Game Design and the Challenge-Avoiding, Self-Validator Player Type

Game Design and the Challenge-Avoiding, Self-Validator Player Type

Carrie Heeter (Michigan State University, USA), Brian Magerko (Georgia Tech University, USA), Ben Medler (Georgia Tech University, USA) and Joe Fitzgerald (Michigan State University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/jgcms.2009070104
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Achiever and Explorer player types are well known in MMOs and educational games. Players who enjoy being a winner, but dislike hard challenges (“Self-Validators”) are a heretofore ignored but commonly occurring player type. Self-Validators worry about and are distressed by failing. They can simply avoid playing overly difficult games for entertainment. But in a required learning game, Self-Validators’ excessive worry about failing can interfere with learning. The authors consider whether and how eight very different modern games accommodate Explorers, Achievers, and Self-Validators and discuss implications for entertainment and learning game design and research. Seven of eight diverse games analyzed primarily served either the Explorer or Achiever player type. Self-Validators were partially accommodated in some Achiever-oriented games, through user-selectable difficulty. Design with all three types in mind would encourage inclusion of features that enable players to optimize their preferred style of play.

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