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The ink is flying, and so are the memes.
Nintendo’s inky, squid-centric shooter, Splatoon, got a sequel in July, and Splatoon 2 is turning out to be just as much of a boon to the meme community as it is to gamers. Everyone’s swooning over the game’s new idol characters, Pearl and Marina, and horribly abusing Splatoon 2‘s in-game chat, which lets players draw messages to each other, to produce hilarious, off-color memes.
Let’s hope these poor, abused squid children are just joking:
Splatoon fandom has thrived on Tumblr in particular: Tumblr told the Daily Dot there have been more than 2 million posts about the new game since July 1.
Apparently, it all started when one person said “Stop drawing furries,” prompting furry fans to draw even more in defiance. Now the game’s main lobby has turned into an artistic battlefield of “furries vs. normies.”
i see so much people posting furries on splatoon and there so much i dont hate furries but dang its like a war rigth now pic.twitter.com/DNjpHZLcxz
— Andrew Saucedo (@AjSauc3) August 1, 2017
Some people have really put a lot of time into their Splatoon meme art. For example, one player recreated a pixel-perfect black-and-white version of the “white guy blinking” meme:
And another drew a fake Donald Trump tweet:
Yet another was representing Star Wars Prequel memes, one of the year’s biggest trends, with a drawing of Senator Palpatine:
— Nintendo Today (@Nintendo2Day) July 24, 2017
The results of the Ketchup vs. Mayo Splatfest, an in-game fight to determine the best condiment, are also a hot topic. (FYI, mayo won.)
— Stealth (@Stealth___) August 6, 2017
As you can see, the meme potential in Splatoon 2 is extremely high. The game itself is a source of memes, with its memorable characters and Splatfests, but Splatoon 2 is also an entirely new medium for meme delivery. The limitations of the chat system make it fun and challenging to translate existing memes to the Splatoon world, and there’s a neverending backlog of beloved memes that could make their way there.
Wherever there is freedom of expression online, there will be memes. The only way we see this trend ending is if people stop playing the game.
Just remember, as you post your dank splat memes, that there are actual kids playing, too.
Jay Hathaway is a former senior writer who specialized in internet memes and weird online culture. He previously served as the Daily Dot’s news editor, was a staff writer at Gawker, and edited the classic websites Urlesque and Download Squad. His work has also appeared on nymag.com, suicidegirls.com, and the Morning News.