"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.
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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