About games and gaming thereof!


Recently I was introduced to the Bartle Test, a sort of rating scale of gamer psychology similar to the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. It has four dichotomies for a gamer’s motivation to play a game: Achiever, for players who strive to achieve and gain a sense of accomplishment; Explorer, for players who like to search for hidden secrets and learn about their setting; Socializers, for players who gain pleasure from interacting with other players or characters in the game; and Killers, who thrive on competition with other players.

It’s an interesting concept, but my problem with it is that it doesn’t seem to cover any of my biggest motivations to play a game. I mean, a sense of accomplishment is definitely part of it, and it’s probably my biggest motivation out of the four listed, but I really don’t think that’s what factors most into why I play games.

And I think the reason this doesn’t cover all the bases is because the Bartle Test was designed specifically for MMOs, and MMOs simply don’t offer all the features that games have. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some MMOs. I remember getting seriously addicted to World of Warcraft for a few months before I hit level 40 with my warrior and instantly lost all motivation to play it for some reason. But MMOs simply haven’t been able to provide me with the same thrills that some other games have given me as of yet.

But then someone else showed me the BrainHex quiz, a similar dichotomy ranking scale that has more categories. I took the quiz and it said that I’m a Daredevil-Survivor. Here’s the description I got:

“You like rushing around at heights or high speed while you are still in control as well as pulse-pounding risks and escaping from hideous and scary threats.”

This really seems to fit me like a glove. Upon reflection it seems like so many of my favorite moments as a gamer fit that description. Like the sequence in Half-Life 2 where you have to run and jump across pieces of a mangled bridge hanging high above the water while being chased and shot at by an enemy helicopter thing. Or the sequence in Amnesia: The Dark Descent where you have to run for your life through a flooded hallway while being chased by an invisible water monster.

I think the best example of this preference of mine is the fact that my favorite browser game is Canabalt, a game where you freerun across buildings while trying to escape from the demolition of the city. That practically seems like a game tailor-made for me.

To anybody who cares, these are the full results I got.

Daredevil: 18
Survivor: 17
Mastermind: 13
Achiever: 9
Seeker: 7
Socialiser: 5
Conqueror: 5

After realizing this about myself, you know what game comes to mind? Mirror’s Edge. That game is all about freerunning and surviving. Sounds like it would be right up my alley.

I remember my brother got it for the 360 when it first came out and I played it. I beat the first few levels, then got stuck on a jumping puzzle in a sewer somewhere and never played the game again. I really liked the core concepts in it, but there were a lot of little annoyances and frustrations. Still, I bet I might enjoy it a lot if I were to pick it up and give it another go.

Sadly I don’t have a 360 anymore, so I would have to buy the game for the PC. It’s currently $20 on Steam, and that seems like a bit much for it. I’ll probably wait until it goes on sale.

Getting sidetracked again. Anyway, another interesting thing about BrainHex is that it links each category to a brain region and chemical messenger. Both of the categories I fit into most (daredevil & survivor) are governed by the amygdala and adrenaline. This makes perfect sense to me, because now that I think about it the whole adrenaline thing extends beyond video games. My favorite music tends to be very energetic and active. Just listen to my favorite video game song. You can’t tell me that doesn’t get your blood pumping.

I recommend you take the quiz if you’re interested at all. It doesn’t take long, and it might make you realize something about your motivations to play games that you didn’t realize before. Hell, I linked to it twice in this one post, you have no excuse. And post your results here if you do take the quiz. I’m interested to see the variety of tastes you guys have.

More information about BrainHex can be found here.

EDIT: Does anyone know how to unlike these posts? I swear I didn’t mean to “like” my own post. That’d be a rather egotistical thing to do…

EDIT 2: Fixed.


11 responses

  1. David T.

    Nice read man. Turns out I’m a Conqueror-Mastermind, which seems kind of weird seeing as I’m so bad at RTSs. I’m guessing it’s referring to when I used to raid in WoW.

