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This week's update By: doc     visit DWF
Last week's feature: AYBABTU
This week docweasel.com brings you everything you could ever possibly want to know about the AYBABTU phenomenon. If you think maybe this info is a bit dated for 2005, remember that here at docweasel.com we don't like to waste old material, even if we have to junk old sections and pages, we can always copy/paste the old info onto the new page formats and voila (literally; "fuck yeah"), its like doing new original work. Besides which this stuff needs to be saved for posterity and all that shit. So here's the AYBABTU FAQ (there used to be millions of these FAQs about every fucking fanboi type crap you can imagine, all put together by lame, pathetic fanboiz). Lots of these links are probably long-dead, but here we go, anyhow. A fantastic resourch for anyone dorky enough to want to research all this can be found at Planettribles

NOTE: When first posted a few years ago, this article was replete with links. Most of them have been removed due to the fact they are now defunct. The names of the links are still in the article for completeness, plus the fact that if we remove them all, there won't be much left to the article. Google and TheWayBackMachine might help reconstruct some of these sites. We don't have the time nor inclination to recreate the page, besides the fact that those links would probably end up dead within a year and its probably futile.

So, such as it is, here is the history AYBABTU:


Zero Wing Genesis FAQ 4.2
Game (c) 1989,1991 Toaplan
FAQ (c) 2001 Frank Provo
Author: Frank Provo
E-mail: mosaic@innocent.com

This Zero Wing FAQ is a silly endeavor, but original portions are still the intellectual property of its author. This Guide is copyrighted to Frank Provo ((c) 2001), but don't let that stop you from launching every 'ZIG'.

Table of Contents
A. What is Zero Wing? Toaplan?
B. The history of "All Your Base Are Belong To Us?"
C1. The Infamous Introduction in English
C2. The Introduction Translated from Japanese
C3. The Introduction's Bearing on the Game's Plot
D. How can I get Zero Wing?
E. How do I play Zero Wing?
F. Boss Guide
G. Endings (Genesis and Arcade)
H. More Information, Merchandise, Parodies, Etc.

A. What is Zero Wing?
Zero Wing is a side-scrolling shoot 'em up, in the same vein as R-Type, Gradius, or any other progenetor of the genre. It was developed by Toaplan in 1989 for the arcade (released by Taito) and later ported to the SEGA Megadrive (Genesis) and PC Engine (by Naxat) systems in 1991/2. A PC Engine CD version of the game also exists, which includes a CD audio soundtrack, a bonus extra level, and Japanese animation style cut scenes. Other popular Toaplan shooters are Truxton and Batsugun. However, none have achieved quite the same cult status as Zero Wing for the SEGA Megadrive (Genesis).

Why? Engrish. Toaplan couldn't find a US publisher for the game, but it sure looks like it came out in Europe. Sadly, they didn't exactly have the kind of deep pockets it took to localize AND publish a game in an English-speaking market, so their translation department was a bit minimal. In fact, by all indications, the person who localized Zero Wing was a lone Japanese guy who was taking English classes at night.

As a result, a rather decent, albeit knock-off shooter ended up with one of the most memorable videogame intros ever created. Only someone with a distinctly lacking knowledge of the English language could ever come up with something so nefariously humorous. (See next section) To whomever translated the game for Toaplan - THANK YOU! Sadly, Toaplan went bankrupt in 1995.

Amusingly, the arcade game had no poorly translated introducttion, but it did have a poorly translated ending. Together, the Genesis and arcade versions of the game would make quite a pair. *grin*

B. The History of "All your base are belong to us."
"All your base are belong to us" is the Zero Wing fad. It stems from The Laziest Men On Mars song, "The Invasion of the Gabber Robots" merged with a Flash animation that BAD_CRC did. Below is a chronology of events leading up to and beyond the phenomenon.

The Particulars
1989: Taito releases Toaplan's Zero Wing into arcades.

1991: The UK Megadrive gets the poorly translated "Engrish" version

1995: Toaplan goes bankrupt. Batsugun is their last game.

1998: The Zero Wing animated .GIF is posted on Rage Games web site. A few months later, another animated .gif is posted on Zany Video Game Quotes. It begins slowly circulating the internet.

