Dark Web is a new series exploring some of the weirdest facets of internet culture. This week, we’re taking a look at the ‘cursed image’ Obunga...
In 2008, the image of Barack Obama became synonymous with hope and optimism thanks to the now-iconic posters from American artist Shepard Fairey.
There in bold block colours, the vision of the young Democrat candidate was one of prosperity and optimism, signalling the beginning of a new era for American politics.
But, just as no-one could have predicted the direction Donald Trump and the far right would take the US in the years that followed Obama’s two terms in office, no-one could have predicted back in 2008 that a warped, photoshopped portrait of incoming President Obama would go on to become one of the most cursed images on the internet more than a decade later.
That image, for the uninitiated, is known as Obunga, and it’s completely terrifying.
Not seen 'Obunga' before? You won't forget it in a hurryTwitter
Like most memes, its origin remains a mystery.
There’s not much info out there on when, why or who it was created by. But it was purportedly first made to resemble characters from the Terra Formars manga, and it popped up for the first time on the 4chan board /tv/ (television) back in the summer of 2013.
The uncanny nature of the images, horrifically warped from a picture of one of the most recognisable people on the planet struck a horrifying chord with some people and it was proliferated around the corners of the internet for a number of years.
It never became a widespread meme though until it was covered in a video from PewDiePie made back in 2018, which has racked up more than 5.6million views.
The internet watched as the hugely popular YouTuber discussed it, but it wasn’t until a few years later that the meme gained a new lease of life as part of the NextBot Chase Garry's Mod game.
This is where the cursed image really came into its own. The game involves players running around a map being followed by various things. There are videos of gamers being chased by everything from pictures of dogs to killer versions of Sesame Street’s Elmo.
It’s and the tensest of all are the clips on YouTube which feature Obunga chasing after petrified gamers, which never fail to get the heart rate going.
Obunga has also been incorporated into the third-person shooter game Tower Battles: Battlefront, and we don’t think it’ll belong before this bizarre meme is making its mark across more corners of the internet soon.
Even after these games, there was still a huge amount of mysticism surrounding the meme, which adds to its terrifying nature. As far as cursed images on the web go, though, it’s been embraced by the gaming community far more than most.
Who knows where it will pop up and terrify us all next.
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