All your base are belong to us
January 17 2003 by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor

All your base are belong to us | Friday, Jan. 17, 2003

Friday, Jan. 17, 2003

All your base are belong to us

By Tony W. Cartledge BR Editor

Yes, the title of this column is chockfull of incorrect grammar.

No, it's not a typographical error.

The phrase is drawn from an Internet phenomenon so widespread that even I finally became aware of it - about two years behind the curve for most netheads, and longer than that for true geeks and message board aficionados.

I'm aware that some of our readers spend even less than the half-hour or so a week that I spend online, so I'll translate.

"All your base are belong to us" derives from a poorly translated 1989 Japanese video game called "Zero Wing," where it is uttered by a conquering alien with a metallic voice. A frightened earthling replies, "Somebody set up us the bomb."

The game's graphics are crude and the text impossible, but there's nothing geekdom likes better than a kitschy inside joke, so online gamers started using the tagline on message boards, and soon hundreds of websites picked up the theme.

Enterprising graphic designers started posting images manipulated to include the phrase. Movie marquees, road signs, consumer products and comic strips were altered to sport the claim "All your base are belong to us." Popular advertising icons like the Chick-Fil-A cows and distinguished platforms like the speaker's podium at the United Nations were emblazoned with "All your base are belong to us."

In time, someone took digital samples of the voice-track, then combined music and a collage of the doctored images to produce a music video that became an overnight web-sation. Download demand quickly overwhelmed the website (it's now posted at

Time magazine took notice, as did USA Today and a variety of more trendy publications.

Detractors persist in saying the fad is past, but it stubbornly persists. Even old fogies like National Public Radio have featured the phenomenon.

So, if you see a person of many piercings come walking by with a T-shirt proclaiming, "All your base are belong to us," you won't be clueless.

Perhaps, in fact, the door might be open for a positive word of witness.

After all, followers of Christ know who all your base are really belong to.

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1/17/2003 12:00:00 AM by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor | with 0 comments
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