Stop Right There, Criminal Scum

Meaning

What does Stop Right There, Criminal Scum mean?

Stop right there, criminal scum refers to a popular quote taken from the Bethesda Studios fantasy title The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion.

It is uttered by the guards of the game, whenever the player commits a crime.

The various lines of the guards had spawned a series of memes, which include “stop right there, criminal scum” or stop, you’ve violated the law.

These are used online as a way of calling out on someone who’s broken the rules, similar to the Wait, That’s Illegal format.

“Stop right there criminal scum!” : A Gamer’s Tale to Celebrate 10 Glorious Years

Origin

What's the origin of Stop Right There, Criminal Scum?

The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion was released in North America on March 20th, 2006.

Guards in the game would often confront the player if he or she committed a criminal atrocity, and their dialogue lines would become a popular reference.

Memes would be created by these lines already in 2007, spawning YouTube parodies, such as The Imperial Guard Song.

Spread & Usage

How did Stop Right There, Criminal Scum spread?

The guard lines would be often parodied and referenced in later years, from sites like Reddit to Urban Dictionary and Tumblr.

“Stop right there, criminal scum” had also spawned an interruption-type bait-and-switch meme format, where people are shown erotic content, only to be confronted by an imperial guard.

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