Where Does ‘Press F To Pay Respects’ Come From? – (The Origin)

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press f to pay respects Origin

If you have been on the internet for long enough, then it is safe to say that you are aware of what Press F To Pay Respects is, and if you do not know what it is, then you at least have heard about it or have some degree of information about it. Simply put, we have all been there, and we have all seen it somewhere.

To give you some context, let’s reminds you of another similar but darker phrase, “Remember, No Russian.”. Jogs your memory? Yes, this is from Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, and Press F to Pay Respects is also from Call of Duty, but this one comes from a later installment called Advanced Warfare.

But how exactly did a simple line managed to become a cult classic and turned itself into a meme that simply refused to die? Well, that is what we are going to start exploring here.


Origin Of ‘Press F To Pay Respects’


Around us, you would find intentional things, and you would find things that end up happening, to begin with. The whole idea behind Press F to Pay Respects was nothing more than a quick time event in a game. Now it is an international meme sensation and has been going on for almost 7 years.

This all started back when Activision decided to release Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare in 2014. The game brought a laundry list of features that were normally associated with Call of Duty games, including an over the top campaign, multi-player, as well as zombies.

Call of duty advanced warfare Cover

As the name suggests, the game was set in the future. How far, you ask?

Well, Advanced Warfare took place in 2054 and allowed you to step into the shoes of United States Marine Corps Private First Class Jack Mitchell, and your role in the game was to fight off North Korean invaders, along with a terrorist organization that was hell-bent on destroying whatever steps in their way.

So, where does the meme come from? Well, sadly, it also has a darker origin to it. You see, during the end of the first mission, Mitchell’s best friend, Private Will Irons, is killed in action.

Death scene of Will Irons in COD AW

This happens when he gets his arm stuck in a vehicle that is about to be blown up, and while Mitchell is trying to save his best friend, Irons pushes him away before the vehicle goes up in flames, also taking Michell’s left arm in the process.

After you are done with the first mission of the story, you are attending Iron’s funeral, and during that cut scene, the game asks you to press a button to pay respects to your fallen brother in arms.

That being said, in the PC version of Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, you have to press the F key, which means that the screen shows a “Press F to Pay Respects” notification.

The scene was heavily criticized all around the internet, but the meme and content creators managed to make use of it in drawing comics, in parody videos, as well as memes. Giving what could have been a very simple button prompt a legendary status in the eyes of the internet.


What Does “Press F to Pay Respects’ Mean?


We have already discussed the origins of this meme, or well, a cut scene, as it used to be. But what exactly does it mean, in the first place?

Well, the thing with this meme is that the game developers only had the intention to put it in the game so you can show your signs of respect to your fallen brother in arms.

Image of COD AW Gameplay

However, the scene was criticized by creators and gamers alike, and after that, it became a cult classic. But for the longest time, many people did not know what it meant.

This would appear on the YouTube comment section, as well as Twitch streams and even some of the live events. People were commenting on this under Facebook posts, and it was all over the internet.

After going over this simple line repeatedly, the internet just unanimously decided that it meant that if someone goes through something bad, you have to say “Press F to Pay Respects”.

F in Reddits Commens

You just had a breakup? The gamer friends used this meme. Your PC or your console is not turning on? Yep, you guessed it, this has to be used.

Even Corsair made a GIF out of it, showing that they are repeatedly pressing the F key on one of their keyboards. As I said, this meme was everywhere, it has been 7 years, and it still does not die down.

Soon after the hype, people started using it in a wider manner. Do you want to show your friends respect for something brave they did? Yep, Press F. Just beat the Dark Souls without dying or breaking a controller? You deserve the applause.

Soon after that, even people who never played the game started using the same phrase, and it has almost been 7 years, and it’s not coming slow still.

Every time you expect that it is no longer in place, you hear someone using it. Heck, even console gamers have started using it, and the console version of Advanced Warfare had a different prompt altogether.


The Meme “Press ‘F’ to Pay Respects“


So, now that we know where the phrase comes from and what it means. But how exactly did it turn into a meme in the first place?

Well, it started back in November of 2014 when a video of this sequence was uploaded on YouTube, the game was then featured on Conan O’Brien’s Clueless Gamer, where he criticized this aspect of the game.

Clueless Gamer Conan Reviews Advanced Warfare
@Team Coco – Youtube

From that point, it was all over Reddit, as well as YouTube, with people asking what it means to people criticizing it as well as creating parodies about it, and it just would not come to a halt.

Another funny thing about this phrase is that it was a last-minute addition in the game, and the screenwriter has even talked about how having control over everything was difficult due to how massive the game was.

Funnily enough, the screenwriter just added the line in the game, and that was it. He did not even know that this had become a meme until he was told by a journalist, and he was honestly surprised about how something so little can end up becoming a meme.

people commenting f to pay respects

Ever since that, there have been several derivatives to this meme. Twitch adapted it, and people started using “F in the chat” or “leave an F in the chat” The phrase was attached to grief, sorrow, and failure, and we see a lot of fails on the Twitch, so every time something would happen during the stream, the spectators would start spamming the chat with F.

