Back when it was a totally dope diss to say “don’t have a cow, man”, kids had a vocabulary full of pop culture. There was something magical about old video games’ vocal snippets. Because games had limited memory, and because we were dealing with cartridges and CDs instead of giant hard drive installs, sound bytes were short, succinct and hilarious.

My friends and I would dole out disses and exclamations based on video game sound bites. I wonder how many of these were common among your group of friends too! The best thing is that I’ve found that some old school video game phrases are totally still usable now that I’m a father…


Game: NBA Jam (1993)
System: Arcade, Genesis, Game Gear, SEGA CD, SNES, Game Boy
Usage: After jamming home some trash next to your unaware child.

Of course. NBA Jam was a game full of sound bites and quotables. And while “he’s on fire” was commonly thrown around by my friends, the more forceful exclamation was a gentle “BOOMSHAKALAKA” yelled into the ear of a friend who merely had the bad luck of standing next to a trash can while you had something to throw out. You’d throw down the trash so authoritatively that let’s face it, you should have looked into a career as a garbage man. Well, now you’re a parent, so part of your job is being a garbage man, so the next time you need to throw something out, do it with style and scream “BOOMSHAKALAKA!” Your kid will repeat it in no time.

Quote: “Rise from your grave”

Game: Altered Beast (1988)
System: Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Arcade, Atari ST, Commodore 64, DOS,Genesis, iPhone, MSX, NES, Nintendo 3DS, PlayStation 3, SEGA Master System, TurboGrafx-16, TurboGrafx CD, Wii, Windows,Xbox 360, Zodiac, ZX Spectrum
Usage: Waking someone up, getting folks to leave.

Summer was awesome because NO SCHOOL, and you got up every day at the buttcrack of 10am and played video games until your eyes bled. If you had friends in the neighborhood, apartment complex, or had your own phone line in your room (LUCKYYYY), then sometimes your mom would let your friends at you, in hopes that they could wake you up before lunch. My friend got out of summer school at 9:30am and instead of walking home, he’d walk to my apartment, throw a rock at my window and yell “RISE FROM YOUR GRAVE!” I’d give him the thumbs up from the window, let him in the front door, and then we’d play Street Fighter II and Galaga all day long. Life was super rad back then. Now, I’ve got a kid, and guess what? I need to get him up EVERY DAY for school. You know where this is headed.


Quote: “Warrior need food badly.”

Game: Gauntlet (1985)