Here's a fun way to categorize yourself and others, at least for a short while. Although this typology has no scientific validity, like many of the other self-report assessments such as Myers-Briggs, it is a good reminder that we are not all the same, and that OSFA (one size fits all) is an ineffective and sometimes risky assumption. (Click to read about some of the problems with personality assessments.)
In my research of educational game design, I came upon the typology; it's Bartle's Taxonomy of Player Types. The four types are achiever, explorer, socializer, and killer. They were developed to describe the different ways people approach games and can be compared to the four suits in a card deck:
An easy way to remember these is to consider suits in a conventional pack of cards: achievers are Diamonds (they're always seeking treasure); explorers are Spades (they dig around for information); socialisers are Hearts (they empathise with other players); killers are Clubs (they hit people with them).
Another way to see these four:
- Killers and achievers act. Killers act on other players and achievers act on the world.
- Socializers and explorers interact. Socializers interact with other players and explorers interact with the world.
See a visual image, a graph, of the four types here at the top of page 111, here under the section The Four Bartle Types, or here about 1/5 of the way down under INTEREST GRAPH.
In order to find out what type you are (or, more exactly, what type you are today because these kinds of assessments are situational), take this quick test. It's fun, and, if you are like me, some of the questions
As I was reading how Bartle describes the ways different types interact with each other, I realized this typology could be helpful in conflict resolution. For example, if you have a killer and a explorer in the mediation room, you have two very different mindsets: one's acting on the other parties, and the other is interacting with the world.
Even though Bartle's Types are not created for anything but games, seeing the motivations and interests in this typology may be of some guidance in certain conflicts. And, under some definitions, conflict resolution is a game; for example, this definition: "a physical or mental contest, played according to specific rules, with the goal of amusing or rewarding the participants." (See another definition below in the notes.)
Looking at the typology helped me to see why I often feel at odds with a colleague in some situations. Do you see yourself and another in the matchups Bartle described?
Take the quiz. Play with the ideas Bartle presents. Have fun. We're only talking about games, right?
- Click for more information about the Bartle Test (Wikipedia).
- Click for a complex analysis of game player psychology types: "Personality And Play Styles: A Unified Model" (Gamasutra).
- Another definition of game: "rule-based systems/simulations that facilitate and encourage a user to explore and learn the properties of their possibility space through the use of feedback mechanisms" (AndrewHsu.com quoting Raph Koster)
- [Added January 18, 2014): Another article on the typology: "How To Use The 4 Gamer Types to Help Your Students Collaborate" (Edudemic)