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..