'A New Taxonomy of Gamers' – by Mitch Krpata

March 28, 2009 § 1 Comment

I have, only just recently, been made aware of this excellent 11-part series called “A New Taxonomy of Gamers“, written by the very talented Mitch Krpata of the Boston Phoenix newspaper and Paste magazine. It’s really just a fantastic piece of work that, as well as being well-written, is also extremely well thought-out.

Mitch makes the wise suggestion of doing away with the ‘casual’/’hardcore’ labels and instead, opts for a more sophisticated, more complex and, frankly, more useful system for broadly classifying gamers. To sumise his astute observations, he believes that we should start by dividing gamers into two broad categories: ‘Skill Player’ and ‘Tourist’. A ‘Skill Player’ is one who plays games to excel at them, either by perfecting their game through mastering the gameplay, or by exploring every facet of the game, making sure that no stone is left unturned. A ‘Tourist’ plays games for the experience of being absorbed and engrossed into the game world. To ‘Tourist’ players, playing a game is not about trying to ‘beat’ it,  but about having fun and taking in what’s available.

There are more categories to the taxonomy which Mitch introduces, and I recommend anyone interested to check out the full series of articles. With regards to the ‘hardcore’/’casual’ distinction: I think most gaming pundits have recognised for a long time the irrelevant and contradictory nature of those terms. It is only because there has been nothing to replace it with that they’ve stayed in the current vernacular for so long. Now, fortunately, an answer has been provided, and I’m all for embracing it.

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