Gaming and Self-efficacy

  • Edwin McRae

It was my day off yesterday. Yup, singular. Being a freelancer and indie author, I only tend to have one day off per week. It's fine though. I have incredible flexibility in my hours and I work from 'home'. In some respects, every day feels like a day off at the same time as feeling like I'm always at work. A weird and wonderful limbo state that I would never trade for a 9-5 gig. I was offered one of those recently with A44, the makers of Ashen. In the end I turned it down. Thing is, I'm a house-sitter as well, roaming the country, looking after people's pets and houses while they're away. I just can't give up that level of freedom.

But there's a danger to all that freedom as well. You have to be extremely disciplined. I've got to do a certain number of hours per week to pay the bills and get those books written and published. Just lately, gaming started to nibble at those hours. Without being aware of it, I developed this habit of 'waking my brain up' with some AC: Odyssey or Call of Juarez before diving into work. Such bullshit. Yes, playing those games did leave me feeling more alert, but no more motivated to do my work. All I wanted to do was keep playing! I know a lot has been said about video games being good for the gamer's sense of self-efficacy, our general feelings of capability and agency. There's a danger zone though, where the hunger for gaming self-efficacy overpowers the drive for life self-efficacy. After all, games are designed to be conquered. Life is not.

About Edwin McRae

Edwin is a narrative consultant and mentor for the games industry.

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