I just finished reading A New Taxonomy of Gamers, and I’m very impressed with how the author defines gamers. It’s a lengthy read, one that I will likely return to when I’ve let the contents digest a bit. The author dispels the labels of hardcore and casual gamers, and gives a convincing argument for other labels. According to the article, I would fall in the are of a Tourist player, as I play games for the primary purpose of being involved in the story, to see new things, to witness a story, and to experience the media. As a Tourist, I don’t try to collect every single hidden item or unlock every single level or beat the game on hard mode. I’m more inclined to play through a game, and if the game is compelling enough (and not too hard), I’ll play the game until its end. I finish games, rather than beat them.
Another definition that the author discusses is the concept of Premium versus Wholesale gamers. Wholesale gamers want a really low cost or gameplay per hour. That is, they appreciate really, really long games. As a father of three who has other entertainment options, I fall more into the Premium gamer camp. I appreciate a game with a good story, but one that can be finished in a reasonable amount of time. In other words, Premium gamers want a little more bang for their buck. The two definitions are kind of fuzzy to me, and I likely fall into both camps. I buy cheap games (the old stuff in the bargain bins), but I generally buy games that don’t take 50 hours to complete. However, I’ve also logged a few hours in a couple of RPGs, so some of my games may cause me to trend more towards the Wholesale camp.
Lately I’ve been happiest when working through games like Ratchet & Clank (Going Commando, Size Matters, Up Your Arsenal, Syphon Filter (Dark Mirror and Logan’s Shadow), Metal Gear Solid:2 & 3, and Daxter. There’s no coincidence that with the exception of Logan’s Shadow and Metal Gear Solid 3, that these are games that I have recently finished. All of these games allow someone like me to experience the game without having to entirely master the game. I can complete the game with perfecting every single aspect of the game. However, it should be noted that each of these games also caters to the Perfectionist games, as there are multiple ways to play the game, lots of unlockable, multiple difficulty levels, all of which are geared towards gamers who hope to truly master a game or beat in into submission. Fortunately, those modes are optional, which is likely the reason I was actually able to finish the games in the list. None of the games in the list force me into playing in a manner that I’m not comfortable with, and therefore allow me to enjoy the game in my own way.