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Lego City Undercover, often referred to as Lego GTA for its gameplay similarities to the Grand Theft Auto franchise, is an open-world LEGO game published for the Nintendo Wii U in 2013 and later re-released on the Xbox One, PC, PS4 and Switch. The game puts the player in the role of Chase McCain, an undercover cop who returns to Lego City after a number of years to take down Rex Fury, a criminal mastermind. Lego City Undercover is often praised as one of the best and most unique LEGO video games and has inspired memes in the years following its release. The game became the subject of ironic memes on TikTok in 2021 by user @shanethegoat1.
Lego City Undercover was announced for the Wii U during E3 2012 with a trailer showcasing the gameplay, showing an open-world city, vehicles and action sequences (shown below). On March 18th, 2013, Lego City Undercover was released on the Wii U.
In 2017, Lego City Undercover was re-released on the Nintendo Switch, as well as the Xbox One, PS4 and on PC, announced via a trailer in January of that year, gaining over 1.4 million views in four years (shown below).
Lego City Undercover has received generally positive reviews since launch with an average critic score of 78 and user score of 7.8 on Metacritic as of January 2022. In March 2013, IGN gave the game a score of 8/10 in its review posted to YouTube (shown below).
On May 11th, 2017, YouTuber DanTDM posted a let's play video of the game, titled "LEGO GRAND THEFT AUTO?!," gaining over 5.7 million views in roughly four years (shown below).
Lego City Undercover has inspired comparisons to the Grand Theft Auto franchise since its launch, a comparison that is often at the heart of the game's meme community. For example, on February 15th, 2020, Redditor Herminat2r posted a meme comparing the two to /r/memes, gaining over 240 upvotes in a year (shown below, left). On June 21st, 2021, Redditor SchlElias posted a similar meme to /r/memes, gaining over 5,400 upvotes in seven months (shown below, right).
Shanethegoat1 / Bitch I'm Playing Lego GTA
On January 19th, 2021, TikToker @shanethegoat1 posted his first video, where he repeatedly says, "bitch I'm playing Lego GTA" while playing Lego City Undercover, describing his actions by saying "I just be x," "x" being what he's doing on-screen. The video gained over 277,000 views in a year (shown below, left). @shanethegoat1 continued to post videos like this almost daily throughout the year, doing various things in Lego City Undercover and often starting the video with the phrase (example shown below, right). The videos are all tagged "#legogta."
Shanethegoat1's videos became increasingly viral towards the end of 2021 and in early 2022 as he leaned into the joke, making ironic videos playing the game. For example, in January 2022 two of his videos gained over a million views in under four days (shown below, left and right).
On January 7th, 2022, the TikToker posted a video following the Dawg Skull Emoji trend, dressed fully as a LEGO figure, gaining over 1.1 million views in three days (shown below, left). He continued to post videos in the costume over the following days, some pretending that Lego GTA is driving him insane (shown below, right).
On January 7th, 2022, ShaneTheGoat1 posted a video to his YouTube channel playing the game, describing his love and addiction to the game (shown below). In the video, he says he beat it about 30 times on the Wii U when it first came out, then bought it on the 3DS later. He then says he bought the remaster on Xbox One and couldn't believe how good the graphics were. Throughout the video, he breaks into his ironic TikTok cadence when he does certain chaotic things in-game, saying "I just be x" then cutting back to his story. Shane claims to have around 20,000 hours played, says he's lost friends and family to the game and that he plays about 10 hours a day. The video appears to largely be ironic and gained over 14,000 views in three days.