Tag Archives: skill

Acquire Proficiency: The attitude of “Git Gud”

Main Performance:

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.

My Thoughts:

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.

“In bocca al lupo” – Italian Idiomatic Phrase

Description of Informant

AG (18) is an Italian-American dual citizen and high school student from Berkeley, CA. At home, she speaks primarily Italian, and spends her summers in Italy.



Original Text: In bocca al lupo.

Phonetic: N/A

Transliteration: Into the mouth of the wolf.

Free Translation: [See Collector’s Reflection]

Responses: (1) Che crepi. (2) Crepi il lupo! (3) Crepi.

Context of Use

The idiomatic phrase is the Italian equivalent of “break a leg.” However, unlike its English counterpart, in bocca al lupo solicits a response, which may be delivered in several different ways. The phrase is used in place of “good luck” when one is entering a situation they have prepared for (e.g. performance, interview, examination, etc.)— rather than luck, you are wishing someone skill.

Context of Interview

The informant, AG, sits in the kitchen with her father and the collector, BK, her step-brother. Text spoken in Italian is italicized, but not translated.


BK: So tell me about the saying.

AG: Umm so basically when someone has an event, or a test they need to take. Instead of saying “good luck,” which is buena fortuna, in Italy you would say “in bocca al lupo.” Which is, literally translated, “in the mouth of the wolf.” And I don’t know if it has something to do with, like, Little Red Riding Hood or wherever they got it from. But then, the person taking the test, or who got good luck’ed, they respond “che crepi.” Which means like, uhh, how would you translate che crepi? Like, “I hope he dies” or “that he dies”…

BK: Who is “he”?

AG: The wolf. Yeah, that the wolf dies. It’s not super translatable.

BK: What is the appropriate context for this phrase?

AG: I think anytime someone in English would say “break a leg.” Like if I have a dance performance, my mom wouldn’t say “good luck” because it’s not luck for me, I don’t need luck to succeed, I need, you know, to do well, myself. And so she would say “in bocca al lupo” instead.

Collector’s Reflection

Into the mouth of the wolf represents plunging into danger. Often, though, this does not mean physical or life-threatening danger. In the expression’s day-to-day use, danger means the risk of failing a social performance (e.g. interview, recital, examination). The response of crepi indicates the receiver’s acceptance of the wish of strong performance, and their own hopes of success. Killing the wolf is overcoming the obstacle/challenge successfully.

The strong distinction between a wish of luck versus a wish of skill is fascinating. Luck, for Italians, is reserved for moments where circumstances are out of one’s hands (e.g. acts of God). Skill is up to the individual and their preparation. In English, you will often hear the skill-based equivalent, “break a leg,” spoken in the same breath as “good luck.” Though English speakers may understand the difference between luck and skill, their idioms conflate the concepts, while Italian speakers are very strict in their separation.