forums and other internet forums. The phrase found popular reference outside internet forums through the 2000s and 2010s, including use by Newgrounds in 2001.
Zero Wing transcript
Below are some other examples of text as it appeared in the poorly translated English release, alongside a more accurate translation from the original Japanese.
|English version of the game[a]||Basic translation from Japanese||Original script|
|Mechanic: Somebody set up us the bomb.||Engineer: It appears someone has planted explosives.||機関士：何者かによって、爆発物が仕掛けられたようです。|
|Operator: Main screen turn on.||Communications Operator: Incoming visual on the main screen.||通信士：メインスクリーンにビジョンが来ます。|
|CATS: All your base are belong to us.||CATS: With the help of Federation government forces, CATS has taken all of your bases.||CATS：連邦政府軍のご協力により、君達の基地は、全てCATSがいただいた。|
|CATS: You have no chance to survive make your time.||CATS: Treasure what little time you have left to live...||CATS：せいぜい残り少ない命を、大切にしたまえ・・・・。|
|Captain: Move 'ZIG'.||Captain: We’re counting on you, ZIG!!||艦長：たのむぞ。ZIG！！|
|Captain: For great justice.||Captain: May there be hope for our future…||艦長：我々の未来に希望を・・・|
The meme was addressed by Toaplan's Tatsuya Uemura (the game's programmer and composer) and Masahiro Yuge (composer) in interviews during the 2010s. They stated the poor English translation in the Mega Drive version was handled by a member of Toaplan in charge of export and overseas business, whose English was poor.
Mentions in media
The phrase or some variation of lines from the game has appeared in numerous articles, books, comics, clothing, movies, radio shows, songs, television shows, video games, webcomics, and websites.
In November 2000, Kansas City computer programmer, Something Awful forum member, and part-time disc jockey Jeffrey Ray Roberts (1977–2011) of the gabber band the Laziest Men on Mars, made a techno dance track, "Invasion of the Gabber Robots", which remixed some of the Zero Wing video game music by Tatsuya Uemura and Noriyuki Iwadare with a voice-over phrase "All your base are belong to us". Tribal War forums member Bad_CRC in February 2001 created a Flash animation combining Roberts' song and the various images created in a Something Awful AYB Photoshop thread, which proceeded to go viral.
On April 1, 2003, in Sturgis, Michigan, seven people placed signs through the town that read: "All your base are belong to us. You have no chance to survive make your time." They claimed to be playing an April Fool's joke, but most people who saw the signs were unfamiliar with the phrase. Many residents were upset that the signs appeared while the U.S. was at war with Iraq, and police chief Eugene Alli said the signs could be "a borderline terrorist threat, depending on what someone interprets it to mean".
In February 2004, North Carolina State University students and members of TheWolfWeb in Raleigh, North Carolina exploited a web-based service used by local schools and businesses to report weather-related closures to display the phrase within a news ticker on a live news broadcast on News 14 Carolina.
On June 1, 2006, YouTube was taken down for maintenance. The phrase "ALL YOUR VIDEO ARE BELONG TO US" appeared below the YouTube logo as a placeholder while the site was down. Some users believed the site had been hacked, leading YouTube to add the message "No, we haven't be [sic] hacked. Get a sense of humor."
On January 19, 2019, American Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (Democrat from New York) tweeted "All your base (are) belong to us" in response to a poll by Hill–Harris indicating that 45% of the Republicans who were polled approved of Ocasio-Cortez's suggested implementation of a 70% marginal tax rate for individuals making more than $10 million per year.
- Original broken English translation as it appeared in the released video game.
- All your base are belong to us - Zero Wing Intro (1991) [Mega Drive] Oberon Gaming (video). Oberon Gaming, YouTube. Retrieved 22 May 2021.
- Stephen, Bijan (17 February 2021). "All Your Base Are Belong To Us has turned 20". The Verge. Archived from the original on 10 April 2021. Retrieved 2 April 2021.
- Dibbell, Julian (18 January 2008). "Mutilated Furries, Flying Phalluses: Put the Blame on Griefers, the Sociopaths of the Virtual World". Wired. Archived from the original on 30 June 2014. Retrieved 30 June 2014.
- "The 'All Your Base Are Belong To Us' Video Is Now 20 Years Old". Kotaku. Archived from the original on 24 February 2021. Retrieved 25 February 2021.
- Sandoval, Greg (2 June 2006). "YouTube: Our humor, not our hack". CNET News. Archived from the original on 6 May 2014.
- Cole, Brendan (19 January 2019). "Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Tax Rate Plans Find Favor Among Republicans, She Responds with Retro Meme". Newsweek. Newsweek. Archived from the original on 21 January 2019. Retrieved 21 January 2019.
- Toaplan (1992). Zero Wing (Sega Mega Drive). Taito. Scene: Intro scene.
- Mandelin, Clyde (13 January 2014). "How Zero Wing's "All Your Base" Translation Compares with the Japanese Script". Legends of Localization. Archived from the original on 22 September 2020. Retrieved 17 September 2020.
- Toaplan (31 May 1991). Zero Wing (Sega Mega Drive) (in Japanese). Taito. Scene: Intro sequence.
- Kiyoshi, Tane; hally (VORC); Yūsaku, Yamamoto (3 February 2012). "東亜プラン特集 - 元・東亜プラン 開発者インタビュー: 弓削雅稔". Shooting Gameside (in Japanese). Vol. 4. Micro Magazine. pp. 41–48. ISBN 978-4896373844. (Translation by Shmuplations. Archived 2019-09-06 at the Wayback Machine).
- Brian Mosley; James Brunner (March 2017). "Out Zone with guest Tatsuya Uemura – PA76" (Podcast). Pixelated Audio. Archived from the original on 19 May 2020. Retrieved 23 October 2019.
- Taylor, Chris (25 February 2001). "All Your Base Are Belong To Us". Time. Archived from the original on 21 June 2007. Retrieved 29 June 2007.
- The Laziest Men on Mars, Bad_CRC (February 2001), All your base are belong to us, retrieved 21 February 2021
- Benner, Jeffrey (23 February 2001). "When Gamer Humor Attacks". Wired. Archived from the original on 30 June 2014. Retrieved 30 June 2014.
- Doyle, Holly (4 April 2003). "Men arrested for "All Your Base" prank". WWMT NEWSCHANNEL 3. Archived from the original on 29 August 2010. Retrieved 10 July 2009.
- Poulsen, Kevin (5 March 2004). "Wags hijack TV channel's on-screen ticker". The Register. Archived from the original on 25 May 2006. Retrieved 15 May 2006.