Soul vs Soulless

Soul vs. Soulless

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Soul vs. Soulless is a lasting discourse and a caption meme that is used to compare old media, such as video games, animated series, against their modern sequels or remakes. Initially popular on 4chan's /v/ board, the meme received further spread outside the imageboard in the 2020s. The format has also been used to compare older memes against their modern counterparts.


Prior to 2017, putting video games into categories of "having a soul" and "not having a soul" has occasionally been brought up on 4chan's /v/ board. For example, on April 21st, 2016, an anonymous user made a /v/[1] thread about reviewers on YouTube describing games in such a way, criticizing the approach (shown below).

ITT: Retarded things reviewers say Anonymous Thu 21 Apr 2016 01:40:03 No.335002096 View Original Report [28/6/?] Quoted By: >>335002347 >>335002494 >>335002540 >>335002742 >>335002906 >>335003146 >>335003278 >>335003792 >The game has soul 1 MiB, 1065x902, image.png View Same Google ImgOps SauceNAO >The game feels soulless Literally what the f--- does that mean? What the hell defines a game having "soul"? Why should the game be deducted for the reviewer's pretentious perception of a mass produced or digital product having a "soul"?

On November 26th, 2017, an anonymous 4chan[2] user on /v/ posted an image comparing older and newer designs of Nintendo character Yoshi, captioned "soul" and "soulless," and writing, "What makes a game/character soulless? What are some games with Soul?" (shown below). The thread gained over 240 replies and led to the initial popularization of the "soul vs. soulless" meme on 4chan.

SOUL SOULLESS 256KiB, 2160x1400, yoshicompare42.jpg View Same Google ImgOps SauceNAO Anonymous Sun 26 [246/75/?] Nov 2017 21:50:34 No.398159782 t View Original Repor Quoted By: >>398160054 >>398160140 >>398160183 >>398160360 >>398160405 >>398160825 >>398161037 >>398161042 >>398161785 >>398162252 >>398163346 >>398163920 >>398164117 >>398164320 >>398164626 >>398165238 >>398165431 >>398166347 >>398166848 >>398167206 >>398168295 >>398168946 >>398169986 >>398170635 >>398174578 >>398174668 >>398175882 >>398178638 >>398179779 >>398180213 >>398180664 >>398181195 >>398181854 >>398182345 >>398182771 >>398183369 What makes a game/character soulless? What are some games with Soul?


Starting in 2018, multiple "soul vs. soulless" threads were created on 4chan's /v/ board in which users invited others to share examples of old video games and video game characters that supposedly had soul and compare them against their modern sequels and remakes that supposedly had no soul. For example, on July 12th, 2018, an anonymous user posted[3] a comparison image of Tokyo Mirage Sessions ♯FE and Persona 5, commenting, "What are some cases of SOUL vs SOULLESS?" The thread (shown below, left) garnered over 60 replies.

Also in 2018, multiple posts critical of the meme and mocking those who use it were shared on /v/,[4][5] with users arguing that it could be summarized as "old games are good and new games are bad" (example shown below).

Anonymous [60/10/?] Thu 12 Jul 2018 14:13:09 No.42394006 7 View Origina 65 I Report Quoted By: >>423940253 >>423940320 >>423941120 >>423941356 >>423943015 >>423943547 >>423943895 >>423945451 >>423946029 2MiB, 1280x1440, 1531409397472.png View Same Google ImgOps SauceNAO What are some cases of SOUL vs SOULLESS? Anonymou [8/4/?] s Sat 16 Jun 2018 09:52:38 No.420705 476 View Origi 36KiB, 485x443, gurg not happy.png View Same Google ImgOps SauceNAO nal Report Quoted By: >>420705575 >>420705685 NEW GAME SOULLESS OLD GAME SOUL

The trend saw further spread in 2019 as "soul vs. soulless" posts appeared on other 4chan boards such as /co/[6] (example shown below, left), and on X[7] / Twitter an Reddit[8] (example shown below, right).

SOUL I SOULLESS Soul vs Soulless Look how they massacred my boy.

The popularity of the meme dwindled in the early 2020s but was revitalized by YouTube[9] channel Crowbcat releasing a comparison video of Resident Evil 4 and its 2023 remake titled, "soul vs soulless Resident Evil 4 comparison". The video garnered over 1.9 million views in one year and was followed by a viral debate and parody memes in the following days. For example, on April 15th, 2023, X[10] user @Sisslethecat posted a parody clip comparing Resident Evil 1 against its HD remaster that gained over 200 reposts and 2,300 likes in one year (shown below).

Following Crowbcat's video, the phrase regained moderate popularity online, being used both sincerely and ironically.

Various Examples

Soul Rhino @TheeMockingjqy Vs Soulless Disney+ Disney+ 7:45 PM · Mar 26, 2024 259.9K Views Manlet Thorin @ManletThorin Modern book covers are the most overt examples of "soul vs soulless" DOUNE FRANK HERBERT 9:15 PM - Feb 3, 2024 181.1K Views . Дастанович | Remasters Reborn OUT NOW @Dastanovich_ if you wanna talk about actual soul vs soulless WHAT IS THIS S---?? ... Persona 5 Ul-fication does not work here when P3 purposefully made its Ul look like a gun cylinder COMMAND Attack ARUSH 7:10 PM - Jun 8, 2023 1.1M Views Attack weapo Tranquil idol COMM ITEM GUARD PERSONA ATTACK Analyze Tactics Survey Target Assist OR

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