Urlesque counts down the top 100 viral videos in the history of the web.
star wars kidUnlike others on our countdown, Ghyslain Raza, or most commonly known as 'Star Wars Kid', never set out to be iconic or internet famous. While in his high school's studio in 2002, Raza filmed himself renacting Star Wars-style fighting moves using a golf ball retreiver as his trusty lightsaber. Several months later, a "friend" found the video and, as a joke, uploaded it to popular peer-to-peer file sharing site, Kazaa. Within days the video spread like wildfire, was widely remixed and adapted -- visual effects, lightsaber noises, you name it -- and the rest is history.


Popular blogger and data cruncher, Andy Baio at Waxy.org found and hosted the video on his website in 2003 (You have him to thank for the 'Star Wars Kid' name). After the video racked up over 1 million downloads (remember, pre-YouTube) from Baio's servers alone, he set out on a personal mission to track down the Star Wars Kid. What he found was an extremely shy and embarrassed Raza who admitted in an interview that the video's upload to the web "was a mistake... The cassette was left in the studio and someone put it on the Internet" and left their conversation very short. Baio continued to respectfully report on the meme's traction, and he and his readership even banded together to buy Raza an iPod for his time and cooperation.



Raza's family sued his peers and their parents for the "harassment and derision" he endured as a result of the video's upload, and they settled out of court. Since, Raza has managed to stay out of the limelight despite the ongoing life, parodies and media coverage that the Star Wars Kid video continues to receive.

In an effort to offer insight on how viral videos, memes and phenomena are distributed and spread on the web, in 2008, Baio released an impressively detailed "data dump" of his server logs, timeline of press coverage, and more information from the hey-day of the video's popularity.

So why #1, you ask? To us, Star Wars Kid single-handedly represents a new era -- the Internet, mobile, citizen journalist era -- where technology, for better or worse, easily allows for our private moments to be made available for the world to see. Where anyone can be famous, whether they intend to be or not.

It's been nearly six years since the video's upload and yet it still continues to stay relevant and rack up views. Why does Star Wars Kid resonate even now? We asked the expert, Andy Baio, to reflect on the video, the meme, and his data. But the answer? It's very simple.
Because we're all the Star Wars Kid. We've all been there, awkward and goofy, showing off our moves in front of the mirror... We just didn't leave the tape in the camcorder.



The commenters have spoken! See the 14 Forgotten Videos that we missed on our list!