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“They played us like a damn fiddle!” is a memorable quote from the 2014 action-adventure video game Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes said by the supporting character Kazuhira Miller to the protagonist, Big Boss.
In the main campaign of Ground Zeroes, Kazuhira “Kaz” Miller (voiced by Robin Atkin Downes) is introduced as second-in-command for the private military corporation Militaires Sans Frontières (MSF) who oversees his superior’s mission while preparing its offshore stronghold (known as Mother Base) for an upcoming inspection from the United Nations. However, upon the completion of Big Boss’ mission, the inspection is revealed to have been a Trojan Horse for a surprise attack on Mother Base, which catches the MSF soldiers off guard and sinks the base to the bottom of the ocean. Though he barely escapes with his life, Miller rendezvouses with Big Boss and tries to explain the situation, at which time he utters the aforementioned quote.
Upon the game’s release in March 2014, the quote, along with Downes’s delivery of it, quickly gained notoriety for its obtuse placement in such a serious dialogue, soon giving rise to a series of online mockeries on Metal Gear fan forums. IGN columnist Lucy O’Brien criticized the game as being fraught with “gaudy dialogue,”, referencing the quote as an example. When later asked about the line in an interview, Downes joked that “You’re about to see some major music coming out of Kaz in the next game. Fiddling is just the beginning of it.”
As early as March 10th, people on 4chan’s /v/ (video games) board began poking fun at the strange quote. On March 22nd, a user posted a thread about the controversial references to rape in the game. Partway through the thread, users began posting derivatives of the quote using the template “They X’d us like a damn Y!” The quote exploded in popularity on /v/ following this.
On March 21st, SoundCloud user F1NG3RS uploaded a remix of the scene, titled “They Played Us Like A Damn Fiddle (F1NG3RS MGSV Bitch Remix)”. Two days later on March 23rd, he uploaded it to YouTube under the username F1NG3RSMUSIC (shown below, left), which garnered over 21,000 views and more than 840 likes. Encouraged by the positive reception of the the remix, F1NG3RSMUSIC released an extended version on March 31st (shown below, right).
On March 24th, F1NG3RSMUSIC also posted a screen capture of a very similar quote said by Big Boss in the prequel title Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker via his Tumblr blog.
Meanwhile on Reddit, the quote began to gain momentum on /r/metalgearsolid/ after Redditor SleepingInsomniac submitted a link to YouTuber F1NG3RSMUSIC’s remix video on March 27th. On April 1st, another thread featuring an image of Kazuhira Miller playing a violin was posted.
Also that same day, Tumblr user sciencejuice0 performed a comedic fiddle-based monologue based on Miller’s lines from the upcoming sequel (Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain), accompanied by music from said game. The audio attained over 230 notes over the course of five days. On April 3rd, Twitter user lastcody took a picture of a Kazuhira Miller action figure in a similar position to the character’s portrayal in Ground Zeroes.
THEY PLAYED US LIKE A DAMN FIDDLE pic.twitter.com/Mua9LzvHWL— lastcody (@lastcody) April 3, 2014
Metal Gear Informer – Robin Atkin Downes Talks About Kaz’ Anger And Vulnerability.