Knack was a Playstation 4 launch game and it wasn’t great. If you don’t get why Knack 2 is a persistent internet joke, that’s it. The entire joke is that Knack wasn’t much fun, and somehow there’s a Knack II. Turns out the sequel is actually pretty okay, and maybe even kind of fun. All that means for internet denizens is more Knack II jokes.
Knack was a passion project for game designer Mark Cerny, who was the lead architect behind the Playstation 4. It is a puzzle-platformer kids’ game that didn’t grab many people. Instead of being a flash in the pan, during the launch of the Playstation 4 people waiting for games to come out on the platform would pretend that Knack was not only a good game, but a great game. Game of the year, even. This was popularized, if not outright started, by YouTuber Videogame Dunkey, who made a lot of cracks about the original Knack in his very funny video, “History of Gaming.”
When Knack II was announced during E3 in 2016, Dunkey also made this sarcastic tribute to the completely unexpected sequel this unremarkable game was apparently getting.
The clarion call of “Knack II, baby,” has persisted. Look at virtually any video about Knack II on YouTube and you’ll find comments sections that look like this:
In the lead up to Knack II, which was released yesterday, these jokes got more frequent, especially because it shared a release date with a sequel people are pretty excited for, Destiny 2. The funniest part is, Knack II is apparently kind of good. It has a 71 on Metacritic, compared to the first Knack’s 54, and Kotaku editor in chief Stephen Totilo liked it. This doesn’t mean the internet has stopped joking about the game. If anything, Knack II being good has made the joke funnier. For some, I guess that ironically looking forward to the game has made them actually invested in it.
The most confusing part of all this is I basically don’t have a clue which people are ironically excited for Knack II, and which ones aren’t. Maybe I’m actually getting played here and everyone’s excited for it. The irony has come full circle. Knack is back, baby.
Correction—4:06pm: This article has been updated to more accurately reflect Dunkey’s impact on the Knack II meme. Knack II, baby!