There are many reasons that people play games. Beginning in 1990 Richard Bartle proposed four different reasons that people might play in MultiUserDungeons/Domains (MUDs). The four types are: Killers, Socializers, Achievers and Explorers (Bartle, 1996). Nick Yee built on this idea researching players of MMORGs (Massively Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Games) to identify, among other ideas, the motivations of playing. He found overlap in the types of players and that the competitive element was present in all 3 categories he defined, not a separate element. Dixon (2011) suggests that we think of player personas and then we “don’t have to be too concerned with differentiating between motivation, behaviour or preferences”, but can use the ideas of different player experiences to guide development.
The research on player types has mostly taken place in digital gaming and the replication in the classroom lacks research (Dixon, 2011). In practical application trial and error will play a role in game development as the researchers continue their work.
Strain (2015) offers some tips for accommodating player types:
- For Achievers offer badges, points and vary the length of achievements to maintain interest.
- For the socially motivated, celebrate successes with leader boards and other public recognitions.
For Explorers, provide opportunities to unlock esoteric aspects of the game and allow side quests
- For Killers (or the competitively motivated) ensure competition particularly, with stakes.
Knowing that these types will overlap a teacher can know that in the gamified classroom there are many reasons and ways that students enjoy learning. It’s important to consider the different student personalities and to build game elements that entice students who will be motivated for different reasons.
Bartle, R. (1996). Hearts, Diamonds, Clubs and Spades: Players who Suit MUDs. Retrieved October 10, 2016 from http://mud.co.uk/richard/hcds.htm.
Dixon, D. (11 May, 2011). Player Types and Gamification. Retrieved October 10, 2016 from http://gamification-research.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/11-Dixon.pdf
Strain, J. (7 November, 2015). Player Types in Gamified Education. Guidance Through Mathematics. Retrieved October 13, 2016 from: http://guidethrumaths.blogspot.com.au/2015/11/player-types-in-gamified-education.html
Yee, N. The Daedalus Project. http://www.nickyee.com/daedalus/