This is part of our ongoing series about games and trends of one of the most longest-lived eras in gaming’s history — the Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 generation.

With the release of Microsoft’s Xbox One on Friday, the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3 generation officially ended. It was a long, eventful time, and the Internet community was always there to comment and break out the Impact font. You can basically tell the entire story of the late console generation with Internet memes … so that’s what we did. Here are some of the most significant gaming events of the past eight years presented through jokes the Internet told itself.

(Click the images for a slightly larger version.)

2005

May 12: Why is it called the Xbox 360?

Microsoft showed off its second console for the first time during an MTV special that featured actor Elijah Wood and a musical performance by The Killers. This was the first time we’d heard the phrase “Xbox 360,” and the joke below grew out of people trying to understand the name. Or it’s just a trolling method, which I’m not ruling out.

Why do they call it the Xbox 360?

Above: The real reason is that they didn’t want the “Xbox 2” to sound inferior to the “PlayStation 3,” but you can’t work Michael Jackson into that.

May 16: The PlayStation 3’s design choices

Sony unveiled the PlayStation 3 at 2005’s Electronic Entertainment Expo trade show (E3), and the Internet immediately had a few questions about the controller, the shape and size of the console, and Sony’s choice in fonts. But other than that, people were cool with the thing because it would be another year before we’d hear about pricing.

PS3 Design

Above: Yeah, it was pretty big. And it made people hungry.

2006

April 27: It’s called … what?

It’s weird to think that a time once existed where we didn’t know what a Wii was. On April 27, 2006, Nintendo ushered in the modern, post-Wii era when it announced that its new hardware would not be called the Revolution, which was its awesome development codename, but rather the Wii, which made sense to nobody. And we’ve pretty much been making jokes about it ever since.

Wii Name

Above: Even the Wall Street Journal couldn’t resist.

May 8: Sony makes it all happen

Sony’s press briefing at E3 2006 gave the Internet a lot to work with. At least four enduring jokes came out of it — two from the same presentation of action title Genji: Days of the Blade, in which producer Bill Ritch touted the game’s levels as being based on “famous battles which actually took place in feudal Japan” before immediately discussing the finer points of fighting giant enemy crabs.

Giant Enemy Crab

Above: The “massive damage” meme was so insidious that developer Ninja Theory worked it into its PS3 launch title, Heavenly Sword.

Sony finally revealed pricing on the PlayStation 3 at the same show, and it fell to chief Kaz Hirai to deliver the news: The PS3 would cost $600 at launch. This would have been enough to spur a rash of nerd rage, but the meme-worthiness of the incident came from Hirai’s phrasing that the system’s price would be “five hundred and ninety-nine U.S. dollars.”

599 U.S. Dollars

Above: The person “lol”-ing at the price dig in the upper-right may very well be Sony Computer Entertainment Worldwide Studios president Shuhei Yoshida.

Finally, we have to pick on Kaz Hirai again as he fell victim to genuine but sadly uninfectious enthusiasm. While showing off the original-PlayStation emulation capabilities of the PlayStation Portable handheld system, Hirai tried to build suspense around which game he was using to demo the feature. When the title screen came up, he uttered the two words that would be on his tombstone if the Internet ran a funeral parlor.

Ridge Racer

Above: The real tragedy is that Ridge Racer is, in fact, awesome.

November: That poor kid

EB Games/GameStop’s 2006 holiday gift guide included an ad for the Xbox 360 featuring an awkward picture of a red-headed kid with an even more awkward quotation next to him. The denizens of Internet bulletin board 4chan went to work and churned out hundreds of images based on the poor ginger and his goofy expression.

Xbox 360 Kid

Above: It’s like staring into infinity. If infinity had braces.

Nov. 19: Wii would like to destroy your TV

When Nintendo’s motion-controlled console came out, a lot of people were enthused about it. So enthused, in fact, that the Internet began filling up with stories of Wii Remotes flying just right the hell out of players’ hands and putting holes in their TV screens. This one isn’t a meme in the traditional sense of “a picture with text in Impact font,” but all the cool kids started putting up videos of their mishaps on YouTube, and you could spend an afternoon watching thousands of dollars’ worth of high-grade electronics become garbage if that’s your thing.

Wii vs. TVs

Above: Wii owners successfully predicted the devlopment of Wii Sports Resort’s archery minigame two years early.

2007

January: Unlock all the Achievements

When the Xbox 360 launched in November 2005, it introduced the love-or-hate-it Achievements feature which rewards gamers with points for completing in-game tasks. It took over a year, but in January 2007, the first widely used fake Achievement generator appeared on the blog Technology-Ninja. And then the flood was upon us.

Xbox 360 Achievements

Above: That shoe-dodging game looks intense.

