Today is the 20th anniversary of the Nintendo 64, which is an excuse to play one of the console’s better games, Goldeneye. Which means I must remember the brilliant meme that game inspired: Geddan.
Unfortunately, remembering is the best I can do. Geddan, my favorite meme, has been all but erased from the internet.
Geddan gestated on the Japanese video-sharing site Nico Nico Douga in 2007, gradually accumulating its three components.
First, a user posted a video of a Goldeneye glitch. With the game cartridge askew, the characters' bodies gruesomely contort like bodies in a Heironymous Bosch painting.
That same month, a different user paired footage of the glitch with the Kohmi Hirose’s J-pop tune, "Promise."
The glitch. The song. The dance. When combined, we get Get Down, or Geddan. The best example still available online isn’t embeddable, so go here.
What I cherish about this meme is its combination of density and difficulty. It’s built atop nostalgia partly for a wildly popular game, but also a glitch most people never knew existed. It demands a certain appreciation of J-pop. It has its own catchy dance, but that dance is only possible by exhaustively leaping into the air dozens of times, then manually splicing hundreds of frames together. To make a Geddan video, you must really understand and love Geddan. The result shows in the footage.
The meme made its way to YouTube in the US in 2010, and for two years I obsessed over one video in particular that compiled dozens of the original Geddans into a Partridge Family-esque visual remix. I still have the link, but it’s long dead.
Victor Entertainment, the rights holder to "Promise," had most of the original videos removed in 2012. What remain today are a handful of Geddan videos, minus the song. But Geddan isn’t really Geddan without all three components.
I’m so grateful for Know Your Meme’s video archive. While I can’t watch most of the Geddan videos in their entirety, this Get Down explainer features brief moments from some of the best examples.
Last month, a Vimeo user uploaded a collection of footage from Jerry Lewis’ Holocaust movie, The Day the Clown Cried — long kept from the public. Compiled from brief samples of footage used in documentary’s and news programs, the video attempts to recreate the movie, filling in gaps with plot-heavy text. Memes feel too big to simply disappear from the internet, and yet I wonder if this will be the fate for many of them: recreations crafted from memories and scraps of footage made by the people who still care.