Wednesday, October 21, 2009


I took International Hobo’s BrainHex test the other day and was surprised by the result: Socialiser-Mastermind. Socialiser, meaning multiplayer and social gaming (either online or with immediate company), and Mastermind, meaning puzzle solving and strategic thinking.

Mastermind is understandable as I’ve always been a fan games that require a little more thought, such as the Zelda series and RTS games, but Socialiser was a surprise. I’m not sure what else I expected, five years ago I might have said Conqueror (enjoys tough challenges and punishing failures. Plays for the sensation of victory), but lately I’ve found myself with less patience for games built around the classic hardcore mentality. Don’t get me wrong - I still enjoy a hard earned victory, it’s just I no longer get a thrill out of failing thirty times beforehand. Ten years ago I might have said Achiever (collects everything, plays all the game has to offer), but the completionist in me perished with Donkey Kong 64 (the ultimate collect-a-thon, which none the less I still completed to 101%), unless maybe it’s the odd Metroid game – but only because I’m a hopeless Metroid fanboy.

When I filled out the initial page of the survey I listed three single player games in the ‘games that exemplify what you enjoy about games’ section: Deus Ex (for its innovative design and roll playing), the Metroid series (for its labyrinthine level design) and the Zelda series (for its puzzle solving game play). I also checked ‘Single player alone’ as my preferred way of playing games, based on my all time favourite games and the sort of games I’ve been playing lately. However I did wish I could select multiple options as half of my gaming time involves playing TF2 during lunch with other people in the office. On page two I responded with ‘love’ or ‘like’ to most questions with very few ranked ‘ok’ and even less ‘disliked’, and often the social gaming related questions received high ranks. On the final page ‘sense of unity’, ‘puzzle solution’ and ‘hard-fought victory’ were my top three preferences (in that order).

I hindsight it’s obvious that the Socialiser class would have a large influence on the results, but until now I’ve given very little thought to the social side of the games I play. I should have though considering the amount of social gaming I’ve been doing in recent years: I played World of Warcraft for nearly three years, content to run the same dungeons and kill the same bosses over and over because I enjoyed the company of the people I was playing with; I play TF2 every lunch time and often some weeknights with the guys at work; and I’ve been to more than a few Guitar Hero/Rock Band parties. And yet all this time I’ve often thought about games in terms of the experience presented by the game itself, and rarely in terms of the social context and the people am I playing it with. There’s an important lesson to be learned there.

So I guess I shouldn’t be so surprised that the social experience is such an important influence on my gaming habits after all. Perhaps what’s surprising is it’s taken this survey to make me realise it!

My survey results in full:

Your BrainHex Class is Socialiser.

Your BrainHex Class Your BrainHex Sub-Class is Socialiser-Mastermind.

You like hanging around with people you trust and helping people as well as solving puzzles and devising strategies.

According to your results, there are few play experiences that you strongly dislike.

Learn more about your classes and exceptions at

Your scores for each of the classes in this test were as follows:

Socialiser: 20
Mastermind: 14
Daredevil: 11
Conqueror: 11
Achiever: 8
Seeker: 8
Survivor: 5

Go to to learn more about this player model, and the neurobiological research behind it.

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