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“Press X to Jason” is the action prompt from a quick time event featured in the 2010 interactive drama action-adventure video game Heavy Rain for PlayStation 3 (PS3).
On January 29th, 2010, GameTrailers, a video game news site well known for its abundance of trailers and reviews, released the first preview of gameplay footage from the-then upcoming interactive drama action-adventure PS3 video game Heavy Rain. The clip begins with the opening prologue wherein the main protagonist character Ethan Mar is shown spending time with his family at a shopping mall to celebrate his elder son Jason’s 10th birthday. When Jason suddenly wanders off and disappears into the crowd, Ethan frantically searches for him, and at 0:36 in the video, the player is prompted with the action command “Press X to Jason” in order to shout at Jason and draw his attention (shown below).
The awkwardly-worded prompt is an example of quick time events, a type of game mechanics which requires the player to press a specific button or key at the right time time in order to complete a minor task, that are extensively featured throughout the game. Compounded by other quirks and glitches present in the trailer, including awkward voice acting and odd CG facial animation, the phrase “Press X to Jason” soon became an easy target for mockeries online.
On February 4th, 2010, YouTube user masterfox3000 posted a remix of the original trailer video titled “PRESS X FOR JASON,” which served as the inspiration for a series of other heavily-edited mashup videos featuring the sampled quote.
On March 17th, The Escapist writer Ben ‘Yahtzee’ Croshaw reviewed Heavy Rain in an episode of his web series Zero Punctuation, in which he coined the catchphrase “Press X to not die” in lampooning odd instances of quick time events featured throughout the game.
Yahtzee’s review instantly rang a bell with many of the viewers, many of whom then began sharing their own jokes about the quote in the comments section in homage to Yahtzee’s popular phrase.
Yahtzee’s parodical expression “Press X to Not Die” subsequently spread across many other video game-related discussion forums.
On March 12th, 2010, Heavy.com highlighted a flash-based parody game titled Press X To Jason: The Game developed by site user K. Thor Jensen. The game is essentially an 8-bit rendition of the particular scene in the shopping mall that entails pressing the “X” key to “Jason.”
On May 23rd, YouTube musician Eric Fullerton uploaded an original song titled “Press X to Jason,” which details the events of the Heavy Rain scene in a musical form. Within the first three months, the video gained over 100,000 views.