July 5: The Red Ring of Death

OK, so the Red Ring of Death, which represented a fatal hardware error in early Xbox 360s, existed before July 5, 2007. But that’s the day that Microsoft announced that it was extending the existing warranty on the console to three years to deal with the problem. But the Internet had already been hard at work for at least a year.

Red Ring of Death

Above: The PlayStation 3’s equivalent of the RRoD was the “Yellow Light of Doom,” but that didn’t catch on as well.

July 11: Nintendo’s Reggie Fils-Aime provides a status report

Nintendo introduced the Wii Balance Board at its E3 2007 press briefing, and it fell upon Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime to demo it onstage. When told he was about to go through a “body check” in Wii Fit, Fils-Aime announced his preparedness with a slightly awkward “My body is ready.” Much like it did when he first said it, the line just kind of sat there for a while. But almost three years later, in June 2010, people apparently decided it was worth a few hundred pictures.

"My body is ready."

Above: It was hard just picking six.

Oct. 1: Nintendo wants your Wii to be safe

After we lost all those TVs to Wii Fever — not to mention teeth, lamps, and friendships — Nintendo responded by offering a more durable wrist strap for its Wii controllers. But apparently, this wasn’t quite enough safety, so in October 2007, it rolled out the Wii Remote Jacket: a rubbery protective cover that would hopefully make any remotes with aspirations of flight bounce off of any expensive electronics or faces it might meet along its trajectory. But the Internet had an idea of what else that sounded like.

Wii Jackets

Above: The Internet was less sure of its spelling.

Oct. 9: The day that cast doubt upon dessert

When developer Valve released its Orange Box — a collection of five games running on its Source graphics engine — the title that generated the least interest before release was Portal. Try to remember what that was like: We lived in a world in which nobody was excited about Portal. As it turned out, however, the bite-sized puzzle game was probably the most popular thing in The Orange Box, and its villain, the evil A.I. GLaDOS, instilled in us a strange fascination with cake and the authenticity thereof.

The Cake Is a Lie

Above: And then we all got tired of it.

2008

PS3 has no games

The console war between the PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360 included arguments about online functionality, controllers, graphics, and comparisons between each system’s library of exclusive games. Two years after the PlayStation 3’s release, 4chan decided that its catalog, which was smaller than the Xbox 360’s and the Wii’s, meant that the system had no games at all, and the idea spread from there because that’s how the Internet works.

PS3 has no games

Above: You know, except for all those games it has.

Sept. 25: The Florida Supreme Court disbars Jack Thompson

You’d be hard-pressed to find a gamer who sympathizes with Jack Thompson. The Florida lawyer became the face of reactionary antigaming when he regularly spoke out against home consoles, which he called “murder simulators” and “dangerous physical appliances that teach a kid how to kill efficiently and to love it.” He was particularly not a fan of developer Rockstar Games and its publisher Take-Two Interactive; he filed suits to keep titles like Grand Theft Auto IV, Bully, and Manhunt 2 out of stores, specifically citing what he called Bully’s “gay sexual content” (main character Jimmy Hopkins can kiss boys in the game). On Sept. 25, 2008, after months of proceedings, the Florida Supreme Court approved Thompson’s disbarment based on complaints of harassment and making defamatory statements. The gaming community was not too sad to hear the news.

Jack Thompson

Above: In October of 2007, Thompson submitted court documents that included gay pornography. Because he’s classy.

2009

June 1: The mystery of the bottom of your Xbox 360 Avatar’s shoes

At E3 2009, Microsoft gave us our first look at the motion controller we came to know as Kinect (they called it “Project Natal” back then). To show off the versatility of the new hardware, creative director Kudo Tsunoda asked, “You ever wonder what the bottom of your Avatar’s shoes look like? Well, bam! There it is.” Except there it wasn’t, because Tsunoda’s Avatar suffered a glitch and adopted a pose that was as ridiculous as it was humanly impossible.

Wabam

Above: And now I guess we’ll never know.

June 2: Nintendo is just checking to see if you’re still alive

At its E3 2009 press briefing, Nintendo showed a picture of its latest planned peripheral: the Wii Vitality Sensor. Nobody said anything about what it did or what kinds of games the hardware maker was planning for it, but the idea of a device that ran between your Wii Remote and index finger was enough for the Internet to work with.

Vitality Sensor

Above: Nintendo has since cancelled the device, so all of these ideas are still free to use.

June 2: Sony unveils its exciting, new-ish portable hardware and controller

Sony’s PSP Go handheld system was a little confusing. It cost more at launch ($249) than the existing PlayStation Portable ($199), and it only played downloaded games, so owners of PSPs had little reason to upgrade because they couldn’t play the physical games they’d already bought.

PSP Go

Above: I can’t even tell if the one in the upper right is supposed to be funny.

