It used to be my music collection that defined me, but these days my carefully ordered shelf of games is just as telling. These few boxes give away the fact that I’m introverted, cautious and enjoy human contact.
The games you keep in your collection define what sort of person you are, telling a story about not only your gaming history, but also your personality traits. If I could wander through your house and pick through the games on your shelves I could tell all manner of things about you – at least until I was discovered and arrested.
For example, if you have every Final Fantasy game ever released on every format, I could tell that you really don’t like loose ends. Whereas, if you pick and choose only the best games, keeping hold of Time Splitters 2 and Second Sight whilst ignoring Time Splitters 1 and 3, I’d know you are more concerned with quality than just the latest thing – a purist.
Maybe you have a collection of multiple Advance Wars games – you are definitely someone who doesn’t mind repetition. But if you have only kept Black Hole Rising, you’re obviously a little fussier about particular play modes. If you’ve only got Dual Strike in your collection then you want as much crammed into your games as possible. Days of Ruin is the choice if you have more refined, less-is-more tastes.
Then we have the sports franchises. If you keep hold of a favorite version of Madden, Tiger or FIFA then for you, functionality is more important than visual form. Or maybe you simply prefer the Wii’s Motion Plus controls for Tiger 10 rather than the high definition visuals of the PlayStation or 360 versions – you’d better face the fact that you are a pragmatist, valuing playability over visuals.
If you have more Platinum/Classics budget releases in your collection, you are patient enough to wait until the masses have moved on. Whereas if you have those first day special editions, the Halo 3 Legendary Pack for instance, you are a classic early adopter. But if your collection is peppered with repackaged editions – Fable II Limited Edition and Fallout 3 Game of the Year – you want the complete experience in one place; perhaps you don’t trust that download content.
Traditionalist gamers stick to the original experience, as opposed to the revisionist who is quite happy with a re-worked classic. If you got rid of your PS2 or Gamecube Resident Evil 4 in favor of the Wii version then straying from the originally intended game experience doesn’t bother you. But if you prefer the lounge friendly pointing of the New Play Control versions of Metroid, Pikmin or Mario Tennis, a modern update is enough for you to buy games a second or third time.
Similarly, extreme loyalist gamers will often buy titles again and again on different formats. Did you buy Super Mario World on the SNES, then again on the GBA and again on the Wii’s Virtual Console? You belong to a small group of super loyal players. But watch out, because when the DS re-release emerges you’ll be buying that, too – loyal to a fault.
As well as the games in your collection, the way you play says a lot about you. Maybe you are one of that dying breed of gamers who needs to compete against other people in the same room. You need the tactile human connection of real people sitting next to you – although it’s a stereotype, I know lots of girls who will only play like this. But more than a boy/girl thing, it’s about what you need to feel connected to other people. Is voice enough, or do we need more? If it’s the latter then maybe that long distance relationship isn’t such a good idea.
The in-game settings you choose also give away a lot about your persona. If you invert your Halo/Modern Warfare look controls so that pushing down looks up, your subconscious is behind your head – associated with a removed scientific world view that thinks before acting. If you don’t invert your controls so that pushing down looks down, your subconscious is in-front of your head, representing an involved artistic approach to life – act first, think later. The smallest difference in how you play games says a lot about who you are.
Finally, how (or if) you care for your collection says a lot about how you order your life. If your old games are stashed away under a bed then maybe you’re an introvert. But, if your games are displayed in a family room for all to see you’re more likely a heart-on-your-sleeve extraverted person. If you keep them in a particular order – chronological, alphabetical or by genre – these things are utmost in how you make sense of the world.
Completist or purist, kitchen sink or less-is-more, form or function, traditionalist or revisionist, loyalist or cost-savvy, invert or not, these things paint a picture of who you are as a gamer. Sure, it’s just pop-psychology, but it’s interesting because it’s about you and your community.
So what about me? I’m someone who likes unusual games, and rare or import titles. This, so my friends tell me, reflects my instinct to be on the margins of things. The highly ordered state of my game shelf reflects my need to control. Then there’s my down-is-up control preference that mirrors my more cautious science background. Finally, my absence from online multiplayer games speaks to my need for constant contact from those around me.
What sort of gamer are you?
Game People is a rag tag bunch of artisans creating awesomely bizarre reviews from across the pond.