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“Rocket Lawnchair,” sometimes spelled “Rawket Lawnchair,” is the phonetic translation of the phrase “rocket launcher” as mispronounced in the Japanese run-and-gun video arcade game Metal Slug 2.
The audio file exclaiming “Rocket Lawn-chair!” was originally featured in the 1998 Neo-Geo arcade game Metal Slug 2. As the game progresses, the players can pick up auxiliary weapons for increased firepower, and upon acquiring the item, a voiceover narrator would identify the type of weapon. Among the voiceover audio files was for the rocket launcher, which was widely misheard as “rocket lawnchair” by the English-speaking players.
In October 2006, a YTMND site titled “Rocket Lawn Chair” launched, depicting a character sitting in a lawn chair attached to a rocket (shown below). In 2007, the term was used on the Halo fan message board The 405th as the title of a thread showing off a handcrafted rocket launcher for cosplay purposes. In 2008, the phrase “Rocket Lawnchair” became adopted by deviantART users as a humorous title for fan art featuring rocket launchers. Later that same year, the term was first defined on Urban Dictionary as a mocking term for the Halo weapon, often chosen by inexperienced players for its high firepower, not taking into account its short lifespan.
In 2009, an alternative rock band called Rocket Lawnchair was formed. A handful of videos featuring remixes of the original Metal Slug 2 sound clip have been uploaded to YouTube, as well as others simply referencing the phrase in the title.