Gaming Console 101

18 Iconic Memes That Originated from Games

Throughout the history of video games, there have been numerous instances where specific moments or catchphrases transcended the confines of their virtual worlds and became ingrained in popular culture as internet memes.

These iconic moments have brought players together, sparked laughter, and created a shared language within the gaming community, often spilling over into everyday conversations.

In this article, we will embark on a journey through gaming culture by exploring some of the most memorable and influential video game moments that have been immortalized as memes.

From hilarious in-game dialogue to unexpected character actions, these instances have not only defined the games they originated from but have also left an indelible mark on the collective consciousness of gamers worldwide.

So grab your controllers, keyboards, and headsets, and prepare to dive into the fascinating world of iconic video game moments and memes.

1. All We Had to Do Was Follow the Damn Train, CJ! (GTA: San Andreas)

All we had to do was follow the damn train CJ
Source: YT @Tunes

“Wrong Side of the Tracks” was perhaps one of the most memorable missions in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas but not because of its gameplay, but because of how frustratingly difficult it was.

In this mission, CJ must pursue a train on a dirt bike while his friend from the hood, Big Smoke, attempts to eliminate the enemies on the train.

This mission’s notorious difficulty and Big Smoke’s iconic line, “All we had to do was follow the damn train, CJ!” has ever since become a catchphrase used to express frustration or mock someone’s inability to accomplish a seemingly simple task.

2. So You’re Finally Awake ( ESO: Skyrim)

so you are finally awake

The opening scene of the decade-defining game, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, features the player’s character regaining consciousness as a prisoner in a cart, with fellow captive Ralof uttering the now-famous phrase, “Hey, you. You’re finally awake.”

This iconic introduction to the game and as the game fades from darkness to you sitting on the cart has become a popular meme, often used to comment on situations where someone is out of touch or has been “asleep” or has fallen unconscious for a while only to wake up in the world of Skyrim with the iconic line.

Also Read: 20 Hilarious Gaming Moments and Mechanics That Made Us Laugh

3. Press F to Pay Respects (COD: Advanced Warfare)

Press F to pay respects

This meme originated from a funeral scene in the 2014 game Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. Players are prompted to “Press F to Pay Respects” in order to interact with the environment and express condolences.

The phrase quickly became a meme, used to convey sympathy or offer condolences in a humorous or tongue-in-cheek manner.

4. “Do a barrel roll” (Star Fox 64)

Do a Barrel Roll

Star Fox 64, released in 1997, features a memorable line from the character Peppy Hare, who instructs the player to perform a barrel roll (a defensive maneuver) by exclaiming, “Do a barrel roll!”

The meme has evolved into a sarcastic way of suggesting a solution to almost every problem.

This is perhaps one of the oldest and most popular gaming memes. So much so that when you type “do a barrel roll” in Google Search results, the entire screen rotates.

5. “Get Over Here!” (Mortal Kombat Series)

Get Over Here

The Mortal Kombat series, first introduced in 1992, features a memorable line from the character Scorpion, who uses a spear-like weapon to pull his opponents towards him while shouting, “Get over here!”

This iconic phrase has become a popular meme, often used in various contexts to demand someone’s attention or presence or to express determination and assertiveness.

6. “The Cake is a Lie” (Portal)

The Cake is a Lie

The 2007 game Portal introduced players to the deceptive AI antagonist, GLaDOS, who promises the player character a cake as a reward for completing the game’s challenges.

As the game progresses, it becomes apparent that the promised cake does not exist. Hence the phrase “The cake is a lie” was born. You see this phrase written on a wall indicating that the promise of cake has been used before.

This meme is now used to describe situations where a promised reward is unattainable or deceptive.

7. “He Niko, Its Roman! Let’s Go Bowling!” (GTA 4)

lets go bowling
Source: 9GAG

This meme comes from the 2008 game Grand Theft Auto IV, where the protagonist Niko Bellic’s cousin, Roman, frequently calls Niko to invite him to go bowling.

The invitations often come at the most inconvenient times.

The phrase has become a popular meme used to mock unwanted interruptions or invitations, capturing the annoyance many players felt at Roman’s persistent and untimely calls.

8. “Praise the Sun” (Dark Souls)

Praise the sun

The 2011 game Dark Souls features the character Solaire of Astora, who performs a specific gesture while expressing his admiration for the sun, saying, “Praise the Sun!”

This catchphrase holds almost the same meaning as Thank God but the meme is used as an overtop expression of gratitude for menial and often comically lackluster blessings and is also often used sarcastically.

