VRChat is a free to play game where players can essentially mess around, explore, and talk with other users from around the world in VR. The catch is that players can basically assume the image of any character or creature as long as the 3D model has been created for them.
While this can often lead to some bizarre and hilarious interactions, one such model has recently come under fire. Dubbed “Ugandan Knuckles” this meme has swept through VRChat like a wildfire. Despite its popularity with this game, Ugandan Knuckles actually came from Youtube.
In a video by Youtuber Gregzilla titled “KINDA REVIEWS // Sonic Lost World,” the first known appearance of Ugandan Knuckles’ visual design arrived. Appearing in the video was a deformed version of the popular Sonic character, Knuckles. This gave birth to a new set of videos on Youtube called “Knuckles’ Sings,” where this weird caricature sings popular or random songs. These videos exploded in popularity with many receiving thousands upon thousands of views and one even obtaining 2.5 million views.
The first known 3D model of this cartoonish Knuckles appeared in September 2017 on DeviantArt thanks to user tidiestflyer. While the game VRChat has existed since February 1, 2017, this version of Knuckles has only recently gained massive popularity. Players using this character drew inspiration from a Ugandan action film called Who Killed Captain Alex. Some of this is thanks to Youtuber Stahlsby who uploaded a video titled You Do Not Know The Way. The three-minute video consists of various hordes of Ugandan Knuckles running up to players and asking them variations of “Do you know the way?” Think of it like a flash mob, except instead of awkward dancing they are just pestering players while using African accents.
Now if you log on VRChat you’d be surprised not to stumble across a horde of players using this character model. Since its takeover of VRChat, there has been a mixed reception to this meme, with some finding it harmless and others simply obnoxious. The creator of the 3D model of Ugandan Knuckles released a post asking users to not bother VRChat users with this meme.
Please do not use this to bug the users of Vrchat. Its community means a lot to me and it would hurt me to see the rights of other users taken away and possibly restricted because of how out of hand it can get. Showing off their creativity and what they are capable of. For me….. I’m in college and don’t have a lot of time to get on like I would like to anymore… I remember making this and thinking… Well it could be funny to show off to my friends and possibly mess with users. But I’ve learned what kind of things I’m really capable of making. Its always fun to be the one with models no one else has access to. Because I can make anything that I want to be. Its like….. Its like that special place for me. To get away from the real world and be someone I’m not….. But right now. Vrchat has become a meme ground and I feel I have helped to dig a grave for Vrchat. Soon enough people are gunna get tired of all the memes that now pollute the servers. And with 500 people trying to just enjoy an event, they cant because there just isnt enough moderation to hold down the rampant amounts of memers. So please…. Think about the users that you’re playing with. Before they are all gone… Don’t let it be a second Second Life.
However, after this post was released it was subsequently taken down by tidiestflyer. Publication Polygon stated that the meme was “blatantly racist” and developer VRChat Inc. released a post on Reddit that condemned any hatred or negative behavior in their game. However, it’s not clear if this was in regards to the explosion of Ugandan Knuckles users or not. You can also find users on social media that calling the meme and videos around it racist.
On the other the hand, many players claim to not find the meme offensive and have taken to Twitter to voice their thoughts. The creators of Who Killed Captain Alex also seem fine with the Ugandan Knuckles meme. You currently can find dozens of comments that have been retweeted by the Wakaliwood Twitter that support Ugandan Knuckles.
What will come of Ugandan Knuckles has yet to be seen, but it certainly is spreading through the gaming community at a rapid pace. For better or worse this meme doesn’t appear to be going anywhere and has become a staple of experiencing VRChat.
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