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The Origins of “F in the chat”

If you’ve been regularly using the internet for the past seven years, you’ve probably come across a number of Fs in chat rooms and comment sections. Getting some “Fs in the chat” is meant to be used sarcastically whenever somebody dies (either in fiction or in real life) or when someone is embarrassed enough to wish that they were dead. 

Courtesy of Konami

The genesis of the “F in the chat” meme comes from the popular 2014 game Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. This was the eleventh major installment in the legendary first-person shooter action series and was the first in the franchise which set its entire gameplay in the future. The game took some cues from the near-future technology of Call of Duty: Black Ops II and expanded on it. The game also featured Kevin Spacey, an actor who went from being on the celebrity A-list to being on a watchlist. 

In Advanced Warfare, you play as a soldier of the United States Marine Corps named Jack Mitchell in the years 2054-2061. The start of the game’s campaign throws you right into the action, as you are on a mission to stop the invasion of Seoul, South Korea by the North Korean forces. During the firefight, Jack loses his arm and witnesses the brutal death of his compadre, Private William Irons.

The opening scene of the second mission takes you directly to Will’s funeral. An array of grieving soldiers and Kevin Spacey surround the casket in order to individually pay their respects. Then, the game tells you to pay your respects… by pressing F. 

If you’re playing the game on PC, the action prompt shows up as “Press F to Pay Respects,” while on console it will read “Press X to Pay Respects.” This odd quicktime event in the game generated parody on many popular platforms like YouTube and Reddit. A popular mockery of the funeral scene was made by Conan O’Brien on his Late Night show’s viral segment called Clueless Gamer. After pressing the “Pay Respects” button, he pilots Jack to stand in front of Will’s grieving wife and jokes “Is there a button that says ‘Well, I guess you’re single now?’”

Since the release of Advanced Warfare in 2014, “F in the chat” has become a meme which has transcended the gaming community and flooded chat rooms and comment sections on various social media sites. It has become a staple of the online community and it doesn’t look to be ‘dying out’ anytime soon. 

This article is dedicated to the memory of Private William “Will” Irons, who gave his life in the 2054 war against North Korea. We are saddened that Kevin Spacey got to live longer than you.

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