Do a Barrel Roll starfox meme and screenshot from the video game.

Do a Barrel Roll

Part of a series on Star Fox. [View Related Entries]

Updated Jan 09, 2023 at 04:32PM EST by Zach.

Added Jan 03, 2009 at 09:12AM EST by Jamie Dubs.

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Related Explainer: Where Does The Phrase 'Do A Barrel Roll!' Come From? The Origins Of The Meme Explained

About

Do a Barrel Roll is a catchphrase used to call on someone to perform a 360-degree horizontal spin, which was originally taken from the 1997 N64 video game Star Fox 64. The phrase is often used to caption image macros where the subject appears to be in mid-rotation or in animated GIFs where the subject is performing a full rotation. It's also commonly used online as a standalone catchphrase in replies or comments to such videos, GIFs and images.

Origin

The barrel roll has been used as an airplane aerial combat technique since dogfighting emerged in 1913 during World War I. However, the barrel roll maneuver was later included as a move in the Super Nintendo console game Star Fox that was released in the U.S. in the spring of 1993. In the game, the player could perform a barrel roll by double-tapping the L and R buttons, protecting the ship from enemy lasers.

The specific phrase "do a barrel roll" that's referenced in memes comes from the sequel Star Fox 64, released on June 30th, 1997, in which the character Peppy Hare (voiced by Rick May) orders you to "do a barrel roll!" while approaching four stationary turrets firing lasers in the game. On June 4th, 2007, YouTuber[9] DeusExBenigma uploaded the earliest known and highest-viewed video of this scene and meme, receiving over 5.9 million views, 32,000 likes and 4,700 comments in roughly 15 years (seen below).



Spread

The first Urban Dictionary[1] definition was created on January 30th, 2004, by the user dot dot dot, receiving over 1,300 likes in roughly 18 years. The term was defined as:

In Star Fox, you hit a Z or R button twice to barrel roll, which in turns, gives you a temp shield from lasers.

During the Tom Green raids of 2006, the phrase was often used to prank call Green during his show. It was also often quoted on the image board 4chan and one of the earliest archived threads[6] dates back to August 2nd, 2007. A Facebook[7] fan page for the catchphrase accumulated over 14,700 likes, and there are 218 YTMND[5] submissions as of November 3rd, 2011.

In the late 2000s, the phrase notably spawned an image macro fad on the site I Can Haz Cheezburger in which users would add it to images depicting things performing rolls (example shown below).[8]


Demotivational Poster of a capsized ship captioned DO A BARREL ROLL

Google Easter Egg

On November 3rd, 2011, the Google search engine enabled an Easter egg for the search query "do a barrel roll" that would rotate the entire screen 360 degrees. The trick was subsequently covered by Kotaku,[2] The Huffington Post[3] and Tech Crunch[4] that same day (shown below).


Google's Easter Egg of when you search for Do A Barrel Roll and it flips the screen

Voice Actor's Death

On April 13th, 2020, news broke that Rick May, the voice actor behind Peppy Hare who delivered the iconic line that became a meme, had died after contracting the coronavirus. His passing was announced by the art school Rekindle, where he was a teacher, subsequently spawning an outpouring of appreciation and references to Peppy's catchphrase across the web.



May also notably voiced Team Fortress 2's Solider character, which was paid tribute on April 13th in a tweet by Twitter[10] user DBlackjack21 who shared a clip of players paying their respects to May. The video received over 27,600 likes and 8,200 retweets in roughly three years (seen below).


Various Examples


Cat about to do a somersault with caption DO A BARREL ROLL Helicopter about to flip over in flight with caption DO A BARREL ROLL GIF of dogs running and one collides with the other, doing a barrel roll in the process Do A Barrel Roll GIF of a Duck with her Ducklings that break away from formation Soccer GIF of player missing the ball and doing a barrel roll in the process Kid crashes into furniture that dog was standing on, dog proceeds to do an epic barrel roll onto the floor

Search Interest

External References

[1] Urban Dictionary – do a barrel roll

[2] Kotaku – Google do a barrel roll right now

[3] The Huffington Post – Google do a barrel roll is one of the coolest things google has ever done

[4] Tech Crunch – Do A Barrel Roll! In Google! Right Now!

[5] YTMND – do a barrel roll

[6] Chanarchive via Way back Machine – Morgan did a barrel roll

[7] Facebook – Do a Barrel Roll!

[8] I Can Haz Cheezburger – do a barrel roll

[9] YouTube – Do a barrel roll !

[10] Twitter – DBlackjack21

Recent Videos 20 total

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