March 2000: Toaplan.com - a well-done fan site opens its doors. The site is SO well made that people mistake it for the "official" Toaplan web site. (see 1995 above)

June 5, 2000: The Zero Wing Dub Project is posted at OverClocked. This consists of a parody comic that makes fun of the game's poor translation, as well as a Quicktime .mov file featuring badly impersonated voices.

Sept - Oct 2000: A gimmick poster, going by the name of Alf no less, posts a picture of Alf on the phone. User Starscream adds a speech bubble saying "All your base are belong to us." It's a hit, and gets posted a few more times. A few people link back to the Overclocked dub.

Nov. 28, 2000: Ars Technica (http://www.arstechnica.com, a well known "geek" news site posts election coverage and wrap ups. "All your votes are belong to us!!" is the tag line.

Dec. 16, 2000: Tribal War's thread begins.

Jan. 12, 2001: Part 4 of "A Winner Is You", Hubert's game quote based storyline is posted. It passes completely beneath the pop culture radar.

Jan. 14, 2001: www.Solidsharkey.com puts up a history. The Genesis version of Zero Wing was NOT a US release. In English, it was released only in the UK and South America for their Megadrive (Genesis) systems.

Feb. 11, 2001: Eskimo Bob, episode 12 - a precursor to the Flash Animation yet to come.

Feb. 13, 2001: memepool.com posts about AYBABTU. They link to the Tribal War thread. In the "in" circles, the fad takes off again.

Feb. 15, 2001: Tribal War releases the Flash music video. There are some copyright issues and a quickly updated version with credits is released. It spreads like wildfire and delivers Toaplan's Zero Wing unto the masses.

Feb. 16, 2001: The "phenomenon" begins. Message boards, call-in shows, and pop-culture cannot escape.

Feb. 19, 2001: Work on this FAQ begins. Zero Wing has a notable lackof coverage on GameFAQs.com and this document's author seeks to change that.

Feb 21-23, 2001: According to CNet/ZDNet GameSpot's "Instant Poll" from 2/21/2001 through 2/23/2001:

Question: How are you gentlemen !!

Responses: (3,895 votes - 101%?!)
All your base are belong to us. 1282 (33%)
For great justice. 187 (5%)
Main screen turn on. 127 (3%)
Take off every 'ZIG' !! 137 (4%)
What you say !! 821 (21%)
No opinion 929 (24%)
Somebody set up us the bomb !! 412 (11%)

Late Feb. 2001: The San Francisco Chronicle (both print & web versions) runs a story about AYBABTU. OverClocked prints another Zero Wing comic. Sluggy Freelance (2/26) runs a comic. Salon.com runs their own AYBABTU story. UK's The Register runs a story. NewsBytes runs a story. A caller into the syndicated radio show, "Loveline," mentions AYBABTU (2/22/2001). TechTV and Wired.com run stories. Even User Friendly gets into the act. Time Magazine (2/26) runs a story. GameSpot runs an AYBABTU poll on their videogames page. Somebody chalks "All Your Base Are Belong to Us" on the roof of Wean Hall at Carnegie Mellon University. The AYBABTU fad is getting way, way overdone.

Feb. 27, 2001: MP3.com pulls "Invasion of the Gabber Robots" from their site, citing copyright infringement. They quickly put it back up once they realize that Toaplan no longer exists.

Feb. 28, 2001: AYBABTU debuts at #46 on the Lycos 50 as a bonafide web fad. Toaplan, T.L.M.O.M, the flash animation, and this FAQ are all cited. Yet ANOTHER User Friendly strip. UK's "The Guardian" runs a story.

Feb/Mar 2001: A rash of AYBABTU taggings, defacements, and banner raisings occurs. The Georgia Tech, U. of Pennsylvania and Texas A&M campuses experience leaflet and poster campaigns. Someone hacks the Dutch Railways web site to say the phrase, "All your trains are belong to us." Similarly, the dutch postal code web site gets tagged with the phrase "All your postcode are belong to us!!" The folks from the Netherlands musn't have much to do, as the Dutch Euro site was tagged with "All your Euros are belong to us!!" In the meantime, freaks hang banners from bridges in Australia and California, USA. AYBABTU is painted on Coolidge Bridge in Northampton, Mass. A laserprinted banner even appears in the windows of the Angelfire home office. At one University of California campus, someone even found the time to pilfer rock from a rock garden to make a huge ground pattern of "All your base are belong to us" Etc. Etc., people are nuts.

