Why do we play video games?

Online psychological tests are generally to be avoided. But I took one this morning that feels useful and entertaining. It comes with a set of pleasing illustrations that demonstrate a certain level of professionalism and seriousness.

Piwag’s “gamer psychographic profile” asks a few dozen questions about your gaming preferences and habits. Based on a six-point scale, it wants to know if you enjoy games with big stories, or tons of challenge, or a hint of nostalgia, or a romantic edge. By the end, it builds up a picture of why you play games.

My profile is below. Compared with other people, it did not surprise me to learn that I love games loaded with narrative, history and feelings. Nor did it surprise me that I don’t much care for games about finicky control, ultra competition or social bragging rights.

Piwag gamer psychographic profile for Colin Campbell
Colin’s gamer profile, according to Piwag.
Piwag

I was surprised to find out that I value social cooperation more than the average player, and that I’m the sort of person who prefers games with clear boundaries and narrative corridors. I’ve always thought of myself as an open-world kind of chap.

The overall results for all participants offer useful insights into our collective motivations for playing games. Immersion comes at the top, with players seeking “distinctive atmosphere, polished, coherent, immersive” worlds. This feels like a fairly vague catch-all, so it’s not too great a surprise for the number-one slot.

full list is available here.

Obviously, online surveys have their limitations, but this one is fun to take and offers plenty of food for thought. You can take the test here.

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