Unravelling the Gaming Slang: Understanding Skill Issue

by Tara Price

23rd July, 2023

Unravelling the Gaming Slang: Understanding Skill Issue

The world of online gaming is brimming with jargon unique to its domain. Among these terms, the phrase “skill issue” has gained significant traction. In this article, we delve into the meaning, origin, and usage of this controversial term in gaming slang.

Decoding Skill Issue

In the gaming universe, the term “skill issue” carries a specific connotation. When a gamer mentions a skill issue, it indicates that they are struggling to complete a game or a level that is generally considered easy by most players. It is also a term often used mockingly to point out players who aren’t performing up to par.

Misinterpretations of Skill Issue

Contrary to what one might expect, the phrase “skill issue” doesn’t carry any alternative meanings. It retains its original implication across different contexts.

skill issue. | Rogue Lineage

Skill Issue in Action

To illustrate the concept of a skill issue, consider the following scenarios:

  1. Gamer 1 (Logan): Encountering some skill issue, mate? Gamer 2 (Freddy): If you think I’m insulted, you’re mistaken!
  2. Gamer 1 (Payton): This level is tough. I don’t think I can get through it! Gamer 2 (Henry): Don’t tell me you have a skill issue? This level is basic, mate!
  3. Gamer 1 (Ginney): Someone told me I have a skill issue! Gamer 2 (Blaire): Oh, please. They’re just teasing you! Don’t pay them any mind.

Derivation of Skill Issue

While the phrase’s exact origin remains a mystery, it is believed to have emerged from the streaming platform Twitch. Here, it was employed by professional and highly proficient players to dismissively comment on less-abled gamers in situations where they dominated them.

The term experienced a surge in social media usage in early September 2020. It was used by Twitter and Reddit users to sarcastically respond to individuals who grumbled about losing in video games. The most common usage of the term was “sounds like a player skill issue.”

The phrase gained initial recognition among Roblox players, specifically Rogue Lineage players. Several posts made in November 2020 in /r/RogueLineage and other Roblox-associated subreddits bore the title-skill issue. At least one post sought to understand the origin of the term.

Popularisation of Skill Issue

The phrase’s popularity increased towards the end of 2020 and the beginning of 2021. Memes and GIF captions, often shared on Discord servers, played a significant role in this spread. One example is a video caption based on the CGI Monkeys Dancing video uploaded by YouTuber Monk-ey.

On Urban Dictionary, the term was defined by a user as “something you say when someone complains about a game aspect that is entirely their fault and has nothing wrong with it.”

Throughout 2021, the term found its way into several major gaming communities, including fighting games such as Super Smash Bros. and Street Fighter, rhythm games like OSU! and Friday Night Funkin’, and hardcore single-player games like The Binding of Isaac.

Ironic Usage of Skill Issue

While the term’s usage has spread, it has also seen an increase in ironic applications. Players often comment “skill issue” when the real culprit is clearly poor game balance or a bug.

Related Memes and Variations

Among the related memes, “Git Gud”, an intentional misspelling of “get good”, is a phrase used to tease inexperienced players or newbies in online video games, similar to the usage of “skill issue”. Variations of the term, such as “Sounds Like a Skill Issue” and “Simply a Difference in Skill”, are also common.

Skill Issue in the Social Media Landscape

The term skill issue is not confined to gaming platforms. It has made its way onto social media platforms like TikTok, where users employ the term to imply that the problem someone is facing is due to their lack of skill. It’s often used for trolling or trash-talking an opponent, especially when it’s clear that skill is not the reason for the issue.


The term “skill issue”, despite its simple appearance, carries a weighty implication in the gaming world. Its usage reflects the competitive nature of online gaming and the constant strive for skill improvement. As with any slang, its meaning and usage evolve over time, adapting to the changing dynamics of the gaming community.

For more insights on the origin and usage of popular phrases and their text forms, stay tuned to our blog.

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