How Call of Duty inspired the internet's most sarcastic show of support

"Press F to pay respects."


If you’ve spent any time on Twitch, you’ve probably seen it: the streamer screws up and suddenly chat is full of the letter F.

It even happened to AOC when she had technical difficulties during a recent stream discussing GameStop stock trading.

It may seem nonsensical, but the story of its origin is actually quite simple.
In 2014, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare began with the death of your character’s best friend.
At his funeral, players on PC were told to “Press F to Pay Respects.”

Immediately after the game’s release, countless articles and videos popped up to mock the absurdity of boiling down grief over a loved one to a simple button press. Conan O'Brien even got in on the fun.

Clueless Gamer

At the time, L.A. Noire’s “press X to doubt” and Homefront’s “press E to jump in mass grave” prompts had already been criticized.

But "Press F to Pay Respects" stuck, partly because it was so widely reported on and partly because of the sheer strangeness of tying an emotional response to a button prompt.

Pressing F became a universal sign of empathy for gamers in on the joke, who seem to use it sincerely and ironically in equal measure.

Now, Twitch chats fill with Fs when a character dies onscreen, a streamer knocks over their mic, or a real tragedy occurs, and the line between consolation and mockery is often unclear.

When it's not being used to troll, the F in chat does offer a genuine way to show support, and it all came from an awkward video game funeral.

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