I usually avoid the “What kind of …… are you?” posts that pop up on my Facebook timeline on a daily basis. A few limited responses to inane questions to learn that my Game of Thrones character is apparently Tyrion Lannister hardly seems worth exchanging my profile and account details for.
Last week, however, I saw a link to Quantic Foundry’s “Gamer Profile” and decided to give it a go – not only were they not after my contacts list or personal info, it was also an area of interest (obviously!) and the questions were actually detailed and probing.
You can see my results in the image above (and you can also view a more detailed breakdown here) and the rest of this post is a breakdown of my reactions:
I guess that fits as an overall label – as a gamer I am not that good at completing games in the sense of reaching some kind of end point (sometimes because I lose interest and other times because the game itself has no win conditions to satisfy in order to say you have completed it) but rather I like to explore the gameworld to its limits. I am that kind of gamer who will explore a cave just because it’s there or go back to an area simply to explore that one area of the map that is still uncovered. I like my achievements and will at times try to level up my character’s skills not as part of my gameplay strategy but so that I can earn the title “Master Craftsman”. No surprise then that ‘completion’ is my primary motivation.
Appetite for Destruction
I also enjoy seeing what the game will let me do. I want to push the limits and bend the rules of the game just to see the consequences. Part of this is the ‘trial and error’ mode of learning that game – is that ledge above accessible? Can my character take on a challenge above its level?
But part of it is also seeing what and how much damage can be done – can I punch the shopkeeper? Can I keep other Sims hostage in my house? What will really happen if I use the nuclear warhead in Civilization? Is it possible to get through this area designed for stealth with brute force? This may seem vindictive and does not match my non-gaming persona at all but it is a factor in the joy of playing away from the real world and also a key element of learning about the game and the environment it operates in.
Despite this love of chaos and desire for completion, one of my lowest ratings was for ‘power’. I do not pursue the highest levels for my character or entity to be unbeatable. For me,this spells boredom as the interest level soon drops when you beat standard challenges easily and only have to make an effort for boss fights, player-versus-player or end game action. My time spent playing games like Football Manager, Civilizaiton and interactive fiction games fits in with adrenalin-fuelled excitement being in my bottom 3 motivations as well.
A Design Flaw?
I was surprised to see ‘design’ so low though, especially after looking at the explanation. I have at times spent hours creating characters – see the uncanny resemblance my Jedi Knight (pictured) Sims and superstars in the WWE 2K series bear to me for evidence of that! – and crafting game worlds. I also love customising items and spaces within the game. The only thing I don’t do is pay for extra customisation options, particularly cosmetic ones. That is one of my pet peeves about the current gaming market – the increasing number of titles that expect you to pay beyond the retail price to ‘unlock’ extra features. Apart from that though, I disagree with the profile on this one.
Beyond the elements highlighted in the profile banner, the full write-up also gave high ratings to ‘discovery’ (fitting in with that idea of completion by exploring every digital nook and cranny), ‘fantasy’ and ‘story’ (hence my love of RPGs like Warcraft and interactive fiction like the Telltale Games renditions of The Walking Dead), and also ‘community’. One thing I love about being a gamer in this day and age is how easy it is to go online and find other people who are into the same game. This can take the form of seeking advice in forums and through YouTube videos, exchanging stories and in-game experiences, or going into the world of fan-generated content whether that be artwork, stories inspired by the game or actual mods and fan-made add-ons for the game itself.
Together all these components add up to a feeling of immersion in the game world. As you play, you are truly in the game. You live the story, the fantasy becomes real, you discover things and progress. Out of the game, you find a community to engage with, retell your experiences, and help each other in progressing even further.
It is here that I see the real potential for game-based learning. The right game approached in the right way can offer learners the chance to explore, discover and experience things. They can engage in a cycle of reflective practice by forming theories, experimenting, evaluating and trying again. In the classroom and beyond, they can find communities in which they can relate their experiences, share their theories and engage in collective reflection – all to help move towards that goal of completion.
What is the right game? And what is the right way? Well, those are questions I will be exploring on this blog throughout the new year.
For now, why not take the test yourself and share your profile in the comments section? 🙂