9. Nuclear Gandhi (Civilization Series)

nuclear gandhi

This meme originates from the popular 4X strategy game series Civilization. In the game, you essentially take the role of a popular real-world ruler to build up your civilization over time. The gameplay often involves diplomacy and combat with opponents.

One such character you can play is none other than Gandhi (the peace-loving revolutionary leader of India)

However, due to a bug in the original game, Gandhi became one of the most violent characters to play with as oftentimes he threatens his opponents with nuclear weapons.

This, of course, was contrary to his real-life pacifist reputation.

The bug became a laughing stock and has since been labeled as a meme, “Nuclear Gandhi”.

The meme is now used to represent unexpected aggression or an ironic twist of character, highlighting the quirks and unexpected aspects of the situation.

10. “But Can It Run Crysis” (Crysis)

Can it run crysis 2

The 2007 game Crysis was so revolutionary for its impressive graphics and physics engine that it was impossible for the majority of the gaming PCs of the time to run it at high graphics while maintaining playable frame rates.

Hence, the absurd game requirements lead to the birth of the meme, “But can it run Crysis?”

It became a meme used to question the power of new hardware and gaming components.

11. “I used to be an adventurer like you, then I took an arrow in the knee” (ESO: Skyrim)

I used to be an adventurer like you

This iconic line comes from The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, where NPCs roaming around the world would frequently mention their tragic experience as you walk past them.

The phrase became a meme representing a sudden end to one’s aspirations or dreams due to an unexpected event.

12. “You must construct additional pylons” (StarCraft)

additional pylons

This line is from the 1998 game StarCraft, in which players are instructed to build more pylons to supply their base with power.

The phrase has become a meme used to suggest that more resources or effort are needed to accomplish a task, often in a lighthearted or tongue-in-cheek manner.

13. “Snake? Snake?! Snaaaake!” (MGS)

Snake Snake Snaaaake

This meme originates from the Metal Gear Solid series.

Snake? Snake?! Snaaaake! is an overly dramatic frantic yell that the Allies use as a futile attempt to talk to Solid Snake when he dies during gameplay.

The phrase has become a meme used to express disbelief or shock, often in response to an unexpected or surprising event.

Also Read: 10 Video Game Bosses That Were So Ridiculous, We Couldn’t Help But Love Them

14. “Sus” (Among Us)

Sus Among us

The term “sus” is an abbreviation of the word “suspicious”. It gained popularity through the online multiplayer game Among Us, released in 2018.

In the game, players work together to complete tasks on a spaceship however, there is an imposter whose sole objective is to wreak havoc. The rest of the players try to identify and vote the imposter out.

“Sus” became a popular slang term used by players to describe someone who is acting suspiciously or who they believe might be an impostor.

The term has since become a meme used in various contexts to imply that someone or something appears untrustworthy or dubious.

15. “You Died” (Dark Souls Series)

you died

This phrase is famously associated with the Dark Souls series.

The games from the series are known for their challenging difficulty particularly when dealing with stupendously powerful bosses.

Dying in the game is inevitable and when the player character dies, the words “You Died” appear prominently on the screen.

The phrase has become a meme symbolizing failure, defeat, or the need to try again.

16. “Wasted” (GTA Series)


Similar to “You Died”, “Wasted” is another meme used to comically describe failure and defeat.

“Wasted” is a screen prompt that appears when the player dies. As the player dies, the screen turns monochrome, and the word “Wasted” appears in bold letters.

17.”Leroy Jenkins” (World of Warcraft)

LEEroy jenkins

The “Leroy Jenkins” meme can be traced back to a 2005 viral video featuring a World of Warcraft player who, without any regard for strategy, recklessly charges into a difficult battle while yelling his character’s name.

The phrase “Leroy Jenkins” has since become synonymous with impulsive or foolhardy behavior and is often used in various contexts to describe such actions.

18. “Ah sh*t, here we go again” (GTA: San Andreas)

ah sht here we go again 2

This meme comes from the opening scene of the 2004 game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. The protagonist, Carl “CJ” Johnson, utters the phrase “Ah sh*t, here we go again” after being dropped off in his old neighborhood by corrupt police officers.

The phrase has become a popular meme used to express a sense of resignation or frustration when facing a recurring problem, challenge, or annoyance.

Atif Qazi

Atif Qazi is the founder of and a huge gaming nerd. Thanks to the vast gaming experience under his belt, you can often find him writing detailed pieces of content on gaming hardware and console. But in all honesty, nothing gives him more pleasure than 'one-shotting' everyone as a stealth archer in ESO: Skyrim.

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