Why do we play?
Humans are playful creatures. Granted, we do not hunt the same pleasures, nor do we extract the same joys from play. But as curious self proclaimed researchers, we’ve tried to decipher the delicate recipe behind players’ motivations. Why do we play? How do we play?
The Bartle Test: 4 archetypes of gamers.
One of the first models to emerge back in 1996 was the Bartle Test, a character theory that delineated 4 primary groups of motivations and characters. Every player drifts between all four areas, but Richard Bartle observed that most players do have a “primary” style. All other styles are “secondary” are subservient to the main interest. For instance, Achievers will definitely explore the game, but only to find new sources of treasures. They will socialize, but as a way to compare digital egos and trophy collections.
- Fun comes from the treasure hunt.
- Driven by concrete measurements of success within the game context (points, levels, rewards, possessions, prestige, skills).
- Looking for achievements: actions to do in the game.
- Fun comes from discovery and information seeking.
- Prone to experiment with the laws of the game: topology, physics, rules, depth, etc.
- Looking for immersion: interactions with the game.
- Fun comes from people and what they have to say.
- Importance of interpersonal relationships: empathy, sympathy, joking, entertainment, listening, conversation-enabling.
- Looking for cooperation: interactions with other players in the game.
- Fun comes from the competitive game of dominance and win/loss situations.
- Cause distress to other players, wreak havoc: taunts, adrenalin-driven killing sprees.
- Looking for competition: actions on other players in the game.