Call: Chapters for “‘Git Gud’ and Other Stories: The Influence of Open Culture on Game Experiences”

Call for Book Chapters

“‘Git Gud’ and Other Stories: The Influence of Open Culture on Game Experiences”
Editors: Kevin Veale and Adam Jerrett

Submission deadline for abstracts: June 30, 2024

This is the first call for book chapters for a proposed edited collection on the cultural impact of games. Initial submission is via 500 word abstracts, due 30 June 2024 to


Cultures and discourses surrounding games can have an outsized impact on how people experience them. In Rules of Play: Game Design Fundamentals, Katie Salen and Eric Zimmerman discuss different forms of culture as ways of understanding how games relate to their broader context:

“For the purposes of game design, we understand ‘culture’ to refer to what exists outside the magic circle of the game, the environment or context within which a game takes place.” (Salen and Zimmerman 2004, 508)

They describe open cultural contexts as being where “the exchange of meaning between a game and its surrounding cultural context can change and transform both the game and its environment,” (Salen and Zimmerman 2004, 538). Mia Consalvo has explored the role of videogame paratexts – including both official material and fan works such as guides and wikis can become more central to the experience of videogames than the videogames themselves, and that videogame paratexts serve “pedagogical functions” (Consalvo 2007, 22). Souvik Mukherjee argues that games can be understood as assemblages, which cannot be properly understood without considering them as multifaceted, richly-fractal entities, deeply informed by the cultures and communities surrounding them.

As assemblages, they are games, stories, political and economic platforms, simulations and fitness trainers among other things; moreover, they also plug into all these aspects as well as to the human player and to the machine (literally) in an intrinsic relationship. The Grand Theft Auto walkthrough (…) can be said to plug into the GTA assemblage, which includes the entire series of games, the individual gameplays of the players, the cheat-codes, the geography of the American cities in which the games take place, the design elements and much more. It would be difficult to leave any of these separate elements out of any critique or appreciation of GTA V or GTA: San Andreas because of the multiplicity of narratives and related play experiences they bring together. (Mukherjee 2015, 17)

The discourses found within complexly-overlapping games communities have a significant influence on the assemblages that game texts become part of.  Games themselves set expectations for how players ‘should’ engage with them within their experiences, a process known as embodied literacies (Keogh 2018, 91) – expectations of the genre, format and content that can be carried between games and inform a player’s ludoliteracy (Davidson 2011).  As a result of this process, games often assume that a ‘new player’ is not entirely new to the medium, which frames assumptions around what they need to be taught as they play.

Discourses within game communities and cultures inform both how ludoliteracies develop, are framed, and understood. It examines how game preferences are formed, and why certain games may be more valued than others (Keogh 2018, 79).

“Git Gud” is one such phrase that exemplifies this evolving culture. It has been popularised within game communities and cultures, and is often used to valorise and defend difficult challenges – potentially ones that are intimidatingly difficult to overcome. Dark Souls (Miyazaki and From Software 2011) provides an example of how “Git Gud” and the discourses surrounding it as an idea can shape the experience of gameplay.  The first boss appears when the player’s character will not have a functional weapon, making attacking it almost futile, and there are cues to suggest the player should avoid fighting it as this stage and instead run past.  However, players who have been lead to expect an appropriately ruinously difficult challenge based on “Git Gud” discourse may miss (or misunderstand) the cues to avoid it, assume that the futility of fighting the boss is not a hint to try a different approach, and instead simply conclude the game is too difficult for them.

In this case, the evolving assemblage of culture and discussion surrounding Dark Souls can give a different impression and expectation to players than what games seek to do in isolation. Noah Caldwell-Gervais (Noah Caldwell-Gervais 2022) produced an extensive video essay exploring his own encounters with exactly the same problem.  He expected not to be able to succeed when playing because of not being “the correct kind” of player with the “right kind of skills.”  However, instead he found that Dark Souls offered a surprising number of tools designed to reveal alternate paths for how players might respond to its challenges and modify their experience of play – including by managing the level of challenge they desired.

