4 types of Gamers


Minecraft Learning strives to reach a variety of learners, at all different stages of development and academic skill.  Addressing grade level curriculum is a major goal in creating the games for the Minecraft Learning server, but I came across another concern recently.  I also need to keep the different gamer types involved.

Computer games have been around for a long time.  I don't know the entire background of educational game development, and as I research the topic I am finding more and more interesting and involved articles and papers.  One such paper was research conducted to find out about online role playing games.  These might be similar to dungeons and dragons role playing/adventure games, but online and usually text based.  This research pointed out that there are usually four types of gamers. These types relate to how they interact with the game and other players.  I find that in Minecraft the same types and responses take place.

4 types of gamers

  1. Killers
  2. Achievers
  3. Socializers
  4. Explorers


This image is from Richard Bartle's paper published in 1996, "Players Who Suit MUDs".  It shows how the different players react and act to the world and other players.  From my experience every player is not just one of these types, but depending on the game can move from one to the other. 

The killers enjoy acting. 

Whether it is beating the enemy or other players they are looking to destroy something. They are allways looking for competition and want to impose upon others in the game.  Causing distress to other players is paramount to enjoyment of the game.

The achievers enjoy acting as well. 

This time though, they are trying to achieve in-game goals and they will try as hard as possible to acieve them. These players want to accumulate and make use of high value treasures in the game. Gathering points and raising their levels is the main goal of the game and these palyers love to accumulate the riches of the game.

The socializers enjoy socializing with others in the game.

They want to interact with other players.  It might be by providing a service or communicating and applying role playing features of the game. The socializer is interested in the other players and the game is just a backdrop to the real interaction.  The relationships are important and even if just observing another player, the interaction with others is desireable.

The explorers will try to find out as much as possible. 

They are interacting with as much of the game as is possible. It can mean mapping the topology and exploring all parts of the game world, but it can also mean testing out the physics and experimenting with all of the posibilities provided.  The explorer will delight in trying to find out the inner workings of the game.  Maybe even looking for glitches or bugs that can be utilized.  Knowledge is king.

You may recognize some of these traits in watching your children play Minecraft.  Of course it may depend on what server they are playing on.  Some servers are created to appeal to just on type of player, often the killers.  i.e. hunger games.

I have been trying to incorporate a little bit for each of these gamers types is every server world created for Minecraft Learning.  In the first sessions of Minecraft Learning I was encountering some games that were big hits and others that were only enjoyed by a few.  I am now trying to make something interesting for each gamer type in the games I use.