Saturday, July 20, 2013

The 8 Gamer Stereotypes

Over the years you've probably noticed that your friends have preferences for certain types of games or even genres. Some like FPSs, some like Real-Time Strategies, others might be happy with a bit of Tetris. You could even classify gamers by these genres they prefer (something that Pure Pwnage did with great comedic effect) - however what happens when someone happens to like multiple genres? Then things start to unravel. I believe that is when you have to explore the motivations behind why a gamer plays games and as a result you end up with the 8 Gamer Stereotypes I've identified. I've also provided a handy chart to show you where I perceive each of these stereotypes to sit on the Cartesian plance. The x-axis is time spent on gaming and the y-axis represents a spectrum with competitive gaming at one end and cooperative gaming on the other.



Major caveat of course before reading the rest of this - this is all just for a bit of fun. Don't take it too seriously since as Alexandre Dumas famously said "All generalisations are dangerous, even this one." Also, note that you may see traits of you in several of these stereotypes. I know for a fact that I probably fit in two of the below categories - partially the reason why I decided to create a graph to show these are not really discrete points but that they in fact exist on a spectrum.

The Critic



Example of games played:
Indie games, new genres, Adventure games, RPGs (Mass Effect), single-player FPSs (Half-Life, Mafia, GTA, Assassin's Creed), Need for Speed, SimCity

Description:
Analyses games and the gaming industry in general. Sees games as a work of art. Might even write reviews. Might have things in common with the Retro Gamer due to them generally being older gamers however Critics are more likely to play the latest trends while Retro Gamers are stuck in the past. Favours single player games with strong narratives like RPGs and adventures.

The Competitive Gamer



Example of games played:
Counter-Strike, Call of Duty, DOTA, Starcraft, FIFA, Street Fighter, Sports games

Description:
Games which usually rely on lightning reflexes and good situational awareness. Not for the faint hearted, those who excel at these games usually find themselves as cyber atheletes. Usually not tolerant of anyone who calls a game "just a game". It's their livelihoods in some cases.

The Casual Gamer




Example of games played:
Tetris, Bejeweled, Peggle, Zuma, Bookworm, Hidden Object Adventures, the Sims, Wii Games, Facebook etc.

Description:
Usually women. Often sandbox games or games that almost anyone can play. These games are after the largest demographic as possible and hence why you'll tend to find gamers of all ages and persuasions playing these games.


The MMO Tragic



Example of games played:
World of Warcraft, Defiance, Lord of the Rings Online, etc.

Description:
MMO Tragics go from one MMO to the next, never shifting out of the genre. Sometimes they even return back to the original MMO they started playing because the new ones are too different to what they're familiar with. Often wants to be the highest level with best armour so they can feel superior (and in this regards, the more successful MMO Tragics shares similar traits with Power Gamers). Sticks almost solely to popular MMOs since they want as many people to look at their Epic Armour of Awesomeness +1337. Tends to not play many other games due to the time commitment required to play MMOs - not that it matters though - other games are just a waste of money anyway right? Might as well keep investing it in something you're familiar with...

The Carebear



Example of games played:
Co-op games, Diablo, Torchlight, Left 4 Dead, Alien Swarm, Co-op RPGs, compstomps on RTSs, squads in Battlefield, etc.

Description:
These players seek camraderie or the ability to help and support others. Consequently, they tend to stick to multiplayer games only. They see gaming as a social activity - a way of catching up with friends and sharing in a positive experience where you can then share "war stories". May play traditionally competitive games but are more satisified with achieving their team goals rather than purely a high kill-to-death ratio. If playing online RPGs, some Carebears can be closet MMO Tragics.

The Retro Gamer



Example of games played:
Metroid, Bubble Bobble, Sonic the Hedgehog, Zelda, Nintendo games, etc.

Description:
These gamers are not to be confused with the many gamers that look back on the games played in their youth with rose-tinted glasses; they're actually playing those games now mainly thanks to emulators or even with existing consoles/hardware. Sometimes old franchises are still kicking thanks to companies like Nintendo as well so some of these games can also be considered retro games (even if they are HD remakes or "spiritual successors"). Most retro games can also pass as "family-friendly" entertainment and casual gamers would play many of the retro revivals.

The Simulation Addict



Example of games played:
Colin McRae Rally, Silent Hunter, Microsoft Flight Simulator etc.

Description:
Simulation Addicts don't play many games and might only have one they focus on such as a racing sim or submarine sim. It's not that they're unable to play anything else but they're just simply not interested. Like MMO Tragics, they don't appear to deviate much from any other genre and they even have similarities to the Power Gamer in that they tend to pore over the minutae in order to give them a slight advantage (which to be fair is the whole point of many simulations). Enjoys the hyper-realism to be had from playing simulations so they often have beefy systems to run games on the highest graphics settings and funky controllers (e.g. steering wheels, flight sticks, etc.). Tends to be a niche market as most people don't have the patience and understanding.

The Power Gamer



Example of games played:
Diablo, Guild Wars 2, World of Warcraft, Civilization

Description:
Power Gamers occasionally play the same games as the Carebear but the Carebear tends to exclusively play multiplayer games whilst the Power Gamer doesn't care if the game is multiplayer or not; their goal is to either get 100% completion in a game or to find the most efficient algorithm when it comes to beating a game or the most efficient build. Exploiting the system is not beneath them since if it's in there, it's the developer's fault for not foreseeing it. They tend to favour RPGs or Turn-based Strategy games as they tend to be the kind of games where you can develop builds and strategies at your own pace. Steers away from games that are usually in the realm of the Competitive Gamer even though they may have similar goals. Competitive Gamers usually have fast reflexes and skill whilst for Power Gamers it's about long-term planning.

So do you agree or disagree with the stereotypes I've proposed? Perhaps you have some of your own you'd like to share? :)

4 comments:

  1. you forgot the homophobic racist who lets everyone know of his disapproval of blacks gays jews latinos and everyone else and of course the pc is better snob you know the guy whose corpse you shoot up long long after you murdered him yay killing douches

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  2. Hi Brandon. I think Mark is trying to politically correct and call them "Competitive Gamers" rather than coming straight out and calling a shovel a spade...

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  3. I wouldn't say this is 100% accurate but I think this is on to something! I think people might sometimes switch gamer types or be multiple at the same time. Greetings from Scandinavia!

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    1. Oh sure. I'd be the first to admit this isn't 100% accurate. As mentioned (when I originally typed this up a couple of years back) it's all just for a bit of fun :). I think the "Critic" archetype though would be the one that fits in with those who like playing multiple genres and also most of these archetypes aren't genre based, save for the MMO Tragic and the Simulation Addict (and even then you can get sub-genres within MMOs and simulations). Thanks for commenting :).

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