Full Spectrum Gamer

Full Spectrum Gamer
The Magic of Spike and Timmy

Patrick Jarrett | 1 Jun 2010 12:08
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The first profile that was identified was the professional tournament player, later nicknamed Spike. The idea for the Magic Pro Tour began in 1994 with an invitational tournament at Gen Con, the huge gaming convention begun by the late Gary Gygax. Although the first tournament did not have a cash payout, the format was quickly expanded by Rosewater, a relatively new hire, and Brand Manager Skaff Elias. They hoped that by generating buzz about these great players and the decks that they used, Magic would spread even more than it already was.

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From Zak Dolan (the winner of that first event at Gen Con) to Simon Görtzen who won the last Pro Tour event in San Diego this winter, Spikes play the game to win. That's what is most important. They will spend their time researching and devising the best possible decks, using the best cards that supply the best possible combinations. The competition is their motivation and winning gives them the best feelings.

"Spike plays the game to prove something," Rosewater said. "He uses the game as a metric to test himself and show what he is capable of."

Timmy is different; he wants to play big spells and summon big creatures. For a Timmy, winning all of the time isn't necessarily important. A Timmy could play ten matches and lose all of them but if he was able to play that huge 9/9 flying dragon with first strike in the last match, he might still walk away happy.

"Timmy plays to experience something," explained Rosewater. "He wants to do things that are fun and exciting. He wants to make memorable moments that he can share with his friends."

Demographically, the average age of a Timmy skews towards the younger players, but that doesn't mean that older players don't sometimes fall under the spell of, well, casting big spells. Having such huge monsters at your command is really fun for some players and they crack open every booster pack of Magic cards hoping that there is a huge rare card on top.

Johnny plays the game for the subtleties. The rules text of any given card can interact with other cards in interesting ways that aren't always obvious. A Johnny loves to find these cards and construct a deck that perfectly takes advantage of a loophole or a unique combination. In fact, just crafting a deck of 60 cards from the thousands of cards available in Magic is a source of joy for Johnny. He wouldn't enjoy playing a deck that someone else had compiled and scoffs at the idea of pre-made decks.

"Johnny plays to express something. He uses the game as a way to demonstrate things about himself, most often his intelligence and creativity," Rosewater said. "These psychographics have proven invaluable as a design tool because understanding what our players need to enjoy the game makes it much easier to include those elements. The tricky thing is that there are three psychographics and each of those has numerous subgroups meaning that there are dozens and dozens of things desired by different types of players."

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