What Gamer Type Are You?

In school, I was often called the “daydreamer”. The one usually lost in his own head. I was this way with my friends, too. The ones repeating what they were saying just didn’t know what kind of adventures were in my head! If you were anything like me when I was in school, then you can relate. If you weren’t like me, chances are you could have picked a student like me out of the lineup. They were the kids off exploring new things or just in the “space” of their own heads. The journey, as they say, is more important than the destination for kids like me, and that was my modus operandi! I LOVED exploring all the content in front of me, not necessarily where it led. 


All that being said, I was a good student. I did what I was supposed to do and (mostly) turned my work in on time. But what did my teachers think of me? Asking my parents this recently, they remembered during conferences that many teachers thought I was a “good kid, but a little spacey.” They didn’t know that I LOVED the content. They didn’t know how to tap into that, either.

My educational past sometimes had an “us versus them” mentality. Gamification allows me to think differently about classroom engagement and community. As soon as I started gamifying, my classroom felt like a partnership. We were all tapping into our strengths, our passions, and relying on others to accomplish big things. Plus, gamifying is just plain fun!  “But Sean, how can I start knowing my kids in a way that’s meaningful?” you might be asking yourself...

Enter the Bartle Quiz.

The Bartle personality quiz is based on a theory by Richard Bartle that describe how gamers (specifically video gamers) interact with others or the game itself. The theory illustrates four main types of players- griefers (or provokers), achievers, explorers, and socializers (or diplomats). Each type has their own strengths within the game, and play distinctly different than others. Let’s dive deeper into each type:

Achievers 🌟: these are the kinds of players who gain experience points and unique items, and love to let others know about their achievements. They look for praise from others, because they want to be recognized as the “top players”. They have the coolest things, and the best scores!

In the Class: these students are always looking for ways to “achieve” (hence the name!). Having others simply know about their accomplishments is sometimes more valuable than the actual grade itself. Give them opportunities for them to shine in front of others! They might also set goals for themselves if the initial challenge isn’t enough.

Some Gamifying ideas for Achievers:

  • Self-Grading and Reflection
  • Team or Class-Wide Leaderboard
  • Offer Rare and Unique Experiences or Items!
  • Leveling Up w/ Classroom Privileges
  • Classroom Leaderboard and Badges
  • Turn Quizzes into Boss Battles!


What should this achiever’s badge be???

Explorers 👨‍🚀: other players would benefit from explorer’s wisdom and knowledge! These players are in it for gained experiences and secrets, not obtainable by just anyone. They often work with other explorers to enrich themselves.

In the Class: remember that these students are in it for the journey, not necessarily the destination! They may have a more difficult time with traditional assessments, and are ready to move on to the next thing to explore. Lasting memories and experiences mean a lot to them!

Some Gamifying ideas for Explorers:

  • Have Game Secrets! (Easter Eggs)
  • Create Epic Moments in Your Story (be dramatic!)
  • Puzzles and Mysteries
  • Try Matera’s Adventure Quests!
  • Dive Deep in Your Game’s Theme


When’s the last time your students went on a journey?

Socializers 🎩: other players would benefit from explorer’s wisdom and knowledge! These players are in it for gained experiences and secrets, not obtainable by just anyone. They often work with other explorers to enrich themselves.

In the Class: we can spot these students a mile away! Believe it or not, these types of players are prevalent in the game world. Try to tap into this group by creating opportunities to work in groups. They thrive with others! Help them reframe their discussions using sentence frames and teamwork.  

Some Gamifying ideas for Socializers:

  • Ice-Breakers and Team-Builder Activities
  • Group Students with Challenges
  • Create a Sub-Group in Your Class (elite club)
  • Give Them a Chance to Share


Does your mindset need to shift in order to tap into this strength?

Griefers ☠: sometimes called “killers”, they like to show their superiority over others. They only pursue things that will specifically help them. These are the players that Matera considers “efficient”, though. In his example, they’d rather defeat and take an item from a player who spent 8+ hours just getting it. Why bother to work that hard when there’s a better path?

In the Class: these students are the ones that can spot mistakes by others (especially by you). Finding a typo in a book or be pitted up against other players to show off their skills describes some favorite activities. They can also be used in teams to defend their prestige and rank. A valuable ally!

Some Gamifying ideas for Griefers:

  • Player VS Player (PVP) Opportunities
  • A Chance to Use Items Against Others!
  • Bragging Rights!
  • One On One Challenges
  • Multiple Paths to Assessment and Learning


Don’t underestimate the power of provoking!

Besides knowing how your students operate, knowing YOURSELF can be even more valuable! As you may have guessed, my innate explorer tendencies led me to tailor my classroom to my preferred player-type. Do yourself a favor, and take the quiz to find out what biases you may have when creating your own classroom experiences. And once you do that, the options are endless for how you can use this student data in your class!   

Just remember the end-goal: building relationships and making lasting experiences. Make your classroom one they will never forget and start with the Bartle Quiz today!

BONUS: this is a very special GIF-inspired version! To know how to set up your quiz like mine, check out this video on YouTube here! You can also ask me questions on Twitter @teachforthought.

Make a copy of these to get started:

  1. Copy of the Quiz Here
  2. Quiz Add-On Tutorial Here
  3. Player Results Page Example Here


Guest Post: by: Sean Dugan-Strout @teachforthought  Sean's Blog: Teachforthought