Do killers rule the world?

I see a game in almost everything.
A game contains players, so by looking at something as a game, I also recognize the players. Players can be categorized in many ways.

The most popular one is Bartle’s Player types. Named after Richard Bartle, who created them based on the behavior of MMO players.

A model that is adopted by many in Gamification. It provides psychological portraits for MMO players.

One that professor Kevin Werbach categorizes as follows:


  • Achievers are interested in ACTING on the WORLD.  They are typical gamers, playing to “win”.  They give themselves game-related goals, and vigorously set out to achieve them.
  • Explorers like INTERACTING with the WORLD.  They delight in discovery.  They try to find out as much about the environment’s topology and physics.
  • Socializers are interested in INTERACTING with other PLAYERS.  They spend a lot of time chatting, and empathize with other players.
  • Killers like ACTING on other PLAYERS.  They wish to dominate them, either through bullying or politicking.  They use the tools of the game to cause distress to other players.

Richard Bartle says the following about killers:

Killers get their kicks from imposing themselves on others. This may be “nice”, ie. busybody do-gooding, but few people practice such an approach because the rewards (a warm, cosy inner glow, apparently) aren’t very substantial. Much more commonly, people attack other players with a view to killing off their personae (hence the name for this style of play). The more massive the distress caused, the greater the killer’s joy at having caused it. Normal points-scoring is usually required so as to become powerful enough to begin causing havoc in earnest, and exploration of a kind is necessary to discover new and ingenious ways to kill people. Even socializing is sometimes worthwhile beyond taunting a recent victim, for example in finding out someone’s playing habits, or discussing tactics with fellow killers. They’re all just means to an end, though; only in the knowledge that a real person, somewhere, is very upset by what you’ve just done, yet can themselves do nothing about it, is there any true adrenalin-shooting, juicy fun.

Killers says things like:

“Die! Die! Die!”

(Killers are people of few words).

In games there aren’t many real killers, they would spoil it for everyone. As a game is an imaginary world, this behavior won’t harm anyone. A killer would be judged and put to trial by the majority in no time. As a result the killer will back down, or he/she will be defeated. They play an important role because they are the reason that other players unite. To my regret this isn’t the case in the real world.

Do you recognize the killers in reality? People that gain power and use it to get total control. People that manipulate and use others to achieve their goals. People that trick others into doing things so they gain more power. People that only use a few words, like: you’re fired, take our offer, I don’t care, mind your own business, take it or leave it, etc, etc.

Lots of bankers, politicians, CEO’s of large organizations, could fit that description. Willing to do whatever it takes to stay on top, to keep in control. The only difference with the killers in a game is that these killers create real damage. They harm people, our environment and themselves (without even knowing it). For some reason, they have managed to stay on top for decennia. Exploiting, without any regrets, a large flock of sheep (the people). Which they occasionally use to harm others and our environment. Gamification might be a threat to them, because when they integrate it into their operation it exposes what is really going on and gives power to everybody involved, just like in the games. Within a game killers don’t rule for long, as we already learned.

Why am I writing this? Well, I see a change, a transition so to speak, more and more people have a chance of becoming a winner, without the need to turn into a killer. Large systems like: Facebook, Google, Kickstarter, Youtube, Instagram and Twitter, empower the majority. All of these systems can be seen, with al little imagination, as multiplayer games. Goals can vary, from gaining money, popularity, recognition and authority, to earning money. These objectives can be achieved by playing a fair game. Whatever Mark Zuckerberg or Larry Page might think, they only facilitate the systems they have created. The people control them! They are building the systems of the future and as soon as they realize what they have on their hands, they can change our Society for the better. If they don’t have the killer genes, we might look at a bright future. If not, others will build a new system that facilitates the needs of the people.

By infusing game elements in those systems, people will get a game like experience, be more engaged and this will bring these systems in balance. Can’t wait until this happens and will play my part in it. Gamification will bring these systems and the people closer together, so killers will play the role we want them to play; keeping the rest of us sharp.




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