Every once in a while, there comes along an unassuming exercise in silliness that sweeps the internet by storm.
Such is the story of Nyan Cat.
Nyan Cat’s origins were humble: he started his life as Pop Tart Cat, an 8-bit animation of a flying toaster pastry with a cat’s head and rainbows shooting out from his behind, which appeared on the website LOL-COMICS.
Three days later,a YouTube member named saraj00n posted a video titled Nyan Cat, which set the Pop Tart Cat animation to “Nyanyanyanyanyanyanya,” a song by Japanese artist daniwellP. And prguitarman, Pop Tart Cat’s creator, watched as his odd little animation gave birth to an internet meme: the Nyan Cat video was viewed more than a million times in the next two weeks.
On May 29, Nyan Cat really hit the bigtime. When a group of hackers known as LulzSec broke into the PBS website, they left a trail of Nyan Cat graffiti in their wake.
Once a meme hits the mainstream consciousness, it reaches a point where it has two options: It gets “done to death” by countless mediocre imitations (such was the fate of memes like Ceiling Cat and LOLspeak), or it takes off at warp speed to Planet Awesome.
Frankly, I’m not sure what direction Nyan Cat is going to take, because now the Cult of Nyan has spawned an outpouring of national pride from all around the world. It began with the appearance of two American Nyan Cat animations (here’s one, and here’s the other) around Independence Day. On Monday, the Geekosystem blog rounded up a collection of Nyan Cats from around the world that were created by other memesters who couldn’t let the Americans have all the Nyan to themselves.
A couple of my favorites are Mexican Nyan Cat:
…and Russian Nyan Cat:
If you’re as big a nerd as I am and you want to learn more about Nyan Cat, go check out Know Your Meme.