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Thread Simulators are YouTube videos that are used to parody forum or image board threads, typically on 4chan, about a variety of fandoms and subcultures. The videos consist of select screenshots from a token thread, speech synthesized audio made with text-to-speech programs and reaction video clips set to the Overworld theme from the 1988 Nintendo game Super Mario Bros 2 soundtrack.
On June 29th, 2011, YouTuber PIFTSdotexe uploaded a video titled “Pony Thread Simulator v1.0” featuring excerpts of bronies’ discussion theads on the cartoon (/co/) board, mostly humorous and disturbing comments related to My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. The video gained more than 196,000 views within 7 months.
PIFTSdotexe went on to produce three sequels: Pony Thread Simulator v2.0 on July 7th 2011, Pony Thread Simulator v2.2 that same day and Pony Thread Simulator v3.0 on July 28th.
On August 9th, the original Pony Thread Simulator v1.0 video was submitted to the /r/4chan subreddit and 4 days later, the Pony Simulator v3.0 video was submitted to the same subreddit. The earliest archived 4chan thread mentioning “thread simulators” comes from a comment linking to the Pony Thread Simulator v2.2 video in a greentext stories thread on the Robot9001 (r9k) board on October 23rd, 2011.
A thread simulator for the web series Homestuck was uploaded by YouTuber KTifyify on July 7th. A “Cancer General General Thread Simulator” was uploaded by YouTuber NefariousBshenkd on September 16th. On January 16th, 2012, the first non-4chan thread simulator video was uploaded by YouTuber thisnameoverhere parodying FunnyJunk threads. On January 20th, a Star Wars: The Old Republic thread simulator was uploaded by YouTuber drunkoncustard.
The image of the grinning face wearing sunglasses with the caption “It Begins” from “Pony Thread Simulator v2.0”, most likely representing Boltman, mascot for the San Diego Chargers, inspired a series of image macro derivatives:
The catchphase is generally used to express hype before the thread or simulator start.
Search queries for “thread simulator” picked up in July of 2011, the same month the first pony thread simulators were uploaded to YouTube.