    May 18, 2011 at 1:55 AM

  2. Traagen

    Your BrainHex Class is Achiever.
    Your BrainHex Sub-Class is Achiever-Conqueror.

    You like collecting anything you can collect or doing everything you possibly can as well as defeating impossibly difficult foes, struggling until you eventually achieve victory, and beating other players.

    According to your results, there are few play experiences that you strongly dislike.

    Learn more about your classes and exceptions at BrainHex.com.

    Your scores for each of the classes in this test were as follows:

    Achiever: 17
    Conqueror: 15
    Mastermind: 13
    Seeker: 12
    Socialiser: 6
    Daredevil: 5
    Survivor: 4

    Pretty good. It is true that I rarely find a game that I don’t enjoy on some level. Same goes for movies as well.

    May 18, 2011 at 1:59 AM

  3. I think your observations about the Chemical messengers are spot on. As a Conqueror-Mastermind my chemicals are dopamine, which leads to habit formation, and norepinephrine which enhances the effects of dopamine. NO wonder I can’t stop playing games. So basically I agree that chemical messengers they pick are accurate.

    May 18, 2011 at 8:50 AM

  4. Pingback: BrainHex | MaxFF's Blog

  5. Tesh

    I tried this a while ago and wrote this about it:

    Brain Hex

    I just tried it again and it was pretty similar, though it seems that I’m a bit more “Mastermind” and “Achiever” oriented lately. That might be reflecting my hobby of *designing* games, where it’s all about masterminding things and actually getting designs done. Still, it’s a fun test.

    Recent scores:

    Mastermind: 19
    Seeker: 18
    Daredevil: 13
    Conqueror: 12
    Achiever: 6
    Socialiser: 4
    Survivor: -1

    (EASK on the Bartle, incidentally. 100/50/50/0)

    May 18, 2011 at 1:33 PM

  6. Tesh

    Hrm… looks like my link to my old article didn’t work. Here it is:


    May 18, 2011 at 1:35 PM

  7. Fang

    Your BrainHex Class is Survivor.

    Your BrainHex Class Your BrainHex Sub-Class is Survivor-Seeker.

    You like pulse-pounding risks and escaping from hideous and scary threats as well as finding strange and wonderful things or finding familiar things.

    Each BrainHex Class also has an Exception, which describes what you dislike about playing games. Your Exceptions are:

    » No Commitment: You dislike being asked to complete everything, preferring to pick and choose which tasks you will attempt, or simply messing around with a game.

    Learn more about your classes and exceptions at BrainHex.com.

    Your scores for each of the classes in this test were as follows:

    Survivor: 17
    Seeker: 17
    Daredevil: 11
    Conqueror: 11
    Socialiser: 6
    Mastermind: 2
    Achiever: -4

    That sounds about right for me.

    May 18, 2011 at 3:22 PM

  8. Ben

    Not to rehash the FO1 comments but I think your Brain Hex results show why you weren’t as enamored with FO1 as much as someone like myself.

    My Brain Hex Results:
    Mastermind: 20
    Seeker: 16
    Achiever: 13
    Conqueror: 9
    Socialiser: 4
    Survivor: 0
    Daredevil: -6

    While not quite polar opposites they are substantially different.

    May 18, 2011 at 4:24 PM

    • JPH

      I could see that. I think the two biggest reasons why I disliked it were reasons I didn’t even mention; it’s incredibly slow paced and the interface is awful.

      I was desperately trying to look beyond that and find something good in it, and after an hour of pulling teeth there was nothing, so I tossed it.

      May 18, 2011 at 6:25 PM

  9. Pingback: BrainHex « Knight of Fools

  10. Here’s another cool test I found. http://www.hypnoid.com/psytest2.html
    It’s not at all game related, and I think its complete bullshit, but the strangeness of the questions should make it worth your time to take. Seriously the strangest personality test I’ve ever seen.

    May 21, 2011 at 1:48 PM

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