Monthly Archives: January 2016

I’m A Killer

Bartle Player Type Interaction 2Most of my thinking about how people play social games — especially B3TZ — comes from my reading about Bartle’s gamer types.

Richard Bartle was a pioneer in early multiplayer online games in the 70’s and wrote a paper based on some of the data he collected about user behaviors in the game he administered. That paper got turned into a “gamer personality test” that identifies four basic social gaming impulses:

  • Achiever — reward, collection and ranking driven
  • Explorer — motivated by freedom to look around, finding cool things first
  • Killer — wants to dominate another player
  • Socializer — gets enjoyment from meeting new people, connecting with friends

When you take the test you get an index rating for each of these, typically one of the categories is dominant, so that is usually your “type”. There used to be tests that would give you a badge with all four numbers as a way of identifying yourself to a new group, theoretically to find a better fit — looks like those tests are all gone now, sadly.

With the gamification fad a few years ago Bartle got a lot of notoriety (not all of which he appreciated!) and people started applying his profiling model to all kinds of educational and business applications.

Some of the best discussion of the value of these gamer types comes from the Bartle’s extended 8-type model that contemplates the maturity or progression of a player through the play life-cycle.

I’m waiting for someone to add another dimension to this model that generates 16 types total, and then do the work to map that super-Bartle model to Meyer’s-Briggs. Whoops, looks like someone already did that..

Beautiful Decay No. 5

My brain is full of Graeber. I’m currently reading The False Coin of Our Own Dreams, his sweet and funny and wickedly smart attempt at an anthropological theory of value.

Plus I’m melancholy from some future work travel and the comfortable press of way way too much to do, most of it partially done..

It’s in this mental space that I discovered Handiedan, a dutch artist referred by my favorite local gallery, Roq La Rue, who will be showing her most of the month of July.

This is the picture that has done the most brain-smiting for me so far..

handiedan_print_75 (1)

I love her use of visual ornamentation as emotional grammar and her eye for composition vs. incompleteness — and in this piece I’m especially drawn to the language of confidence (money!) and desire (pin-ups). This makes music with my subconscious processing of the Graeber.

I have decided that she is the cover artist for a novel I have been imagining for 20+ years, the one about time-travelling robotic nuns and the Varangian Guard, set in Los Angeles and a silver-grassed version of the moon.



One of the local Seattle eSports startups that I’ve tracked on the Geekwire is Matcherino. Best I can tell, they are attempting to add some new ways for pro gamers to generate revenue — or “engage their audience”.

Normal engagement looks like the pro using their skills and ability to market themselves as cool to get views, comments, and if they’re really cool, donations of actual money. What do the fans get? Association with the pro, maybe even a comment reply or acknowledgement of existence. Standard high school pecking order management.

Matcherino is raising the bar by giving fans some more substantial ways of interacting with pros. So far Matcherino has —

  1. Crowdfund a prize pool for matching up two pros to play together for fan entertainment
  2. Allow a pro to easily play with a subscriber

Apparently there are more engagement features in the works..

I’m not knowledgeable enough on the communication patterns of streaming game fans to comment on how likely these features are to be appreciated, but I’d say any attempt to get pro gamers more money sounds like a good idea — as long as the benefit clearly outweighs the usage cost.

Learned that one from B3TZ the hard way.

The ESPN Strikes Back


So *finally* ESPN is in the eSports game. Yesterday they launched an obligatory eSports section to and it’s tucked away with cycling and tennis as a 2nd or 3rd tier activity. But it’s there.

Clearly this is a grudging — hey wait up for me — effort, and I can’t imagine it being very relevant. The big splash lead article is all about how big eSports has become, which underscores the “business case” angle to ESPN’s involvement here. But  what choice do they have? They can’t ignore it.

As a massive media temple to the “Big Four” American sports (or.. six? Do I see college football and soccer ahead of NHL now on the menu? hmm..) I’m sure ESPN is calibrated to nurture that core audience but the overlap w/ gamerz is.. uh.. not nearly as much as you’d think. eSports is driven by MUD and MOBA citizens (the audience!) who are globally distributed and livestreamed into the metaverse. American football on tv? Whaazat?

So we watch the empire collapse in slow motion, the laws of disruptive business cycle mechanics and shareholder accountability mean ESPN will continue to be owned by their core “concussion-sport” audience and slowly manage their position perfectly — but inevitably — into the ground.

So we salute the empire. And we watch..

Turn That Bad Boy Around


Remember last week I posted about Stolen, a new social game that let you “buy” and “sell” people on Twitter? Hmmm.. Well, the game has already been shut down!

Why? Well.. the game uses Twitter accounts of real people as game “objects” and even if the person (let’s say your Aunt Mathilda) wasn’t playing the game, she could be purchased in the game for a “price” and you could “buy” her and “own” her. Or “sell” her to someone who wanted her in their “collection”. All this buying and selling (plus other social things, like “liking” or “poking” people) of appropriated profiles would generate more game currency so you could buy more people, ad nauseum. Obviously you want to collect desirable accounts to be cool (why else are you on Twitter? or playing games?) and the more you play the more highly desirable people you could afford. I think it’s genius.

However, some of the Adults on the Intertubes thought that unauthorized inclusion of people’s Twitter profiles (Aunt Mathilda still doesn’t know she was for sale..) was too disruptive, and that twitter profiles were not things to be played with.

I guess if a Twitter account can get you fired it’s a real “thing” — a real extension of your so-called real identity.

Still seems weird to me though.