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Combo Breaker, sometimes seen as C-C-C-C-Combo Breaker!, is a phrase usually used on message boards to break a chain of posts. On 4chan, the phrase is disrupt a popular pastime known as a Combo, which involves posting a series of partially cropped images to bring out the full picture in a given thread.
The phrase “combo breaker” originally appeared in the 1994 arcade fighting game Killer Instinct. In the game, a player can utilize a special move to stop their opponent from completing a combo attack. When a combo breaker is successfully completed, an in-game message that read ’C-C-C-Combo Breaker!" would appear on screen. The term began appearing on the web in April 2004, when the first YTMND site with the phrase was created, using an audio clip from the game.
In August of that year, the first definition of the phrase was added to Urban Dictionary, stating that it was used on message boards to break up chains of posts repeating the same phrase.
The first archived 4chan thread featuring a combo breaker took place on December 15th, 2006 in a thread about Haiku poetry. After a series of posts consisting of poems that conformed to Haiku’s strict three line style, a user posted a five line Tanka poem using “C-C-C-COMBO BREAKER” as the second line.
Between 2005 and 2007, over 40 YTMNDs were created in reference to “combo breaker" and several 4chan threads with combo breakers were archived. On May 27th, 2007, an IRC quote using the phrase to break up a multiple line message was registered to the Quote Database.
Jenna says: I
Jenna says: l
Jenna says: o
Jenna says: v
Jenna says: e
Jenna says: y
David says: C-C-C-COMBO BREAKER!
Jenna says: what the **** is your problem?
Jenna says: why do you always do that?
After Barack Obama won the presidency on November 4th, 2008, illustrator Patrick Moberg posted a drawing of every American president from George Washington to Obama. The poignant image was reposted on many social networks before it was turned into a demotivational image with the text “C-C-C-Combo Breaker!” underneath. This version was shared on Metafilter, eBaum’s World, and FunnyJunk that month.
In 2011, the action video game Saints Row: The Third was released with an achievement titled C-C-C-Combo Breaker!, earned after causing $150,000 dollars in damage during a combo during the Sexy Kitten Yarngasm activity.
Search for “combo breaker” peaked in November 2008, when the Obama demotivational began circulating the web.