Another assemblage which formed around Dark Souls, framing how it is experienced, is that players created a “meta” by examining its systems and determining which classes were easier to play than others, what builds might be most optimal and how to maximise various kinds of enjoyment. Dark Souls was no longer simply a collection of rules or an individual play experience. Now, playing Dark Souls can be driven by the culture that surrounds it.

The discourses found within complexly-overlapping games community have a significant influence on the assemblages that game texts become part of, setting expectations for how the experience is ‘intended’ to function.  This paratextual influence is powerful enough that it can subvert design features of the games themselves.

This volume will explore the outsized influence of community discourses on how games are experienced. This book invites chapter proposals that grapple with multifaceted ways that communities develop, discuss, read, and inform games and the cultures which form around them.

We can see these kinds of tensions in situations such as where game communities declare that using particular weapons, tools or abilities are “cheap,” “cheesy” or even “cheating,” despite their deliberate inclusion by game designers, or where these same designers, who include tools for mitigating or shaping the difficulty of an experience, are assumed to have ‘caved,’ abandoning their ‘true intentions.’


Themes may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Conflict between ‘official’ design as visible in affordances, features, weapons and tools built into games, versus the ‘proper’ experience as defined in discourse
  • Appealing to an imagined directorial/auteurial control as a mechanism for legitimising or delegitimising styles of play
  • ‘Cheating’ and ‘Fairness’ as a community construction in single-player and multiplayer games
  • Difficulty vs accessibility discourse
  • ‘Pay to win’ design as ‘officially endorsed cheating’
  • The evolution and mutation of ‘metas’ in competitive games
  • The voices who are ‘allowed’ to be a part of games discourse, and those who are ‘not’
  • What genres of games are more likely to be policed/gatekept by their communities for what is ‘proper’ play, what games and play styles ‘count,’ and why
  • The broader role of culture in informing game(s) assemblages and how they are read/experienced
  • The role of influencers, Let’s Play-ers, guide creators and wiki editors in shaping discourse within game assemblages.
  • The way that discourses of accepted play translate through platform specific fan cultures: how does the model on Discord differ from Reddit, etc, and how do the histories and affordances of those platforms determine it?
  • How games and communities afford ethnographic studies in research and experience
  • What individual play experiences look like, and how this contrasts to communal experiences or “optimal” experiences
  • The role of ‘metas’ in both reflecting and shaping how games are understood by the communities which form around them.
  • The communities and cultures surrounding non-digital games (e.g., board games and pervasive games)
  • Communities of game design, development, and criticism
  • The creation, influence, and use of platforms (e.g., Discord, Twitch, Youtube) in game communities
  • Communities and culture in games education
  • Formation and dynamics of ‘taste’ in games communities and cultures


Proposals should include the contributor’s/author’s name, a brief biography of 100-150 words, and an abstract of a maximum of 500 words (not counting citations). Citations should be in Chicago (author, date) format.

The editors will notify authors if their abstract is accepted, at which point the authors will be invited to submit a chapter between 4000-6000 words in length, excluding references.

Please send proposals to Questions can be posed directly to the editors.

Editors: Kevin Veale ( and Adam Jerrett (


  • Deadline for abstracts: 30 June 2024
  • Notices of acceptance expected early September 2024
  • Chapter submission due 20 December 2024
  • Estimated publication late 2025/early 2026


Consalvo, Mia. 2007. Cheating: Gaining Advantage in Videogames. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.

Davidson, Drew. 2011. “The Performance of Gameplay: Developing a Ludoliteracy.” Eludamos: Journal for Computer Game Culture 5 (1): 1–3.

Keogh, Brendan. 2018. A Play of Bodies: How We Perceive Videogames. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.

Miyazaki, Hidetaka and From Software. 2011. “Dark Souls.” Namco Bandai Games.

Mukherjee, Souvik. 2015. Video Games and Storytelling: Reading Games and Playing Books. Palgrave Macmillan UK.

Noah Caldwell-Gervais, dir. 2022. I Beat the Dark Souls Trilogy and All I Made Was This Lousy Video Essay.

Salen, Katie, and Eric Zimmerman. 2004. Rules of Play: Game Design Fundamentals. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press.


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