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A Winner is You is a popular catchphrase used in online conversations to congratulate someone else’s accomplishment, oftentimes in sarcasm.
The oddball phrase “A Winner is You” actually stems from the 1986 NES game Pro Wrestling, wherein the player was given a short congratulatory message after beating the match opponent. Similar to other poorly translated videogame messages, its broken English grammar certainly stuck with those who’ve seen it and continues to be celebrated today.
Although the game “Pro Wrestling” was actually released in 1987, the meme itself actually began in January 2004, as seen in the Google Insights chart. While its popularity and search instances remain relatively high in volume (in the United States), it is also declining once again (as of 2010).
The phrase is commonly used in online chat and discussion forums as a sarcastic way of showing one’s joy or approval. Here’s an example of its usage in dialogue:
User 1: Dude, I totally just won $3,000!
User 2: A winner is you, man.
There are several popular variations of the phrase, including “A winrar is you” and “You’re winner,” another faulty quote found in the 2003 racing game Big Rigs. While the wording is changed in each variation, the meaning and usage still remain the same: “you win; good for you.”
A few YouTube videos use the meme to a comical effect by combining win screens with something completely different. In these videos, the meme’s potential for humor is realized. The following example combines the “Big Rigs” win screen with Star Trek:
References in Other Video Games
The phrase has been referenced in several online flash games, such as “I Don’t Even Know” by Lawlolawl Studios, “Madness Accelerant” and “Madness Regent” by Tom Fulp as a reward for finishing the game or completing a specific achievement. “The Impossible Quiz” by SlappMeDo, an incredibly hard online quiz, takes things a little further by ending the game with nothing but the phrase “Ur Winnar” and a picture of a trophy.
- In the first-person shooter game “Red Faction”, there is an achievement called “A Winner is You” that can be unlocked after winning 250 matchmaking games.
- In the Nintendo DS game “Mario and Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story", the main antagonist, disguised as a salesman, shouts “A winner is you!” after Bowser wins himself a vacuum ’shroom.
- In the WiiWare game “Strongbad’s Cool Game for Attractive People", Coach Z explains to the main protagonist and title character that he isn’t entirely sure what happens if he wins the Halfathalon and earns a trophy. However, he goes on to reference the meme by saying “But a winner is you! Isn’t that good enough?”.
- A reference to this meme is uttered by the character Behemoth in the game “Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo Tales”, when he says, surprised that you beat him, “A winner is you? Aeeeioooooo!”.
- The text-based online adventure game “Kingdom of Loathing” parodies the phrase in their slogan “An Adventurer is You!”
*A teacher at the Pokemon school can be found saying “Want to be a winner is you?” A bug catcher in the same game can be found saying “You won? The winner is you?” The guy who gives you the coin case says “Bravo! A winner is you!”