More than a decade after its initial release, Mario Party on the Nintendo DS is inspiring memes.
That’s longevity for you. The charming little game hasn’t made news in years, despite enduring popularity among DS owners, but a recent YouTube video is changing that. The silly 40-second clip is rekindling interest in the game, inspiring a new meme trend, and reminding everyone of what made this 2007 title so great in the first place.
It all started with YouTuber Joey Perleoni, who uploaded a clip supposedly displaying the game’s anti-piracy screen, according to Know Your Meme. The short video shows as the very beginning of a game is interrupted by an error message. “Software piracy detected,” the message reads. “You are in possession of an illicit copy of this title. Please turn off the power immediately.”
After a moment, the screen blacks out, followed by an image of several Mario Party favorites—including the plumber in red himself, Peach, and Wario—behind bars. An amusing warning points transgressors to the Nintendo website, all while noting that “Piracy is no party!”
“It is a serious crime to pirate video games,” the text above the image reads. “Please power off the system and report this stolen software immediately.”
In just over two months, the brief video has garnered more than 980,000 views and 42,000 upvotes. Commenters couldn’t get over the eerie music and harsh imagery, which many believe would have terrified them as kids. And considering Nintendo’s typical video game fare, the message is almost certainly aimed at children.
Except, the video doesn’t appear to be real. Soon after it was uploaded, YouTubers began examining the clip and comparing it to their own experiences in pirating Mario Party DS. A video from user Smurgen, uploaded just over a month following Perleoni’s video, shows the entire process behind using a pirated version of the game. When it comes time for the anti-piracy warning to crop up, it is indeed quite different from what Perleoni’s video shows.
The slightly blurry video shows as—long before a game has actually begun—the screen blacks out and offers up a message. “An error has occurred,” Smurgen reads from the screen. “Press and hold the power button to turn the system off. Please see the Nintendo DSI Operations Manual for help troubleshooting.”
Smurgen’s debunking of the original video created a trend online. Soon, dozens of YouTubers were uploading their own videos examining—and discrediting—the original video. While most people agree that the video is fake, they also agree that it was quite well done.
As these kinds of trends are want to do, the conversation online soon yielded memes. People began creating their own versions of an anti-piracy warning, utilizing similarly creepy music and daunting imagery.
Soon, the meme had transcended into something entirely new. Here are some of the best uploads in the pirated Mario Party DS meme trend.
The best Mario Party DS anti-piracy screen memes
Many of these memes come in video form, mimicking the style of the original. The eerie music is a common thread between many of the videos, but that is often where the similarities end.
Take YouTuber skepbeans, who paired the anti-piracy screen with a video of Romeo Cannady dancing for a flawless crossover.
Or this one, that removes the option for players to fight back because “this is your last party, criminal.”
Perleoni even uploaded several videos showing as piracy warnings upended several different points in gameplay. In one, all other characters are removed from the game because “no one wants to party with a criminal.”
Or this one that shows Bowser himself deriding “criminal chumps” for playing a pirated game.
Fake anti-piracy screen memes for other games
It wasn’t long before the Mario Party DS trend incorporated other games. Soon, people were uploading their own versions of the anti-piracy screen, custom made for a number of alternate video games.
Like this one, for Super Mario Brothers on the NES.
Weird and wonderful Mario Party DS memes
Eventually, as most meme trends do, things got weird. People began uploading all kinds of reaction videos. Like the “vibing cat” cooling-out to the odd, electronic “music” that accompanies the piracy warning.
Many memes poked fun at the song—if you can call it that—that accompanies the anti-piracy warning. Mostly, people couldn’t help but vibe.
Quite a few people were reminded of the old anti-pirating commercials that dominated commercial breaks for much of the early 2000s.
For everyone who isn’t busy creating new dance trends featuring the anti-piracy theme, that old Nintendo DS is looking really good right now. If nothing else, the new onslaught of memes has returned one of our favorite Nintendo systems back into the mainstream.
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