Quantic Foundry has been very busy. Its gamer survey project, The Quantic Lab, has been collecting data on gamer habits and preferences and combining social science and data science to better understand the psychology of gaming. Based on a growing number of self-selected participants, game researchers Nick Yee and Nic Ducheneaut break down the numbers as they relate to gamer preferences. The data and analysis that the company provides has led to some interesting discussions within our group, with particular focus on the skewed results due to the lack of female participants. Following up on my response to their January post, “Beyond 50/50: Breaking Down The Percentage of Female Gamers by Genre,” I encouraged fellow gamers to take Quantic Foundry’s Gamer Motivation Profile to help provide more balanced data when it comes to gamers that don’t identify as male.
As with any survey results, it can be assumed that not everyone fits perfectly into the categories provided. I am no where near the completionist Quantic Foundry finds most women to be, according to their primary gaming motivations findings. But the profile itself is pretty spot on for me. I like kissing aliens, looking fabulous, and blowing shit up, preferably in the company of good friends. I’m a sucker for anything by BioWare, or more generally speaking, games that delve deeply into character and plot development. I want to feel something when I play, just as I do when I watch a movie or television show.
So, what about my fellow WWAC gamers? What motivates their gaming? What kind of games do they like playing and why?
Games I like to play and why: I like to go to new worlds, make friends, date cute girls, and be whoever I want to be.
I like games with open narratives, as well as sandbox worlds. I like the freedom to make choices that matter or go off and just do my own thing.
I like to play puzzle games, large scale city and war simulations, and role-playing games that let me explore and explode things. I hate gaming with others, but when I do I prefer cooperation over competition. (Add me to your party, I don’t care about glory!) I also prefer games that let me take my own path, explore options, and generally meander. Games that let me experiment will always be my favorite.
I’m a sucker for storytelling, no matter what format it’s in, so games that take time to craft an interesting world packed full of characters with motivations and backstories are what I most like to spend time on. I’m a sucker for BioWare games, for that reason. But I also like games that let me really play; things that encourage creative puzzle solutions (Antichamber) or games that do interesting things with familiar concepts (Overwatch). The Quantic Foundry tool has me high in creative, but I think it applies not only to games where I’m able to play with character creators or armor customization, but also creative solutions, puzzle-solving, and a general sense of invention rather than just putting the peg in the hole style gameplay.
My profile came out almost comically unbalanced, but I can’t say that I’m surprised. I’m very much a “casual” player—I don’t like skill oriented games, because I’m typically bad at them and struggling to get past the same action sequence a hundred times because of my poor reflexes make me feel inferior. I’m the player that puts the difficulty level on the lowest setting and then plays for the story, setting, and characters, not the thrill of unlocking achievements or mastering gameplay. Likewise, I hate to play online with strangers because I feel like I’m letting the team down and I’m always on the cusp of being yelled at for not doing my part.
I like to be able to express myself, especially by deciding how I look. Great storytelling and world-building are always deeply appreciated. Games that ask the player to integrate with the game instead of dominate. Fast paced action is fun when it really gets the blood boiling. Souls games, Final Fantasy, Porpentine, and weird, obscure PlayStation RPGs.
No surprise that my destruction levels are high. I game to de-stress, but my idea of de-stressing is wielding a sniper rifle (or bow and arrow for Lara Croft). My favorite genre of games are first and third person shooters, with a preference for third person because they often cross over into the RPG genre and have an immersive story. I also like being able to see myself in TPS. What’s the point of customization options if I can’t ever see myself? And I like shooter games, because I appreciate the skill and quick thinking required to run, dodge obstacles, and aim a headshot at time same time. My favorite games are the Uncharted and Mass Effect series. I particularly love Mass Effect because it allows me to be all the things I love: a destructive leader but also a team healer. I have this weird thing where I need to be both the strongest on the team but also the most helpful. So it makes sense that my competition and cooperation stats are about 50/50.