One of Belle's favorite hobbies is to take a personality test (such as the Meyers-Briggs) once every couple of months. She makes me take the same test, and then she reads our results aloud. The description for her type never explicitly says "finds personality test results comforting," but it probably should. I'm skeptical of the whole thing, frankly, but then someone with my personality type would be.
I found myself thinking about profiles after having a conversation with a friend about the appeal of Diablo (or lack thereof). I understand the theory behind the Diablo formula--combining the random reward schedule of an MMO with a sense of punctuated but constant improvement--but games based on this structure (Torchlight, Borderlands) leave me almost entirely unmoved.
For better or worse, game design increasingly leverages psychological trickery to keep players interested. I think Jonathan Blow convincingly argues that this kind of manipulation is ethically suspect, and that it displays a lack of respect for the player as a human being But perhaps it's also an explanation for why Diablo doesn't click for me, but other people obsess over it: we've got different personality profiles.
I think the idea of a Meyers-Briggs profile for game design is kind of a funny idea. So as a thought exercise, here's a quick list I threw together of personality types, focused mainly on psychological exploits common in game design. I figure most people--and most games--have a mix of these, just in larger or smaller proportions. Some of them may even overlap a little.
There's probably a good way to simplify these, or sort them into a series of binaries or groups, if you wanted to make it more like a legitimate personality quiz. Still, looking over this list, I do feel like it's better at describing my own tastes than a simple list of genres. I think I rank high for Audience, Mechanic, and Buttonmasher, and low for Storyteller, Completionist, and Grinder--makes sense for someone who loves story-driven FPS and action-RPGs, but generally dislikes open-world games and dungeon crawlers.
Such a list certainly helps to describe how I approach any given title: concentrating more on getting through the narrative and learning the quirks of the system, less on grabbing all the achievements or experimenting with the environment. I almost wish reviewers ranked themselves on a system like this--it'd make it a lot easier to sort out whether my priorities sync with theirs.
In general, I agree with Blow: the move toward psychological manipulation as a part of game design is at best something to be approached with great caution. At worst, it's actually dangerous--leading to the kinds of con-artistry and unhealthy addiction in Farmville and (to a lesser extent) WoW. I don't think we can eliminate these techniques entirely, because they're part of what makes gaming unique and potentially powerful. But it would probably be a good idea to understand them better, and package them in a way that people can easily learn to be aware of them, similar to the ways that we teach kids about advertising appeals now. After all, as other sectors adopt "gamification," industry-standard psychological manipulation is only going to get more widespread.