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This entry is about the internet meme. For the Xbox Live Arcade and Wii videogames, see Pirates vs. Ninjas Dodgeball.
Pirates vs Ninjas
Artist Marcus Hadlock
Year 2009

Pirates vs. Ninjas is an internet meme regarding conflict between pirates and ninjas. It includes debate over whether pirates or ninjas are better and who would win in a fight.


In videogames

  • 1989 – Atari releases Skull & Crossbones, an arcade game which was later ported to home computers. The game allowed the players to play as pirates who would fight against ninjas.[1]
  • 1998 – Acquire releases Tenchu: Stealth Assassins, a Playstation game, which featured a level where the player must free a Japanese village from European pirates.
  • Unknown - Also a popular custom map game in Warcraft 3 The Frozen Throne, Pirates Vs Ninjas increased the popularity of the internet Meme.
  • 2008 – Gamecock releases Pirates Vs. Ninjas Dodgeball, in which pirates and ninjas (among other groups) are pitted against each other in games of dodgeball.[2]
  • 2008 – Volition releases Saints Row 2. In the "Fuzz" activity, the player poses as a police officer who is instructed to break up the "fight of the century" which turns out to be a conflict between pirates and ninjas.
  • 2008 – The Behemoth releases Castle Crashers. At one point in the game the player's boat is attacked by a pirate ship full of ninjas.
  • 2009 – Platinum Games releases MadWorld. The game has a level in which the player fights ninjas. In this level, the player can pick up a Pirate's hat and throw it, and the ninjas will focus their attack on the hat instead of the player.
  • 2009 - Legends of Zork allows players to purchase limited-edition pirate and ninja avatars


  • Blizzard Entertainment's World of Warcraft feature an in-game item, called the Savory Deviate Delight, which turns player avatars into either pirates or ninjas.[3]
  • Three Rings Design released a series of ads for Puzzle Pirates which stated "Ninja free since 2006."[citation needed]
  • EA's game Battlefield Heroes features pirate clothing for the national army and ninja clothing for the royal army.
  • Furcadia has a sale every year on the Digo Market that involves people buying 'flags' or 'shurikens' that are displayed in their player descriptions. Whichever group got the most description tags sold would get a weeklong sale dedicated to them.
  • As part of the 2008 April Fool's Joke, Wizards announced a two-part Magic: The Gathering deck named "Duel Decks: Pirates vs. Ninjas", with each decklist comprising of various pirate- and ninja-based cards in the games' past.


Robert Hamburger's Real Ultimate Power website was one of the first internet appearances of the meme, in March 2002. Then, a popular flash animation that was influenced by Real Ultimate Power entitled How to Kill a Mockingbird,[4] a mockumentary about the book To Kill a Mockingbird, appeared in 2004, aiding in the online spread of the meme.[citation needed] The animation begins as a genuine description of the book, but quickly turns into a science-fiction fantasy, a significant part of which involves a battle of pirates and ninjas. Several competitive web sites and games based upon the ninjas vs. pirates theme later appeared, including and a popular viral Facebook application with millions of users.[5][6] The site allowed members to join either the ninja or pirate sides and compete for control of the site every week.[7] The website invited visitors to cast a vote for either the pirates or ninjas, and explain their reasons for the vote.[8]

The website makes a reference to this meme in their flash animation series Weebl and Bob where a character named "Chris the Ninja Pirate" holds both the characteristics of a ninja and a pirate thus creating an "ultimate warrior".[citation needed]

The website MLIA has frequent debates about pirates versus ninjas through posting.

The forum for the UK domain of MMORPG Travian hosted a bi-annual event, to commemerate Pirate day and Ninja day, starting on Pirate Day 2009. This included battles between two forum user groups and unlockable userbars. (Forums)

On the website Neopets, when one edits their profile to choose their interests, two of the interests displayed are "Pirates" and "Wussy Ninjas", indicating a strong bias against Ninjas. [9]


The meme was included Scott Kurtz's PVP webcomic in June 2002, in a strip titled Ninja vs. Pirate.[10]

The webcomic The Adventures of Dr. McNinja was created by Chris Hastings. Issue 2 of this comic features a storyline based upon the war between Pirates and Ninjas.[11] The theme then follows on through other comics on the site.

A webcomic entitled PiratesVzNinjas was setup by Sam Shaw in early 2008.[citation needed]

Antarctic Press has produced a series of comics titled Pirates Vs. Ninjas which have a pirate crew taking on a ninja clan for the weapons of ancient gods.[citation needed] This was followed by a sequel called Up The Ante, plus an annual and several one-shot specials like Global Harming, Debate in '08, and Ghost Pirates Vs. Ghost Ninjas.[citation needed]

A webcomic entitled chaospet created by Ryan Lake recently featured, on September 14 2009, a character called Captain Ninja - a pirate and a ninja rolled into one. [12]

Another webcomic, established early 2009 by 'The Owl,' features random skits as well as a canonical storyline about this meme.[13]


External links

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