Types of Players & Gamers
I’ve recently been reading Play by Stuart Brown. He has a section about play personalities. He lists the following eight play personality types:
- Joker – A joker’s play always revolves around some kind of nonsense.
- Kinesthete – Kinesthetes are people who like to move.
- Explorer – Each of us started our lives by exploring the world around us. Some people never lose their enthusiasm for it.
- Competitor – The competitor is a person … who enjoys playing to win.
- Director – Directors enjoy planning and executing scenes and events.
- Collector – The thrill of play for the collector is to have and to hold the most, the best, the most interesting collection of objects or experiences.
- Artist/Creator – For the artist/creator, joy is found in making things.
- Storyteller – For the storyteller, the imagination is the key to the kingdom of play.
This immediately reminded me of the Bartle test. The Bartle test divides video gamers into four types of personalities. Gamification.org describes them this way:
- Achievers – Also known as “Diamonds”, these are players who prefer to gain “points,” levels, equipment and other concrete measurements of succeeding in a game.
- Explorers – Explorers, dubbed “Spades” for their tendency to dig around, are players who prefer discovering areas, creating maps and learning about hidden places.
- Socializers – There are a multitude of gamers who choose to play games for the social aspect, rather than the actual gam itself. These players are known as Socializers or “Hearts”.
- Killers – “Clubs” is a very accurate moniker for what the Killer likes to do, club people.
You can immediately see similarities in those two lists. It seems like Bartle’s achievers and killers gamer personalities might be teasing apart two different aspects of Brown’s competitor play personality. It also seems like Dr. Brown’s list has some personality types which aren’t represented in the Bartle list. Do you think that’s because their coarser categories, or because the other types of player psychologies haven’t been strongly represented in the video gaming world? If the later, do you think that things like Wii and Kinect are giving kinesthetes an entry to the video gaming world? What types of video games do you think the other groups would be interested in? Which of these personality types do you think fits you the best? How do you think these categories apply to the gamification of non-game experiences?
Looks like I’m an explorer – makes sense to me.