VRChat Now Has Over 1.8M Users Thanks to ‘Ugandan Knuckles’
Ron Perillo / 6 months ago
Virtual Reality chat program ‘VRChat’ has exploded in popularity, now boasting over 1.8 million users. In fact, it only had a little over 300,000 users on the last week of December 2017 according to SteamSpy. The jump in popularity is largely in part due to an unlikely meme called “Ugandan Knuckles”. Unlike other memes before it however, it has a rather complicated origin and its success is just as baffling, if not more so.
What is ‘Ugandan Knuckles’?
With VRChat, users can create and use any model as an avatar to talk to other people. You can even use gestures and has eye-tracking/blinking support to express a range of emotion. Not that these are necessary for the success of the meme. The actual origins of the image used ‘Ugandan Knuckles’ itself comes from YouTuber Gregzilla. His original video reviewed Sonic Lost World back in 2013 and featured an animated depiction of a stocky Knuckles.
On September 15, 2017, DeviantArt artist TidiestFlyer created a 3D-rendered version of the Gregzilla Knuckles.
From there, trolls have combined it with the ‘Ugandan’ aspect and used it to raid VRChat rooms. This consists of various quotes from the Wakaliwood classic movie Who Killed Captain Alex? (2010), an ultra-low budget action movie from Uganda. Essentially, combining two memes into one.
The Ugandan audio meme itself gained traction after Twitch Streamer Forsen started quoting from the Ugandan movie while playing PlayerUnknown’s BattleGrounds. After that, the combined meme has taken on a life of its own and has invaded VRChat. The phenomenon can be likened to the Habbo Hotel ‘Pool’s Closed’ raids conducted by 4chan’s /b/ a few years ago. It does not seem to have any particular goal other than to disrupt users.
Should the Meme be Banned?
Some VRchat users are petitioning for the banning of the Ugandan Knuckles meme. However, VRChat is unlikely to do so considering the how popular the program is now due to the meme. Plus, it usually just serves to embolden more trolls whenever they are banned from these activities.
For their part, VRChat has banned some users and promises to enforce banning of users who cross the line from harmless trolling to overly toxic. Unlike the Habbo Hotel incident, there are no clear racist messages since the trolls are simply quoting from the Ugandan movie. Watch the current meme in action from the video below:
Moreover, users have the ability to block others in case they find a member’s behaviour offensive anyway.