March 1, 2001: The Detroit Free Press (print and net) ran a story and even quoted this FAQ! "Spawn Web craze, game does": There are inaccuracies, but nothing this history or the Retrogames history can't resolve. (03/01/2001 Tech section)

March 3, 2001: The Daily Mirror, one of England's most famous newspapers, runs a story. Oneof Hewlett Packard's web gurus starts sprinkling Zero Wing images across monitor advertisements. Also if you visit the home page for Doom 3, you'll see "All your base are belong to us!" if you highlight the entire page with your mouse or do a "View Source." - Amusing.

March 4, 2001: In the coolest AYBABTU tagging ever, five students at Bowling Green State University displayed the phrase against a dormitory using ~125mW lasers.

March 5, 2001: Rare's website is currently showing "All your squirrel are belong to Rare." if you highlight the Conker's Bad Fur Day images.

March 6-7, 2001: mp3.com includes The Laziest Men on Mars in their newsletter. TLMOM has made more than $5,000 in mp3.com earnings since their 'Invasion of the Gabber Robots' was paired with Bad_CRC's flash animation. Still, the fad is now #36 on the Lycos 50 - up 10 spots - with no sign of getting old. USA Today and usatoday.com have features AYBABTU. mpXreview has a great article surrounding the phenomenon. The Internet TOURBUS runs a story about the AYBABTU "conspiracy." Newgrounds now has an AYBABTU page

March 8, 2001: Jiminy Critic reviewed the flash animation. Acclaim Sports just posted 16 new shots of their upcoming All Star Baseball 2002. Among them, shot 13 features the AYBABTU catch phrase in a stadium advertisement.

Mar. 9-11, 2001: Fox News - www.foxnews.com - runs a story both online and on their Fox News TV network. Fox 4 News, the Fox affiliate for the Dallas / Fort Worth area, ran a story. They showed a few photoshopped images, including the fake billboard featuring George W. Bush. ESPN.com mentions the fad.

March 11, 2001: Dutch National Radio played "Invasion of the Gabber Robots" on their "Cyber Top 50." StarWars.com has AYBABTU as a mouseover highlight on some of their images now. Also, the WhenIGrowUp.net website posted a HILARIOUS AYBABTU Scooby-Doo! parody.

March 12, 2001: The nationally syndicated comic FoxTrot, by Bill Adams, includes a running "All your base are belong to us!!" joke. The phrase is mentioned six (6) times!

March 15, 2001: The LA Times ( & Print) has run a story. Someone from the Eijiro English-Japanese dictionary obtains screens of the US intro. It seems that not only was "All Your Base Are Belong to Us" included as a phrase, but an effort is being made to include the entire intro - in correct and "incorrect" versions.

March 23, 2001: "Invasion of the Gabber Robots" and The Laziest Men On Mars is in the mp3.com newsletter once again. They've made about $8500 to date thanks to the popularity of AYBABTU and their catchy tunes. AYBABTU has "fallen" to #38 in the Lycos 50.

March 28, 2001: J Allard gave props to Zero Wing in an interview he did with Planet X-Box.

April 01, 2001: In a fitting twist of fate, Zero Wing is #50 on the Lycos Top 50.

April 10, 2001: Zero Wing gone from the Lycos Top 50.

Ad Nauseum: You get the idea - there's just too much out there to track any further.

Historical documents:
(pics) PlanetStarSeige
(info) Engrish.com

C1. The Introduction
(original version)
C2. The Introduction
(revised translation)
In A.D. 2101
War was beginning
A.D. 2101
The battle began
Outside Ship - An explosion occurs. Outside Ship - An explosion occurs.
Ship's Bridge
Captain: "What happen ?"
Mechanic: "Somebody set up us the bomb."
Ship's Bridge
Captain: "What happened!?"
Mechanic: "Someone detonated bombs all around us!"
Close-Up of Excited Communications Officer
Operator: "We get signal."
Captain: "What !"
Close-Up of Excited Communications Officer
Operator: "Captain! Incoming transmission!"
Captain: "What!?"
Ship's Bridge
Operator: "Main screen turn on."
(CATS appears)
Captain: "It's you !!"
Ship's Bridge
Operator: "Image coming through on the main monitor."
(CATS appears)
Captain: "You... you are...!!"
Close up of CATS
CATS: "How are you gentlemen !!"
CATS: "All your base are belong to us."
CATS: "You are on the way to destruction."
Close up of CATS
CATS: "You appear to be preoccupied, gentlemen." (sarcasm)
CATS: "Thanks to the cooperation of the UN forces, all of your bases now belong to CATS."
CATS: "Your ship too, shall soon be destroyed."
Close up of captain & CATS
Captain: "What you say !!"
CATS: "You have no chance to survive make your time."
Close up of captain & CATS
Captain: "Im.. Impossible!" (or "F.. Foolishness!")
CATS: "We thank you for your cooperation." (more sarcasm)
CATS: "Enjoy the remaining moments of your lives...."
Ship's Bridge
CATS: "Ha ha ha ha ...."
Ship's Bridge
CATS: "Hahahahaha ...."
Close up of Forlorn Captain
Operator: "Captain !!"
Close up of Forlorn Captain
Operator: "Captain!?"
Ship's Bridge (ZIGs on monitors)
Captain: "Take off every 'ZIG'!!"
Ship's Bridge (ZIGs on monitors)
Captain: "Launch all ZIG fighters!"
Shows a ZIG pilot powering up
Captain: "You know what you doing."
Shows a ZIG pilot powering up
Captain: "All we can do is entrust it to them..."
Shows a ZIG moving into launch position
Captain: "Move 'ZIG'."
Shows a ZIG moving into launch position
Captain: "Give us hope for our future..."
ZIGs on monitors, Bridge Explodes
Captain: "For great justice."
ZIGs on monitors, Bridge Explodes
Captain: "We're counting on you, ZIG!!"
The ship explodes.
A lone ZIG zooms into view!
The ship explodes.
A lone ZIG zooms into view!

C3. The Plot as the Introduction Suggests

Taking into account the three organizations mentioned in the actual Japanese translation, we're to believe three major powers control the spaceways in the year 2101. They are the United Nations, CATS, and a third organization - the one the hapless souls aboard that red ship belong to. Japanese animation and manga have been full of condescending references to the west ever since the end of World War 2, which leads me to believe that the third, unnamed organization is Japan. (Don't hold me to that) So you've got the UN (the west), Japan/Asia, and CATS (an alien race).

So, in the year 2101 CATS teamed up with the UN and, in a surprise move, took over or destroyed ALL of Japan's planetary bases. For some wacky reason, the lone ship in the intro is the focus of the CATS leader's personal attention. A lone ZIG fighter (Code Name: ZIG-01) manages to launch before the ship explodes.

You are the pilot of this lone ZIG. It is up to you to wipe the menace of CATS from the galaxy, hopefully showing the UN the folly of their ways in the meantime.

Can a solitary ZIG defeat this alien menace and reunite east and west in peace? "Move 'ZIG'! For great justice!"

D. How can I get Zero Wing?

You want to actually play Zero Wing. It's not that great of a game, but alright.

If you want to purchase the game, go to your local used game store or visit eBay - you're hunting for "Zero Wing" for the SEGA Megadrive. It was never released in the US on the Genesis, only in Europe and South America. You may need a country adaptor to play it in a Genesis, although probably not.

If you want to emulate the game, the first thing you need is a Genesis emulator. A good site for this is VintageGaming.com.

Then you need to find the .rom image. Check out ClassicGaming.com.

E. How do I play Zero Wing?

Zero Wing is a standard side-scrolling shooter. The game's main selling point is its lavishly huge boss characters and the fact that it's not "b*tch hard" like most games in the genre.

Your ship flies from left to right. Enemy ships and weapon fire will come toward you - don't touch any of that stuff. Once in awhile, you'll destroy a fat lazy ship that will drop power ups - those, you can touch. You get 3 lives. When you die, you'll restart from a set point within the level.

D-Pad -> Steer your spacecraft
A button -> Fire weapon
B button -> Prisoner Beam

The tractor (or Prisoner beam as it's called in the arcade game) beam lets you grab small enemies and use them as a shield, much like the renowned Genesis shooter, Gaiares.

Power Ups: (names taken from arcade game)
Green - Homing Unit
Blue - Laser Unit
Red - Valcan Unit, becomes a spread shot
Blue Insignia - Speed Up Unit, increases speed AND earns extra lives
Bomb - looks like an option, release it or get shot and it explodes!

Collect 3 power ups to upgrade your weapon to maximum. The first RED power up collected will give you two "option" pods that will increase your firing range (automatic spread shot) AND act as a shield for shots above and below you. Once you've obtained the "option" pods with a RED item, you can safely collect other colored power ups to upgrade all three weapon streams.

e.g. Always grab Red, Green, Green, Green if you wanna kick butt.

If your weapon is at level 3 and you accidentally collect a different colored power up, you'll have that shot at level 3 instead of starting anew.

Each time you collect a fourth similar power up, you'll get 5000pts.
Sometimes, when you've collected enough insignias, you'll earn an extra life. RARELY, when you snag an insignia, you'll earn 10 lives!

If you're already carrying a bomb and detonate an object that would yield another bomb power up - you'll get a Purple Tank power up instead. It's the size of a small enemy. Snag it and you'll get an EXTRA LIFE plus, GET THIS, A FOURTH SHOT POWER LEVEL. That's right - the homing unit becomes "giant arrowhead of death," the Laser shot becomes the "tree-trunk laser beams," and the Valcan shot becomes an INSANE spread shot.

The game has 8 stages... but you'll need to play through it three times to see all the endings. (Bleah)

F. Boss Guide

Stage 1: - Location: Natols - Big Purple Alien
This alien looks like a giant mutated fetus. It'll launch blue plasma balls at you - avoid them. Try to shoot at its forehead or mouth. He'll stay on the right half of the screen and move up and down. Stick to the left and avoid his shots while shooting.

Stage 2 - Location: Legrous - Twin Ball Ships
This pair isn't the best boss in a shooter. Near the end of the level you will encounter a round ship with a few gun turrets mounted on it. It will fire blue lasers, a few bullets, and launch semi-homing missiles at you. Keep firing anywhere at him and move up and down to dodge his shots. You'll face a purple version of the same a few seconds later. Vanquish both to end the level.

Stage 3 - Location: Pleades - Blue Mech
And you thought that spaceship mini-boss was big. You'll face a blue metal robot at the end of this level. He'll shoot lasers from his upper and lower body, as well as homing bullets from his stomach. Watch out for the big fireballs coming from his whopping hand-cannon too. The homing bullets will prove your greatest worry, although he'll walk quite close to you from time to time.

Stage 4 - Location: Aquese - Floating Weapons Platform
Wow - this stage is short. After flying across a giant floating weapons platform, you'll come to the end of it. Shoot the big bundle of wires at the bottom with a homing shot to release it - if you want to. Either way it's going to break loose and go wild with purple spread shots and a few blue lasers, as well as plasma bubbles from time to time. This is a rather large boss, so you won't have as much room to move as you'd like. You'll need to destroy the front midsection and main body to beat it.

Stage5 - Location: Submarine Tunnel - Fusion Reactor
The mid-boss on this level is tough, so I thought I'd briefly mention something. Don't be lulled into flying into the center of its floating shield devices. Stay back and shoot it while dodging its purple spread shots. On HARD the shield orbs will fire straight blue lasers. As for the actual boss of this level, it's a giant reactor with five turbines - each of which fires out a volley of aimed purple shots. Destroying the two upper and lower engines is easy, but the one in back will take about 40 or 50 shots. Watch out for the worm creature that initially protects it, as it'll come out to harass you. On harder difficulty levels, that worm is insanely quick.

