Profiles part one: I, the gamer

I’m pretty bad at tests, especially personality tests. I’ve taken my fair share of them over the years, some serious, others not, and they never turn out to be all the revealing. Loyal, cynical, shy, and kind are the four descriptors that tend to pop up the most for me in such tests. As I’ve been alive and aware for a good many years now, these are four things I already know pretty well about myself. Probably the most interesting “personality” test I ever took was one in college designed to “help find my most suitable career.” I ended up with archaeologist and teacher. What the test didn’t know was that I had just switched majors from education to American studies, because the teaching tract just wasn’t for me. And archaeology…? Well, maybe there was a question on the test about Indiana Jones, because that’s about as far as my interest in archaeology has ever gone.

But the fact that I was never going to become a pro wrestler or a stand-up comedian (damn and damn) has never deterred me from diving into a series of multiple choice questions designed to help me figure out how I might fit my square-shaped self into a world of round holes. This never-ending path of self-discovery is what led me to Quantic Foundry‘s gamer profile and personality tools: Gaming Motivation Profile and Personality: Big Five.

I’ve seen these links pop up in others’ blogs before, complete with all sorts of interesting and seemingly insightful data. Looking at the first test, Gaming Motivation Profile (GMP), what I like of the entries that I’ve read that cover it is that, unlike your run o’ the mill “gamer personality” tests, the stats revealed don’t pigeonhole people into sets of boring stereotypes. Instead, they revolve around a simple set of big gaming ideas (creativity, mastery, achievements, immersion, and community) and place an individual within certain percentiles for each. Like any standardized test, the results probably aren’t perfect, and I’m sure folks have taken issue with them, but most appear to find common ground with their own test results.

So with some time on my hands and a trigger finger itching to click through some multiple choices, I proceeded with the tests. In this post I’ll cover the Gaming Motovation Profile, and in two weeks I’ll review my results from Personality: Big Five. What follows here is my paraphrased and truncated look at my GMP scores, because going over every ounce of text from the test itself is something of a slog for a blog. (I am nothing if not poetic.) If you care not to continue reading (but please don’t be sucky like that), in sum, I was reasonably surprised by my results. The only things I knew was that I’d score low on any social aspects and high on immersion. Beyond that, this test made me think decently hard about my approach to gaming, and it grounded my casual hardcore sensibilities, for the most part, anyway.

Your Gaming Style: Action-Oriented, Spontaneous, Ambitious, Independent, Deeply Immersed, and Creative




The Action Components (85%)

Gamers with high Action scores are aggressive and like to jump in the fray and be surrounded by dramatic visuals and effects. Gamers with low Action scores prefer slower-paced games with calmer settings.

(The actual text from the test. ↑)

Destruction (71%): You like to blow shit up and cause general mayhem. (All score text paraphrased for your pleasure.)

Excitement (90%): Fast, faster, and FASTEST GAMEZ!

I think the test picked up on my love of fighting games here, because those are about the only games in which I do enjoy being an agent of chaos (poorly timed chaos, but still). They are also the only games, along with racing games, where speed matters for me. The faster, the better. Then again, taking older games into account, there’s nothing that gets the blood flowing than when things get speedy in the likes of Galaga, Pac-Man, and Centipede. Adventure, excitement, hells yeah-er! SUCK ON THAT YODA!


The Mastery Components (22%)

Gamers with high Mastery scores like challenging gaming experiences with strategic depth and complexity. Gamers with low Mastery scores enjoy being spontaneous in games and prefer games that are accessible and forgiving when mistakes are made.

Challenge (10%): You wuss. (loljk♥u)

Strategy (48%): Ever kept physical notes on a game? Okay then.

The phrase “prefer(s) games that are accessible and forgiving when mistakes are made” pretty much says it all, because ain’t nobody got time for stressful and ridiculously hard games. I embrace easy modes. As for strategy, if a game calls for careful planning, I’ll certainly throw myself into that aspect, all the way down to writing up an actual plan. But it’s not something I regularly look for in games, so I think the score here is a little inflated.


The Achievement Components (41%)

Gamers with high Achievement scores are driven to accrue power, rare items, and collectibles, even if this means grinding for a while. Gamers with low Achievement scores have a relaxed attitude towards in-game achievements and don’t worry too much about their scores or progress in the game.

Completion (6%): You don’t want it all, you don’t want it all, and you don’t want it now.

Power (82%): You want it all, you want it all, and you want it now.

Although I don’t give a stout’s ass about completion or achievements, I do enjoy the occasional hunt for special things in games, because sometimes it’s simply fun to take a break from a big story to go off on your own for awhile looking for treasures. And when those treasures make your character more powerful, all the better. I will regularly make sure that my character has the best and most powerful accoutrements, even if it means spending an hour switching out armor/weapons to come up with the best combination.


The Social Components (7%)

Gamers with high Social scores enjoy interacting with other players, often regardless of whether they are collaborating or competing with them. Gamers with low Social scores prefer solo gaming experiences where they can be independent.

Competition (23%): Attack me if you dare, I will crush you!

Community (4%): Going solo is the only way to go…in games.

No surprises here; I like my games and gaming time all to myself. And I imagine the competition aspect here goes back to fighting and driving games again, as they are the only genres that fit acceptably into my local multiplayer niche.


The Immersion Components (86%)

Gamers with high Immersion scores want games with interesting narratives, characters, and settings so they can be deeply immersed in the alternate worlds created by games. Gamers with low Immersion scores are more grounded in the gameplay mechanics and care less about the narrative experiences that games offer.

Fantasy (94%): Calgon, take me away!

Story (66%): Once upon a time, there was a princess…

I’ve repeatedly professed that I’m really bad at following stories in games, but that doesn’t mean I don’t like story-driven games. In fact, sometimes the story and the characters are the only things that keep me playing. I will agree that the immersion element is key for me, especially with RPGs. The more enveloped I can become in a game world, the more invested my playing becomes. And that game world doesn’t necessarily have to be “real,” but it does have to accessible and make sense within the context of the game.


The Creativity Components (89%)

Gamers with high Creativity scores are constantly experimenting with their game worlds and tailoring them with their own designs and customizations. Gamers with low Creativity scores are more practical in their gaming style and accept their game worlds as they are.

Discovery (73%): Not the channel, thank god.

Design (91%): I never became a fashion designer, but with games, I can pretend.

Under the “Discovery” explanation was the phrase “In an MMO, they might swim out to the edge of the ocean to see what happens.” Well let me tell you, this action isn’t limited to MMOs. In my last Xenoblade Chronicles session, I spent nearly 30 minutes swimming out into an ocean to find its end point. And y’know what? It never came! Seriously, the ocean just kept going and going and fucking going! I was seriously astounded. And then I got bored and went back to shore. Still, I love playing around with the creative components of any game, even if the only thing I do in two hours is create a new character or end up way off the beaten track.

So that was…um, interesting? Well, it was for me anyway. And if you like looking at percentages and judging people from afar (and seriously, who doesn’t?) then be sure to check back in two weeks when when I go over my results of the Personality: Big Five test. It’s bound to be even more…um, interesting?

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