The Six Player Gameplay Styles in Game Design


Controllers are all about what Steve Swink calls “game feel”.  These Player(s)s are generally focused on movement and the level of control and refinement they get through the Game System.  This can range from an FPS Shooter that really likes the twitch gameplay, or a Platforming Speed Runner that enjoys taking the tight turns and getting that perfect run.  These gamers enjoy making order out of chaos, and like to be quick on their feet in terms of decision making and strategy as well.


These gamers are a bit more focused on the narrative, lore, and world building elements of story within games than most.  They enjoy RPGs with a lot of story and side-quests, or a really well thought out Visual Novel that gets you caught up in the characters.  So called ‘Walking Simulators’ like Gone Home or What Happened to Ester or puzzlers like The Room or The Witness are also good for the conversationalist, as this category includes really in-depth communication with the Game System, no NPCs necessary.


These gamers are all about the content, and the more custom they can make it, the better.  Games like Recettear or the Atelier series of games are strong candidates for the Creator, but ‘messy, fun, and social’ games like Splatoon or Overcooked would also be of a certain appeal.  Similar to Craftsman below, Survival games like Minecraft or Rift would also appeal to Creators, but only with the ability to build uninterrupted and as they pleased.


The Combatant is probably the most Gamer of the gamers we are listing, as they are all about proving their dominance through superior skill and strategy.  This does not need to imply any level of violence, as gamers that would prefer games like Chess, Go, or even Solitaire would find their homes here.  These gamers are about testing their own personal limits, and pushing themselves to greater heights through high-pressure situations.  In addition to your Call of Duty or Halo type, this would also be the place for gamers who love Action-Adventure games like Uncharted or personal achievement platformers like Super Meat Boy or Celeste.


These gamers are about putting on a show, whether that is on their own or with a group of people.  This would include some of your more obvious games like Harmonix’ Guitar Hero or the new hit Fall Guys, but also social games like the Jackbox Party Packs or MMORPGs like World of Warcraft, League of Legends, or Overwatch.  This would also include those who play games like Call of Duty for the esports  or Twitch appeal, that get their joy of gaming from exemplary play amongst peers.


Craftsmen are focused on Quality over quantity, and like games that reflect a similar mentality.  These gamers find a lot of fun in RPGs like Path of Exile or Diablo, where you can spend a lot of time and thought in crafting just the right build.  It’s also the home of your typical collecting gamer, for fans of gatcha-style games like Pokemon or Genshin Impact.  Craftsmen do love crafting, so as mentioned survival games like Rust, Don’t Starve, or Subnautica would also be appealing.