With more gaming options and platforms than ever before, gamers these days come in all ages, shapes and sizes. However, there are a series of factors that group us all together and allow us to be broken down and grouped into different categories.
From how you approach playing games in general, to the type of games you like play and how you play them, to the time you spend playing them, there are dozens of characteristics that can be used to tell different kinds of gamers apart.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at 10 of the most pervasive types of gamer that we’ve encountered in our decades of gaming experience and see if you can recognise yourself in any of them. You might fit the description of one type to a tee, or see aspects of yourself in several of them. Either way, don’t take it too seriously. I’m talking to you, Super Competitive Gamer!
Super Competitive Gamer
Super Competitive Gamers only have one goal in mind, and it isn’t having a casual good time. For this kind of gamer there is no such thing as a friendly match; the only option is winning, and all enjoyment from playing a game comes only when raising their arms in celebration after having vanquished their foes by means of outscoring, outplaying, and/or outwitting them.
Every single game the Super Competitive Gamer plays is the most important battle that they’ve ever waged, and they are simply unable to accept a defeat – particularly when playing against friends. They will demand a best out of three. Then five. Then as many as it takes to emerge a winner, or until they see they have no chance of winning at which point they will lose interest in the game completely, or return to their lair and sharpen up their skills incessantly to prepare for next week’s rematch.
The Backseat Gamer
Every one of us knows a Backseat Gamer. When they're playing a game with friends and it’s time for the Backseat Gamer to play, they refuse to take the controller, instead content with shouting out directions and criticisms instead. The Backseat Gamer knows they're not a particularly good player, and so they enjoy watching others play and contributing with MST3K-style commentary.
If the Backseat Gamer joins in the middle of a session, they will be full of distracting questions regarding the gameplay, story, characters, and mission you are currently trying to accomplish. The more chaos going on, the more delighted the Backseat Gamer will be.
“Wait, who is that?” “Why do you need to kill that giant spider? It’s just minding its own business!” “Did you fall off that cliff to see what was down there?”.
If you can manage to not lose your patience after five minutes of listening to the Backseat Gamer, you’re a bigger person than we are.
The Gambler’s defining feature is that playing a game alone is not enough excitement for him. There has to be something at stake for them to really get into the game, regardless of what that something is.
Whether betting their lunch money, a slap, shaving the loser’s eyebrows, or the always popular ‘eating something disgusting’ bet, the gambler requires that extra motivation to truly bring out their 'A' game. Whether it’s the fear of the punishment of the voyeuristic thrill of seeing his opponent pay the price for losing, they flourish whenever there is something at stake.
The Gambler can also be divided into different subcategories as illustrated by Vikingslots, depending whether they favour being cautious and over prepared, or just like taking huge risks in the hope the payoff will be epic.
These nostalgic gamers never quite made the transition into the modern gaming age, with its overwhelming lifelike 3D graphics and aimless open worlds. Anything from the N64 forward is heresy to them, as instead they decided to keep themselves in what they consider the golden age of gaming: back when pixelated 8-bit arcade games ruled the world and console cartridges needed to be blown on to get them to work (for some still unexplained reason).
Old-School Gamers will usually own working antique consoles such as Atari, Nintendo or Sega Genesis with dozens of titles and accessories like Power Gloves and light zappers. Anything that's not correctly retro styled is just no good.
The most hardcore of these gamers treat old school games like a religion, and are so set in their ways that they refuse to even try out modern games as it would be considered the ultimate sin.
The Destructive Gamer’s main concern is not winning the game, but rather how they win it. An absolute force of nature, the Destructive Gamer's main objective is to destroy everything and everyone that crosses their path, leaving their signature path of ruin wherever they go.
If it can be wounded, killed, destroyed or exploded you can count on the Destructive Gamer to take care of it, regardless of whether they should be busy with another task at hand – that can wait. There is nothing that will bring this gamer more joy than figuring out creative ways to take out the competition, whether it be AI in single player or real-life competitors in online multiplayer.
Trophy Hunter Gamer
Much like the Destructive Gamer, the Trophy Hunter Gamer also has other bigger priorities than just winning the game. Mainly, they want to find and win everything the game offers.
With modern games providing a plethora of hidden treasures and abundant missions to be accomplished throughout the gameplay, Trophy Hunter Gamers will not rest until every single secret has been uncovered and every possible accomplishment trophy or unlockable item is in their possession – no matter how useless these achievements may actually be.
Puzzle Gamers enjoy games that truly work out their brain’s muscles. The more complex and difficult the puzzles are to figure out, the more they will enjoy the process of working out how the game’s dynamics and inner logics work, and trying out different logic-based approaches until they find the correct one. They will also aspire to find the optimal approach that will result in beating the puzzle in the least amount of moves, proving their superior cognitive capabilities.
To Puzzle Gamers, games are not necessarily meant to be a competition against other players as much as they are an opportunity to compete against themselves and prove their supreme puzzle solving abilities.
Much like social drinkers, Social Gamers tend to keep their gaming to when they are around other people. While they tend to enjoy playing all sorts of games, they mainly do it for the social interaction that they provide.
Mainly fans of party games, multiplayer shooters, sports games and board games, the games themselves are only a means of having fun with their friends and blowing off some steam, but not really compelling enough to engage them in their own alone time.
The extreme opposite of the Social Gamer, Hardcore Gamers eat, breathe and sleep video games. For the most part, they avoid social contact to instead hole themselves up in a room lit only by their computer screen and immerse themselves in MMORPG games like World of Warcraft, EVE or Guild Wars, and have ten times more friends online than they do ‘IRL’.
Hardcore Gamers are usually extreme escapists who will basically plan their entire lives around gaming, whether it is marathon campaigns lasting days, blogging about games, watching Twitch streams of gaming tournaments, participating in gaming forums, or even beta testing upcoming titles. They take pride in all of the gaming achievements they’ve accomplished as much as you would your new promotion at work.
Perhaps the most despised kind of gamer, The Cheater is only in it for the glory and the bragging rights that come at the end of a challenging duel or quest – without having to deal with the challenging part.
While Trophy Hunter Gamers will go to often absurd lengths to earn every unlockable item and special gear, Cheaters will exploit cheat codes, loopholes, or bugs to achieve this, along with outright purchasing these items from others when possible.
Older Cheaters will likely have owned a Game Genie or Game Shark, and will use every advantage they can find to win the game without properly making the effort, missing the point completely.
Let us know what kind of gamer you are in the comments below. Me, I'm sometimes a bit of a Destructive Gamer, sometimes a Trophy Hunter, and occasionally a bit of a Gambler. I haven't managed to get someone to shave off their eyebrows yet though, unfortunately.