The Language of Games – Player Types

In the post ARGs Uncovered I described several different types of “player role” that could be taken on in an alternate reality game.

What different roles were described? What role do you (think you would) fall into, and why?

Another way of categorising player types comes from Richard Bartle, who you might remember was responsible for maintaining MUD, the original online Multi-User Dungeon (Text Adventures – The Evolution of an Idea).

The “Bartle Types”, or roles that players of adventure games are claimed to fall into, are described in Hearts, Clubs, Diamonds, Spades: Players Who Suit MUDs, by Richard Bartle. Read at least the first two sections of the paper (“A Simple taxonomy” and “Interest Graph”), note down the four different player types and the characteristics that define them. How do they compare (if at all!) to the different roles players might fall into in an Alternate Reality Game? Do the “ARG Roles” map onto the “Bartle Interest Graph” in an obvious way? To what extent do you think the Bartle Types might apply to participants in any multi-user virtual world, not just multi-user adventure games? Note down your thoughts in a comment to this post, or in a blog post of your own which you should link back here.

Based on your reading of “Hearts, Clubs, Diamonds, Spades”, what “Bartle Type” do you think best describes the way you (might) interact in an online multi-user adventure game? Now try out this online Bartle Test – does it categorise you in the way you expected?

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1 Response to “The Language of Games – Player Types”


  1. 1 jason June 24, 2010 at 3:07 pm

    The online Bartle test link doesn’t seem to work :(


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