Five years ago, the Press F to Pay Respects meme was born

More than its futuristic soldiers or Kevin Spacey’s outstanding delivery as a multidimensional villain, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare will always be remembered for its Press F to Pay Respects meme. This unsuspecting mechanic was suddenly picked on by most Call of Duty players, spreading like wildfire and turning into of the most popular video game memes of all time.

Anywhere you look on the internet for something that has gone wrong, such as a game that was canceled or someone who went through some sort of tragedy, the letter “F” is probably close by. This means that respects have been paid in Call of Duty style.

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Today, November 4, is Advanced Warfare’s fifth anniversary. When Activision and Sledgehammer created this game, they surely wouldn’t expect that such an irrelevant feature would become the game’s best marketing ploy. But it did, and the proof is right in this Reddit thread where thousands of gamers, fans of Call of Duty or otherwise, are acknowledging its important role in video game history. And pressing “F” left and right, because the occasion deserves it.

The outrageously funny Press F to Pay Respects meme was born from a sad scene in Advanced Warfare. It’s a touching funeral where many soldiers are paying their respect to their fallen comrade, with Kevin Spacey’s Jonathan Irons attending the scene as well. Suddenly, it’s up to you, Private Jack Mitchell, to do the same, as the “Press F to pay respects” prompt pops up. You do, and the rest is history.

Press F to Pay Respects meme Kevin Spacey

Obviously, if you are playing Advanced Warfare on a console, the meme turns into Press X to pay respects, which doesn’t change its nature; it remains as an unnecessary and forced element of interactivity that has absolutely no place in such an occasion.

After five years, most players are aware of the meme, but not all of them know its origin story, as one Reddit user states on the above thread: “For the last several years, I wondered why in the world people randomly typed F on Reddit. I was too lazy to search because I felt it would be something stupid. Today, the mystery was solved and I was right about it being something stupid.” No truer words have been spoken.