The same day, Sony showed off its prototype for the PlayStation Move, its answer to the Wii’s motion controls. It used different interface and was more precise than the Wii Remote, but that didn’t matter because it looked funny and was still kind of like the Wii.

PlayStation Move

Above: I mean, yeah, it does look kinda funny.

2010

Jan. 10: Pressing X becomes hilarious

This date marked the release of the first PS3 demo for Quantic Dreams’ interactive film-ish title, Heavy Rain. The demo included a now-infamous scene in which hero Ethan Mars searches for his son in a mall. While moving Mars around, players could also press the X button to call the boy’s name. This had no direct functional purpose in the game, but it did spin off a bunch of funny images, shirts, and a Flash game, so it wasn’t completely useless.

Press X to Jason

Above: Leave it to the Internet to make the loss of a child funny.

March 1: The PlayStation 3 Leap Day bug

On March 1, owners of older-model PS3s had difficulty signing into the PlayStation Network online service (PSN). It just wasn’t happening. And more mysteriously, their system clocks started reading Dec. 31, 1999. The problem turned out to be an issue in the hardware; the system thought that 2010 was a leap year, and in addition to the PSN issues, the bug also rendered consoles incapable of playing games. The issue sorted itself out once the nonexistent day passed, and the Internet managed to keep itself entertained while it was waiting for its systems to work again.

ApocalyPS3

Above: They called it the “ApocalyPS3.”

June 14: Taste the adorable rainbow

At 2010’s E3, Microsoft brought out several new titles for its Kinect motion controller. One of these games, Kinectimals, had a stage demo in which a cute little girl played with an in-game tiger named Skittles. This baffled the Internet community so much that it just started putting Skittles into every game it could think of.

Skittles

Above: I would play most of these.

2011

April 20: Whoops

On April 20, PSN went down again. On April 23, Sony announced that it had shut it down because of an “external intrusion.” The hackers might have stolen 77 million users’ personal information, which included addresses, birthdays, online IDs,  and maaaaybe, you know, credit card information.

PSN Hack

Above: Sony encrypted its credit card data, so I guess the hackers just know where to send our birthday presents.

June 14: The Duke Nukem Forever joke ends … well, the one about it never coming out, anyway

We first heard about Duke Nukem Forever in 1996. It came out in 2011, and everyone got so used to it being this thing that someone was constantly working on that we weren’t really prepared for it to actually come out. But it wasn’t very good, so it still provided some laughs even after its 15-year development.

Duke Nukem Forever

Above: How disappointed would we have been if it had been good?

Nov. 11: The most common career-ending injury in Tamriel

When Skyrim, the fifth installment in developer Bethesda’s Elder Scrolls epic role-playing series, came out on 11/11/11, players started to notice something about the game’s guards. It seemed like a lot of them had once been adventurers like us, but then tragedy struck like an arrow to the knee. Exactly like an arrow to the knee, in fact.

Arrow to the knee

Above: Just from working on this image, the phrase has lost all meaning.

2012

March 6: Everyone loves Mass Effect 3

The Mass Effect sci-fi action-role-playing series started in 2006 with one promise: The player’s choices will matter. In 2012, the third and final part of hero Commander Shepard’s quest to save the galaxy arrived, and absolutely everyone was satisfied with the ending. Oh, wait, no. They hated it.

Mass Effect 3

Above: Who knew?

May 15: Diablo III launches. Except the opposite of that

Action-role-playing game Diablo III was one of the most anticipated titles of 2012. And then it came out, and nobody could start it. The issue came from the game requiring everyone who played it to maintain an Internet connection at all times, and it turns out that that sort of thing will clog the servers right up. With Diablo III unavailable, the Internet decided to keep itself busy making silly pictures about Error 37, the problem’s official name.

Error 37

Above: You could almost make a Clerks joke if that movie weren’t 20 years old.

2013

March 5: It happens again

Almost a year after the small problem with Diablo III, developer Maxis and publisher EA released a new title in its SimCity urban-planning series. Like Diablo III, it required a constant Internet connection, even when playing the single-player mode. And also like Diablo III, its fans found themselves unable to play due to network outages and server issues.

SimCity

Above: The game would even delete players’ entire cities if the servers went down in the middle of a session.

April 12: Phil Fish vs. Minecraft

Developer Mojang’s  creation game Minecraft is almost an entry in itself if for no other reason than the “___ rebuilt in Minecraft” posts that started showing up all over the place since the game came out in November 2011. But then one brave man stood up and said, “No more.” That man was Phil Fish, the maker of indie puzzle game Fez. He called for an end to the posts on Twitter. And then an hour later, this happened. Minecraft Mojang Fez And so a comment about a meme became a part of that meme, and the Internet opened up and swallowed itself like Pac-Man.


This list is obviously not comprehensive. If you have a favorite self-sustaining joke from this console generation, let us know in the comments.

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