But it does not end just there, this has appeared in chats, YouTube comments, personal messages, Instagram posts, Twitch streams, videogame parodies, Twitter feuds, and all over the world.

Honestly, at this point, we only know the origin of this meme and how it becomes a meme. As far as knowing the spread of it is concerned, that is an impossible and strenuous task.


How Did F Become Popular In Online Culture?


Again, we have to understand that this started from a game that was primarily going to market its online multiplayer. Call of Duty games has long forgotten about the intensity of their single-player campaign as players want to engage against other players and take them down instead of playing through a campaign.

Press F To Pay Respects Scene in AW

Even though the “Press F to Pay Respects” was a part of a single-player campaign, it rarely saw its use in any single-player game as far as I remember.

Most people started using it in online games; everything ranging from leaving F in the chat to comment sections and whatnot.

The thing with the popularity and Internet back in the day was that you would never really understand when something goes viral until it is all over the place. The same was the case with this phrase.

One day the screenwriter decided to add it to the game as a last-minute thing, and the next day, you realize that it is all over the internet.

Tracing the exact origins are a bit hard because it is the internet we are talking about, and back in 2014, there were 2,956,385,569 internet users. Yes, that is a big number, you can do the math yourself.

Still, to this day, the meme and the phrase lives on, and every time we are almost on the verge of it

Now that we think about it, there is nothing wrong with it too. Look, whatever started as just a meme or a mistake or a last-minute decision has become synonymous with gamers around the world. It is but another way of connecting them and bringing them together.

Imagine two people wearing the “Press F to Pay Respects” shirt in the public, and they cross each other. They might not know each other at all, but if they look at the shirts they are wearing, it will be a subtle nod to the harmony and the belongingness that gaming has brought. It is the perfect smile and nod moment for both of them.


What About The Game?


Now that we have extensively talked about the meme, how it started, and how it is being used, it is time to pay some attention to the game, as well.

Advanced Warfare Gameplay Demo Image

For those who do not know, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare released back in 2014, and it was the 11th major installment in the series. Developed by Sledgehammer Games, the game was available on all the main platforms to back them.

However, Advanced Warfare was the first game that was made primarily by Sledgehammer games. Another thing about Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare was the fact that this was one of the first Call of Duty games that introduced more futuristic weapons as well as an Exo Skeleton suit.

The game even featured motion-captured Kevin Spacey as well, and this managed to bring a lot of good attention towards the game thanks to Spacey’s gargantuan presence.

Image of Kevin Spacey in Call Of Duty

The game was truly futuristic, and it was a risk for the developers, too. Thankfully, the changes did pay off as Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare received generally favorable critics, and the game was praised for having engaging combat, and great level designs as well. Needless to say, this game is still considered one of the best Call of Duty games.


In Case You Want to Pay Some Respects?


Yes, this is a funny thing, to be honest. When we mention this, you might find yourself in a situation where you are wondering whether you should be using this line or not. Well, there is nothing wrong with it. You can just go ahead and pay respect the way you want to do so.

You can go ahead and use the original phrase that is “Press F to Pay Respects” or you can drop the F in the chat, or you can just leave the F in the comment section.

The point that I am trying to get across here is that paying respects to the game is completely up to you. However, if you do it to someone who does not know much about the game, they might give you a strange look.

However, considering the popularity of the game, I highly doubt it is going to happen, in the first place.

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Final Verdict:

Internet is a wonderful, wonderful place. When it first appeared back in 2014, no one had the slightest idea that “Press F to pay respects” is going to become a meme and develop an almost cult-like following, but here we are, 7 years ago, still talking about it. This is what I would consider a legendary meme and something that is going to live in the books of history forever.


Frequently Asked Questions

#1 – Why is it press F to pay respects?

The reason why it is Press F to pay respects is that on PC, the default key that was assigned for this action was F, and therefore, it became press F to pay respects on PC. Whereas it was X on the console, but it never managed to get the same traction.

#2 – What does press F in the chat mean?

Pressing F in the chat or dropping F in a chat means that you are either showing respect or you are showing grief. If someone has done something greater, then you show your respect, but if they have died in the game, then you show grief.

#3 – Why do gamers say F?

Gamers say F to pay respect, I know it sounds strange but all of it started from Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, and ended up becoming a worldwide meme and a sensation. So now, gamers say F because they want to pay respects, it is a meme, and nothing more than that.

#4 – Is saying F disrespectful?

No, not at all. Saying F is not disrespectful at all. This started as a lighthearted meme, and ever since that, it ended up becoming one. You can just go ahead and use it, but considering how gamers are loyal to their memes, it is better to be aware of the context.

#5 – What does F mean when someone dies?

Honestly, it does not hold any other meaning aside from the fact that the person saying F is paying their respects. That was the way it was in the game, but over the past couple of years, there have been multiple renditions or derivatives, and even meanings behind that.

#6 – Where did the press F to pay respects come from?

The “Press F to pay respects” showed up in Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare back in 2014, and ever since that, it has become a hit sensation and has been used all over the world.

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