Types of Game Players

Players Who Suit MUDs by Richard Bartle

In class Tuesday we discussed the four different types of play as defined by Caillois.  That reminded me of this article I read about the different types of people who play in MUDs.  MUD stands for Multi-User Dungeon, the simplest of which are nothing more than chat rooms dedicated to playing role playing games, such as Dungeons and Dragons.

The article “Players Who Suit MUDs” breaks up the players of these social games into four main categories, which can each be tied to a suit of playing cards.  These groups and symbols are as follows: Hearts, or socializers; Clubs, or killers; Diamonds, or achievers; and Spades, or explorers.

The Clubs can be linked directly to iliux and agon, as they live for the disruptive chaos of the adrenaline rush and the feeling of superiority over other players.  Spades can find fun in any form of ludic play, as they like examining how the game principles operate.

Still, Hearts and Diamonds do not match up quite as well.  It could be said that Diamonds enjoy games with elements of agon, as that certainly does meet their desire to meet goals.  Even so, Diamonds derive fun from feeling that their actions have weight in the game, and this is reinforced by tokens such as points or in-game currency.  It could also be argued that Diamonds enjoy aspects of mimicry, as the immersiveness of the game world gives these tokens value.  Hearts enjoy games featuring mimicry, but can also have fun using the game world as a portal to meet new people.

It is strange how the black suits match up with Caillois’ divisions better than the red suits.  This is most likely because the black suits focus on acting on the game itself, and not the other players of the game.  This makes sense, as Caillois divisions characterize games, not their players.

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1 Response to Types of Game Players

  1. Thanks for bringing up Bartle’s article. We’ll be talking about it more directly in class in a few weeks….

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