Gamer Motivation Profile

596 words.

I saw Roger posted his Gamer Motivation Profile, which “motivated” me to take the test myself. Many others have also done it, including Rakuno at Shards of Imagination, who links to surely at least a dozen others. Anything I can do to help dislodge that Bartle thing-the test that our gaming neanderthal ancestors* created from stone knives and bear skins and VT100 terminals and MUDs-from the public discourse is a win.

Surprisingly fairly accurate.

I would have rated "Discovery" a lot higher than that though.

I didn’t care for some of the wording of the questions or the vagueness of the responses.

First of all, pretending I am “someone” else is extremely different from pretending I am “somewhere” else. Beyond that, is this question asking if I think it’s important to literally believe I am someone else? That is sort of impossible for me, so I would have to say “not at all important.” “Pretending to be someone else” is the job of an actor, not a gamer. Still, it’s fun to role-play sometimes, so I might answer “somewhat important” if this question is intending to ask if I think role-playing is important in gaming. Or does the question mean to ask if I think it’s important to see experiences through the eyes of someone else? As in, roughly the experience you would get from reading a book or watching a movie? I might answer “extremely important” if that’s the intent, but that’s very different from “pretending to be someone else.”

To say nothing of how “slightly important” and “somewhat important” is the same answer, and there is little semantic difference between “very important” and “extremely important.” At the same time there is a world of difference between “somewhat important” and “very important.”

Overall I found the “test” to be driven considerably more by marketing forces than any kind of scientific study. It’s one big marketing exercise, in other words. A way to funnel information to game makers so that they can make games that specifically target the exact kind of game that gamers think they want, so the executives can maximize profits with the least amount of risk. God forbid anyone try to make an original, creative game no one’s ever tried before that doesn’t neatly fit into categories for easy consumption!

Anyway, I noticed something interesting about other people’s responses. Some people’s graphs were really widely scattered among many different interests, ie. more of a circle, while others were very specific in their interests, and their graphs came out more like a line or a point, like mine is.

I have no data to base this conclusion on, but I wondered if younger people tended to have broader gaming interests, while older people like me have developed more refined interests over the years. I’ve learned over the years what kinds of games I tend to like and what kinds I don’t, so I know which games to avoid. But in my early gaming days, I bought anything willy-nilly and played whatever was available. (Of course, back in the stone ages, there wasn’t much available so you didn’t have much choice.) It would be interesting to see what my responses would have been in the late 90s, as opposed to now. Or in the late 80s, for that matter.

Despite the inherent flaws in these kinds of things, it was an amusing way to kill a bit of time on a Sunday morn.

  • Actually I’m one of those gaming neanderthals. Although I never played anything on a VT100 terminal and I never played any MUDs.

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