Blog Archive

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

DIGRA05: Styles of Play, Steinkuehler

Session at DIGRA05 (

Styles of Play: Gamer-Identified Trajectories of Participation in MMOGs
Constance Steinkuehler , University of Wisconsin-Madison

Constance couldn’t make it so Kurt Squire presented instead. He started off by showing the Bartle player types and referred to the Liadon Interview (2004) and showed how he falls into both categories of achievers and socializers. (It made a good point, however I'm not sure anyone ever have suggested that the Bartle types exclude each other.) Steinkuehler has made a study using “repertory grid interview techniques (Fransella & Bannister, 1977) to elicit community-member identified categories (e.g., “kinds of people who play”) and their dimensions of similarity/difference in order to extend and elaborate Bartle’s (1996) original framework”. Squire gave us this list of constructs (?):

1. Social interdependence vs. social independence
2. Play vs. efficiency
3. Social negotiator vs. social aggressor
4. Game system knowledge
5. Prudence vs. risk taking

If I'm not mistaken these would be the categories, or constructs, that came up through the interviews with the players. Steinkuehler uses personal construct theories, and that would, according to her “enable the researcher to develop taxonomies representing how participants themselves carve their social world up into types and kinds rather than inferring such typologies from other sources. The result is a more indigenous framework for examining who plays MMOGs, how and why – one which allows us to get at the sense gamers themselves make of the social spaces they play in rather than the sense we as observers, designers, and researchers make of them.”
When formulated like this it seems somehow obvious that this would be a good way to do it. I’ll keep watch for her next publication, as I do since I heard her the first time at MUD Dev in the spring 2004.