In 2009 a videogame called Demon’s Souls was released on the Playstation 3 and its relatively unforgiving difficulty made it a surprise hit with the gaming community worldwide. A sequel was promptly made in 2011, Dark Souls, and it launched the “Souls” series’ popularity skyrocketing, with the game’s difficulty being put front and center for the masses to challenge themselves against the experience. The series still continues to this day, the latest release being Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice in 2019 which went on to win Game of the Year despite many complaints about it being “too hard”.
The important stuff begins here, as difficulty is apparently relative and many people playing these games definitely struggled, but with different parts. Certain boss fights were easy to some, impossible for others, and the differences in these opinions led to many arguments and name-calling online, jeering others for their apparent lack of skill. What was for sure though was that the game was definitely beatable and not impossible as many newcomers to the series would claim. To trivialize entire paragraphs of complaints online, a phrase would become adopted to shut down these walls of text with two simple words: “Git Gud”. A bastardized spelling of “Get Good”, it has become a popular and incredibly simple, rather dismissive command to simply become better at the game, lest they be given another insulting phrase such as “mad because bad”.
The informant, AK, is longtime friend of mine who I bonded with over videogames and other entertainment mediums. He is also incredibly well versed with deck-building in trading card games and particularly loves to be “annoying” type of player who is much more focused on entertaining himself than worrying about winning or losing. The Git Gud phrase as leaked into many other skill-based mediums be it card games, traditional video games, and any other competitive activity requiring strategy and good timing.
When memes were on the table for the project, I pondered with my friend over which were the ones that were most relevant to our own experiences and these were the results of our brainstorming.
The meme is very personal to me and my friend as these games in particular have been becoming less and less common. Difficulty in games is a point that I am heavily opinionated on and I firmly stand on the side that difficulty is an inherent game design choice and part of an experience is overcoming the obstacle and the fun comes from the satisfaction of beating it. While there are some merits to the arguments about unfair design or arbitrary difficulty, there definitely should be more scrutiny under which these sweeping generalizations are made for a given title. I am particularly against the wave of “casualization” that hopes to give accessibility for the sake of catering to the widest audience possible by watering down mechanics and difficulty for the sake of easier digestion. Dedication and investment into self-improvement, even digitally, should not be compromised or derided. While the phrase itself is dismissive, it mostly applies to those who have given up too quickly and are quicker to judge a game’s difficulty as a flaw on the game’s design than any personal shortcoming of their own.