Episode 17: The Power of Not Believing in Yourself – Part 1 (Self-efficacy and Dark Souls)

Dark Souls 3 box art - a knight on fireHow good are you at Dark Souls? Or put another way: What’s your perception of your related self-efficacy?

The Dark Souls series is hard. Really, really hard.

We’re just preparing you: You’ll die often, in new and interesting ways.

So why do players stick with it?

In the 1970s, psychologist Albert Bandura developed four factors important to achieving high levels of self-efficacy:

  1. Performance Accomplishment: doing something well once means you’ll feel ready to do it well again in the future.
  2. Vicarious Experiences: Seeing someone you identify with perform a task successfully is encouraging.
  3. Verbal Persuasion: Maybe not effective as the others, but think of an inspiring football coach speech.
  4. Emotional Arousal: High levels of stress aren’t so good for self confidence.

Dark Souls does the exact opposite of all four of these factors, yet gamers keep coming back for more. How does this make sense? Check back next week for the conclusion.

Show Notes & Links

Games mentioned in this episode

  • Super Empire Strikes Back
  • Papers, Please
  • World of Warcraft
  • Farmville
  • Stardew Valley
  • Cow Clicker
  • Cookie Clicker
  • King’s Field 1-4
  • Demon’s Souls
  • Dark Souls 1-3
  • Bloodborne
  • ‘Splosion Man
  • Super Mario Maker

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