What I’m Playing Like – the BrainHex Model

There are a lot of quizzes out there that promise to define what kind of gamer you are, and I’ve taken a few of them here and there. But what if a survey looked at the personality types that drive the different goals of gaming, and matched you to a “class” based on how you enjoy playing?

The people at International Hobo Ltd have been studying gamers, game design, and game satisfaction for over a decade. To quote the BrainHex website:

“The goal of this research is to make better games for everyone, to investigate the barriers which stop some players from enjoying video games, and to appreciate the many different reasons why players enjoy some play experiences and hate others.”

This feels particularly relevant to me because I only recently upgraded to a PS3 console, and my friends have been all too happy to start recommending me games left and right. And while I appreciate their interest and their inputs, I find it so difficult to explain why so many of their suggestions just don’t suit me. But, having taken the BrainHex Survey, I finally have an excellent tool to evaluate different game suggestions and how they fit my “game personality”.

The BrainHex Model uses 7 core “goals” – drivers of behaviour that can be found across the gamut of games: seeking, escaping, thrills, puzzle solving, winning, relating, and collecting. By measuring your preference in certain areas over others, you can garner a solid picture of what kind of games will appeal best to the drives that satisfy you the best.

Seekers are driven by the urge to explore. They are impressed by beautiful and expansive landscapes, always wanting to know what’s over that hill? The wondrous, the curious, and the secret are the treasures of the Seeker.

The Survivor finds excitement in terror. They love to be scared, to be out of control, to look a monster straight in the eye and run screaming.

Daredevils, as their name suggests, are the thrill seekers. Speed, dizzying heights, pressure, and snap judgements are the opiates of the Daredevil. As long as they remain in control, they enjoy the rush.

For the Conqueror the only victory worth winning is the one you have to fight for. Conquerors are driven to face overwhelming odds, to struggle against adversity and unbeatable odds. Repetition is no barrier to the Conqueror, for whom victory is especially sweet.

Strategising and puzzle solving are the domains of the Mastermind. Forward planning and diabolical challenges drive Masterminds, the more complicated and abstract the better.

Socialisers are the “people” people of the gaming world. To them, multiplayer isn’t just enough, they want to interact with people beyond beating them (like the Conqueror). They are the priests and clerics of the world, highly social and/or cooperative games are right up their alley.

100% completion is the goal of the Achiever. They want to collect everything that can be collected, they want to unlock every trophy, grind every mission in their quest log.

When you take the short BrainHex Survey, you are asked to compare the different goals and drives – rank them against each other, or indicate how much you enjoy various aspects of them. From this, the model ranks your preferences from strongest to weakest. The area you score highest in is you “class”, your sub-class being the second-highest.

If you you score particularly poorly in one area, you also have what the model calls an “exception” – drives that will turn you off a gaming experience. While more well-rounded gamers may not have an exception (they rate all aspects of gaming fairly highly), some people like myself have certain things they really don’t like being asked to do.

My Results

Exception: No Pressure

Seeker: 19
Achiever: 17
Mastermind: 13
Socialiser: 5
Survivor: 2
Conqueror: 2
Daredevil: -4

I wasn’t even a little surprised when I read the interpretation of my results. I’m the kind of player who is compelled to walk to every corner of every map – even the slightest gap in the map bugs me until I can investigate it and assure myself that it really isn’t a narrow pathway to a whole new place to explore. I’m the kind of player who stealths into Maraudon just to sit and enjoy the beautiful scenery. I’m the kind of player who starts out with the best of intentions, but always quickly turns to the walkthroughs to make sure they haven’t missed any chests (and is disappointed to learn that, in fact, they have). I’m the kind of player who – although rarely clever enough to actually succeed – feels immense satisfaction when they solve a puzzle or challenge all by themselves.

At the other end of the spectrum, I hate games that require me to react quickly. I hate games that pit me against other players. I don’t handle stress or shocks well, and I tend to panic, my hands start to shake. The model really pegged me with the “no pressure” exception.

I was, admittedly, a little surprised that my Socialiser score was so low, but I blame that on the fact that most multiplayer games are competitive. I strongly prefer cooperative games (picking healing characters, where applicable), but I’ve seen so few out there, I think that some of my responses in the survey were coloured by how I feel about gaming as it it, not in a more ideal sort of situation where cooperative multi-players weren’t so uncommon (and I wasn’t so socially malnormal, and actually had friends to play with).


BrainHex Home
BrainHex Survey

Class: Seeker
Class: Survivor
Class: Daredevil
Class: Mastermind
Class: Conqueror
Class: Socialiser
Class: Achiever

What do those funny-looking hexagons mean?
Dual-class Icons



~ by ghostwolfe on October 12, 2010.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: