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“Are You a Bad Enough Dude?” is a catchphrase originating from Bad Dudes, an NES port of the Japanese arcade game DragonNinja released in 1988. At the beginning of the game, a secret service agent resembling Duke Nukem appears on screen with the following message:
This moment was something of an obscure, retro-flavored in-joke, evoking nostalgia from people who remembered playing the game.
Bad Dudes Vs. DragonNinja is a 1988 beat’em up arcade game developed and published by Data East. The story follows the adventuress of two street-fighting bad dudes, Blade and Striker, who must infiltrate the secret ninja base in order to rescue President Ronnie, a character based on Ronald Reagan. Upon completing the mission, the President thanks the bad dudes and invite them for a hamburger at the White House.
One of the earliest online references to the game and the catchphrase can be found in the archives of insaneabode.com, a personal website created sometime in 2000.
The catchphrase “are you a bad enough dude” can really be used to preface anything that would be a gauge of a person’s badness, typically having to do with banning other users, blocking people, or deleting one’s account.
The phrase has also been used ironically to counter a relatively unimpressive act. The words change to fit the goal, and the original background has been changed from a wall to flat green, but generally, the secret service member stays. If he is removed, a replacement character is put in his place, often in pixelated form to fit the setting. In many of the images currently circulating, the name “Ronnie” (Ronald Reagan) no longer appears.
“Bad Dudes” became a recurring theme in a number of YTMNDs. On May 1st, 2004, YTMND user furb3 created “I’m Bad,” a low-rated, low-viewed YTMND, but it was the first to include a “Bad Dudes” tag. The same 8-bit NES tag from “I’m Bad” was then paired with a graphic from the game’s ending sequence in another YTMND titled “Bad Dudes”, which shows the president being grateful towards the protagonists for rescuing him.
On June 4th, 2005, YTMND user Zephirias created “Are you a bad enough dude to block Jesus?” which has over 282,000 views (as of December 2009) and a rating of 4.07 stars.
From here, a number of “Are you a Bad Enough Dude” YTMND sites were created by various users.
- ARE YOU A BAD ENOUGH DUDE TO SEND AN ILLEGAL DVD RIP?
- Are you a bad enough dude to delete Jesus?
- Are you a bad enough dude to take 400 MB?
While not all YTMNDs containing the phrase “bad dude” are always connected to the video game, the “Are You a Bad Enough Dude” fad coalesced into an ongoing trend spanning 5 years so far. A total of 45 “Are you a bad enough dude” YTMNDs have been created to date. Up to date figures can be seen on the YTMND search results.
Usage on 4chan
According to Google, the phrase “are you a bad enough dude” has been indexed on 4chanarchive.org at least 2370 times, including thread #1 from June 14th, 2006 and thread #2 from September 25th, 2007.
While “bad dudes” shows a considerably higher rate of searches, and one that is relatively consistent throughout history, it shows a distinct spike around the summer of 2005. At the same time, the other three search terms also hit the map--the three that are directly related to the meme.