How Heroes of the Storm Became a Korean Nationwide Meme

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Heroes of the Storm has become a nationwide meme in Korea.


The Extent

Below is the official teaser image for last week’s broadcast of MBC’s “My Little Television”, an extremely popular primetime entertainment program that has recently taken the nation by storm. MBC being the second largest broadcasting corporation in Korea, My Little Television pulls in at least a few million viewers every week. The program does not have anything to do with Heroes of the Storm or even gaming in general.

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Below is a screen capture from last week’s actual broadcast. Again, it had nothing to do with Heroes of the Storm; the producer was just sneaking in a quick meme.

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For such an obscure reference to star on primetime television, albeit on an entertainment program mainly targeted at the young adult population, it is easy to imagine how wildly it must have trended on the internet. This came to be by the efforts of the Restaurance – a portmanteau composed of ‘High-End Restaurant’ and ‘La Résistance’ that became the unofficial moniker for the group of internet anons spreading the Heroes love.


The Origins

‘High-End Restaurant’ comes from an infamous snobbish comment where one member of a large Korean gaming community brought widespread ridicule upon himself. Extolling Heroes of the Storm as fine adult dining whilst looking down upon League of Legends players as rowdy juveniles at Chuck E. Cheese’s was guaranteed to bring about some fire. The elitist metaphor was derided for months until it eventually settled into ambiguity – now calling Heroes of the Storm as a high-end restaurant can be either cheerful humor or leftover vitriol, depending on the context.

‘La Résistance’ came by primarily as phonetic oil on the hinge (résistance melds nicely with restaurant), but it also doubles as a surprisingly witty comparison. The Restaurance is also a small underground troop dreaming of overthrowing the powers that be through a revolution… in which Heroes of the Storm overtakes League of Legends as Korea’s most popular game. Not very realistic, obviously, so most are willing to settle for less.

As already shown at the very top of this article, Restaurance also has an unofficial logo – a very neat portmanteau image bringing together the Anonymous emblem, a toque, and the hexagonal Heroes of the Storm crest.

The Restaurance was ‘founded’ in late March. How exactly it came to spread like wildfire is discussed in this article.


The Tactics

The Restaurance primarily operates through elaborately set up rickrolls. The entire point of a Restaurance joke is to take the reader off guard with a juicy and irrelevant distraction, then victoriously slam down a Heroes of the Storm reference when least expected. As ordinary websurfers became familiar with the more obvious Restaurance rickrolls and started sniffing them out with ease, the Restaurance evolved and adapted.

Their more intricate works include:

  • A transcript of a National Geographic documentary about time and space with ten pages of genuine text and footage leading into a Heroes of the Storm invitation.
  • A Gaster breakthrough shown through thirty ‘new’ painstakingly photoshopped Undertale screenshots ending up to be a Heroes of the Storm invitation.
  • A charming, romantic teenage cartoon ending with the girl asking the boy out… not to go on a date, but to play Heroes of the Storm together.
  • A Youtube video seeming to be actual leaked footage from Riot Games Korea suddenly transitioning to an English Heroes of the Storm invitation… written through Google Translate… read by a hilariously crude text-to-speech program… over a video of a talking Guy Fawkes mask from V for Vendetta.

The Future

The month and a half of nonstop Restaurance rickrolls all over the Korean web has started to catch the ire of many ordinary websurfers; and having pulled off what honestly could be the most successful internet ‘marketing’ ploy in Korean history, the Restaurance are also willing and agreeing to tone it down. Memes may never die but they do go out of fashion fast. Having shattered all expectations and peaked with a primetime television debut, it is all but certain that the revolution will start winding down shortly, at least as of now.


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2 thoughts on “How Heroes of the Storm Became a Korean Nationwide Meme

  1. As far as I know the reference to high-end restaurant is derived from long queue time for a match in the game(food takes long time to be prepared in such restaurant). LOL therefore named “street food vendor(분식집)” for fast matchup time.

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