All your base are belong to us.


Having my email address hung out to dry on the Internet guarantees I will get bunches of odd stuff. This, for example:

Mail Service

Today at 3:44 AM


The “Hi User” should have tipped me off. What warm-blooded organism starts an email with “Hi User?” The clincher was:

Please your are required to help us protect your account due to recent cyber crime.

Somebody is obviously having trouble with the English language. Any language, for that matter. This is from Yahoo!? Call me chauvinistic, but I tend to think that people playing critical roles at high-profile, high-tech companies are assiduously correct in what they put out over the company name.

A quick check (mouse-over) of the sender’s address reveals “” That’s in Chile. So what does this remind me of. Why “All your base are belong to us,” of course:

All your base are belong to us” is a broken English phrase found in the opening cutscene of the 1991 video game Zero Wing which became a popular Internet meme. The quote is included in the European version of the game, which features poorly translated English from the original Japanese version.

The meme developed from this as the result of a GIF animation depicting the opening text which was initially popularized on the Something Awful message forums.

And some additional explanation:

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 late 2000, Kansas City computer programmer and part-time DJ Jeffrey Ray Roberts 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 with a voice-over phrase “All your base are belong to us.”

On February 23, 2001, Wired provided an early report on the phenomenon, covering it from the Flash animation to its spread through e-mail and Internet forums to T-shirts bearing the phrase.

This is not to stigmatize people who have difficulty with language… Actually, it is to stigmatize people who will not take the time to study at least one of the world’s languages and get it right. Maybe “right” should have been capitalized.

When I receive a message from a supposedly solid citizen and encounter careless language, my first thought is their grade-schooler has gotten hold of their email account and is having some fun. My second thought is usually the correct one—that somebody on the other end has no other ability to earn a living beyond struggling at the keyboard. My interest in what I’m reading drops from that point forward.

Keep reading.

One thought on “All your base are belong to us.

  1. Since I changed my email address a few years ago, I get very little spam. Mainly I get messages like “See the attached document for how much you owe us.” Of course the attached document is a zipped executable virus.

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