Gamer Identity.

A discussion on gaming personalities.

Have you ever tried to design a board game? It’s super hard. I once designed an awesome one I called Riskopoly that took the best elements of risk and combined them with Monopoly. The gimick I created was a “Battle or Buy,” scenario, and the goal was to take over the universe… so, what do you do in your spare time?

Board games are the best. Non-physical brain exercise with competition. They add a ton of different elements to games, I never feel as connected to a game of monopoly on my phone as I do in person. In person, I often want to rip out someones throat toward the end of the game… if they are being too smug with their real estate empire. But in Monopoly, it feels two dimensional. Have you ever wondered why that is? Why are board games better in person, the rules are the same. Sometimes you can even play against other real people, sometimes your friends. But the animosity I feel isn’t there when I win or lose.

So it turns out that there are 4 different types of gaming persona’s. There’s been an incredible amount of research done into this. This guy named Richard Bartle categorized video game players into 4 types, Achievers, Explorers, Socializers, and Killers. Most games will play into one of these categories based on the game designers gaming personality type.

I’ll let you peruse which one you are, I think I’m an achiever, however I don’t care as much about the score board, I care more about gaining a mastery of the systems and frameworks that the games are played. More than that I like to figure out how to come up with new rules and figure out how the game changes based on new rule sets. New rules means new techniques.

My favorite video game is Super smash brothers. It has it all. I have the social environment of playing with someone in the same room, it has the mastery component of the achievers and the thrill of killing. It does not have much exploration though. So Super smash appeals to 3 out of the 4 of the personalities of gamers. World of war craft appeals to all of them, and thus created scale of a game that had never been seen before.

Now, knowing this, and accepting it, I feel that Board games are better in person because they innately add the value of social. There is already a game at play of achievement rank, killer instinct and social behavior when you play with others in the same room. When you are playing through a computer screen on a phone, it becomes more difficult to feel “present’ and connect with others, so the social element is two dimensional, and so the added value of killer and achiever are both diminished a bit.

Now obviously this is only if you buy into Bartle’s framework. I generally do. I think that I have a gaming identity the same way that I have a digital identity. I always say “I want to win,” but I really just want to gain a mastery of the craft to play the game. Until I have achieved mastery, I am engaged and want to defeat everyone in my path.

I wonder, are there different personalities of a Founder CEO. Like they take on the role in this game they are designing for themselves? Fun thought process I might go through with each CEO I meet now.

By Adam Draper

I ponder as a VC.

It's a quick one minute read to make you think, smile, or laugh.

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