The 5 Earliest and Geekiest Viral Videos
In those early days before launching websites devoted to aggregating viral content was a lucrative notion, keeping your friends in the funny video loop was achieved purely by email or (if you really want to get low tech) word of mouth. Dark times? Hardly. This unique sense of discovery is lost on the Internet youth of today, so that’s why we’re opening up a can of nostalgia with the five earliest and—in keeping with this site’s mandate—geekiest viral videos!
1) “All Your Base Are Belong to Us” (2001)
Let’s preface this entry with a history lesson: 1991 saw the European release of the previously Japan-exclusive video game, Zero Wing, for the Sega Mega Drive. For reasons unknown, the game was translated poorly into English, resulting in bizarrely hilarious syntax. Late ‘90s Internet culture saw its resurgence from obscurity, but in 2001 a user on the website Newgrounds—Bad-CRC—uploaded a Flash video that propelled Zero Wing and the phrase “All your base are belong to us” to even greater heights of immortal notoriety (granted, there have been various imitators over the years).
2) Fensler G.I. Joe (2003)
The G.I. Joe cartoon series of the ‘80s was most notable for—among other things—the hokey, forced PSAs concluding each episode. The messages were so overly earnest that they lent themselves to relentless parody. In 2003, American production company Fensler Films edited, dubbed, and uploaded a slew of nonsensical G.I. Joe PSAs that overtook the Internet faster than a Joe raid on Cobra Island! The Hasbro toy company did slap Fensler Films with a cease-and-desist order for copyright infringement, but, even today, the videos still float around.
3) Trogdor (2003)
Those who had the pleasure of attending middle or high school between the years of 2002 and 2006 doubtless have fond memories of forsaking homework for the Homestar Runner website. And one feature overshadowing all others was Strong Bad Email, featuring the titular character answering fan letters. Of these episodes, “dragon” introduced the masses to Trogdor: a one-armed dragon whose hair metal-inspired theme song went from an inside joke to a respectable geek culture meme in a short span of time. Without it, the term “burninate” would never have been added to our Internet vernacular.
4) “We Like the Moon” (2003)
What can be said about 2003’s “We Like the Moon?" Besides sounding like it’s being sung by an insane Adam Sandler with a throat disease, the video straddled that fine line between funny and mentally scarring. Created by Joel Veitch, the tone deaf Spongmonkeys, as they’re called, apparently had enough of a cultural presence to become Quiznos’ de facto mascots in a short-lived television ad. Some people just didn’t care to have deformed, shrieking tarsiers trumpet Quiznos’ unique approach to making sandwiches.
5) “They’re Taking the Hobbits to Isengard” (2005)
Nine years ago there was a man named Erwin Beekveld. Just like you, he enjoyed watching The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. He watched and watched and watched until, in a moment of inspiration, he thought, “If there’s anything that this movie’s lacking, it’s an upbeat techno remix.” It was this breakthrough that yielded Beekveld's magnum opus in video virality: “They’re Taking the Hobbits to Isengard.” Originally appearing on the site, Albino Blacksheep—prehistoric BuzzFeed, children—it’s upload to YouTube in 2006 has since led to over 12 million views and counting.
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