The GAP System: Measuring Gamer/Game Compatibility
Or, How I Learned To Stop Dying, and Love Battlefield:Bad Company 2
They say that we are attracted to those who find us attractive. I think this applies to various “relationships”, including those between gamers and games. When trying to figure out why it is that I could play Gears of War almost exclusively for 2 years (a long and passionate relationship), and yet could not play its sequel for more than a couple of weeks without losing my mind (more of a fatal attraction), I eventually realized that it was simply a matter of the game not liking me: an irreconcilable incompatibility.
Exploring this revelation further, I discovered that this gamer/game relationship was almost quantifiable by what I now call “The GAP System”. Not so unlike the “Lovers Compatibility” tests that one might find in those magazines they sell near the counters in grocery stores (hee hee), The GAP System profiles games and gamers and helps explain why some FPS/TPS games work for a given person and others don’t.
GAP simultaneously stands for “Gamer Appeal Profile” and “Gamer Attribute Profile”. The Appeal Profile describes a given game by charting what the gamer must do or have, to experience success in the game. The Attribute Profile describes the gamer by charting the skills, attitudes, and other characteristics that he or she brings to gaming. To understand why a game is or is not enjoyable for a given gamer, all one has to do is compare the two profiles. As regards the hobby of gaming, I am convinced that only in rare cases do “opposites” attract, and therefore the closer that the gamer/game profiles resemble each other, the greater the potential for a long and happy relationship.
It should be noted that in the Appeal profile I use the phrase, “Importance To Experiencing Success” for rating the elements of a game. By success, I mean “fulfillment of purpose of gaming”. We game for a variety of purposes: entertaining ourselves, passing time, relaxing, hanging with friends. Yet for the most part, none of these are served if we are having a miserable time playing the game. When we profile a game, we discover to what degree each element will impact our chances of having fun, and in turn, to what extent the game will be fulfilling.
In its current form, the GAP System can only be used to compare profiles between gamers and FPS/TPS games. Discerning the elements required for more comprehensive appeal and attribute profiles is beyond my knowledge and experience in the other video game genres. It is my hope that if people find the GAP system insightful, or even just fun, that they might take this idea and run with it to make it more inclusive.
Ultimately, I have created the GAP system for myself. It helps me to understand why I love or hate a game.
Finally, while this system is prone to extreme subjectivity, I think it can be useful if the users are honest and consistent within their own ratings, understand its limitations, and have arguments to support their choices if they claim objectivity in their scores.
As you can see by the slideshow, since I can’t aim well, I probably won’t enjoy games like Modern Warfare 2, or Gears of War 2. On the other hand, Gears of War, Left4Dead, and BF:BC2 appear to be near perfect matches.
The full page profiles are here:
I have created Open Office Calc templates (Gamer Appeal Profile and Gamer Attribute Profile) so that everyone can create their own profiles, or take the system and run with it. I no longer have the original OpenOffices (Or at least, I can no longer find them). LOL I look forward to hearing your thoughts and criticism/suggestions.
Update: Templates are up (please see links above)! I was chatting with Kenny earlier this evening and he mentioned interest in broadening these to cover SP gaming and the other genres!