Stage 6 - Location: Barracade Zone - Armed Cubes
After fighting some armed cubes, you'll face three LARGE armed cubes. Their weapons are weak - only forward facing blue lasers. Their main attack though is their mass, they'll move forward and back and up and down in an effort to ram you. Stay to the upper left and you should do okay. On hard difficulty, you may want to watch out for the middle one moving forward and then up.

Stage 7 - Location: Bellon - Floating Heart
The boss at the end of this H.R. Giger reminiscent stage looks like an alien heart with a giant claw coming out of its behind. The heart has no attacks other than moving around. The claw will try and grab you though and has decent range.
Note: If you damage the claw too much, it will shatter into a number of hovering asteroid fragments, which will then just wobble around blocking your shots. Your option tanks can destroy them, but they'll respawn. You can tractor and launch them too - whee!

Stage8 - Location: Gerbarra - Alien Train Tank
The mid-boss of this stage is no fun either, but if you remember to swoop between its purple shots and under it during its missile volley, you should be fine. The main boss of this level is annoying and huge. It will fire two homing charges from it's lower turrets, usually in tandem with a straight blue laser shot from the upper turret. The ugly creature at the top will also fly toward you, AND home missiles will launch out of the green orb on the machine's back. There are two strategies for beating this. 1. Sit in the back/middle of the screen and swoop low to avoid oncoming attacks, while firing at the red case on the back. 2. Park yourself just in front of the train level with the glass-cased creature and dodge it plus the missiles while constantly shooting the red case on the back. Once the escape pod launches, you've beaten the game.

Guess what, each time you beat the game, you begin again on stage 1. Every time you beat all 8 stages, you get a newer and better ending. (Well, the first three times anyway.)

G. Endings

Don't have the stomach to beat the game once, let alone three times? I don't blame you - here's what you'd see in the Genesis version.

ROUND 1 ENDING "Congratulations!"
Watch 10 little purple "raisin" guys dance for you.

ROUND 2 ENDING "Congratulations!"
Art shot of the train in flames.
Credits rolling off to the side.
ZIG plane swoops into the frame and sits there.

"Congratulations!" Your battered ZIG putters through space
A giant red ship locks it in a tractor beam
A green planet. The giant red ship floats into view.
The giant red ship burns its engines and flies around the planet!
A big purple "raisin" guy winks at you.
(No credits this time?)

Once you've seen all that, all you can do is keep playing until you run out of lives. If you're that good to make it through three times without using cheats, codes, or saves, you are a shooter God.

Note: The raisin guys are a common appearance in Toaplan games. They've been in Donpachi, Dodonpachi, and Batsugun.

And here's what you'd see if you beat the arcade version:

You'll see a text obscured by a bunch of dancing "raisin" aliens:

H. More Info, Parodies, Etc.

If you want to find out more about Toaplan and their games, check out:
toaplan.com (link is now dead)

SHMUPS at ClassicGaming.Com has a review of Zero Wing:

Zero Wing Parody Stores on Cafe Press are popping up like flies!
You can buy T-Shirts, drink mugs, and even mouse pads:
(The stars are my subjective ratings of how the merchandise looks.
And um, CafePress shirts tend to fade when washed, Caveat Emptor)

If you want to support Dr. Eldarion, the FIRST Cafe Press Zero Wing Apparel guru:

If you want to support toaplan.com, the VERY professional Toaplan / Zero Wing fansite:

If you want to support TLMOM, creators of "The Invasion of the Gabber Robots" theme song from the WILDLY hilarious flash animation:

The rest:
dreld2 ****
2101ad **** (two stores)
movezig *** (multiple stores)
gotbase ***
arebelong2us ***
zebenet ***
xarphnet ***
allyour **
setupbomb ** (two stores)
hanksstore **

You can buy AYBABTU bumper stickers now!: makestickers.com

Want some MP3's? These links will take you to some AYBABTU & Zero Wing inspired tunes: The Laziest Men on Mars
ZW Karaoke

The Zero Wing / All Your Base FAD took #46 in the Lycos Top 50 for the week ending February 24, 2001 and #36 the week later. At week 4, it was at #38, and in week 5 it dropped to #50 and was gone.

THANKS go to Zany Video Game Quotes and Overclocked for starting this whole mess in the first place.

Remember: "All your base are belong to us."


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