Puzzling Personalities: Pillar Released (And Has A Demo)

That's a tree.

I dislike the notion that people have fixed, easily-reducible personalities. Are you an introvert or an extrovert? What’s your Meyers-Briggs personality type? These questions, and more, I dread in polite conversation. They’re behaviours, aren’t they, rather than a fixed core? Attitudes we can, and regularly do, flit between. But trust an INTP like me to use my dominant introverted thinking in such a way, yeah? (I don’t know what that means.)

This waffle is brought to you by noticing the release of Pillar [official site], a puzzle game where each puzzle revolves around a particular personality type. It has a demo too.

Still, if these personality types are really types of behaviour, that’s useful too. Mercy knows a little more awareness of, and reflection on, what we’re doing could help us all. They’ll certainly help in Pillar. It’s set in a snowy town gone a bit weird, looking pretty run-down and with folks in the streets who are gonna get ya. Getting around, and around them, will involves switches and portals and stealth and distraction and manipulation.

Creator Michael Hicks explains in a post on the PlayStation Blog:

“I’m also a fan of psychology, one way of looking at this game is as a representation of the Myers-Briggs self-assessment test; every psychological preference in that test is represented in the game. While this isn’t a science, I’m often amazed at how insightful the results are into how I, and also my friends and family, work internally. The idea of experiencing how other types of people make decisions and operate through gameplay excites me, since this is something the test alone can’t do.”

I’ve only had a quick poke at the demo, but the different puzzle types were quite interesting, with a different tone in the characters and style too. Braid is obviously a big influence. Pillar doesn’t explain much either, which leads to nice “What is this what is she doing what happens if I press this oh I see” moments. I’m not really one for puzzle games, though, so don’t look to me for a ruling. Play it yourself, yeah?

It’s £5.49 from Humble Store and that demo’s over here.

I took another Meyers-Briggs test a minute ago and either I’ve had a massive mental break (possible), or I’m just feeling a bit ENFP-y this morning.


  1. Villephox says:

    The Meyers-Briggs test is has been proven to not really mean much, and I’m typically miffed when it comes up, but I have to say, I’m intrigued by how it might be used as the basis for a puzzle game. I’ll have to give the demo a go tonight.

    • Martel says:

      I am with you on both accounts. I have found one good use for the MBTI though… People at my company that put stock in it for business purposes are also the people you do not want to associate with ☺

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      Hodge says:

      This Vox article from last year makes a pretty good case for why it’s basically nonsense (and why it’s remained popular regardless).

  2. Rwlyra says:

    Socionics > MBTI.

  3. daphne says:

    Ah, questioning the legitimacy of MBTI while disclosing one’s type is one of my favourite pastimes. Also cue discussion about how Socionics is better/worse. INFJ / ILI reporting in.

    • Rosveen says:

      SLI here, throwing in a vote for the superiority of socionics. As fruitless as this discussion would probably be, I’m secretly pleased to see it mentioned because I usually get blank stares when I bring up socionics in a primarily English-speaking environment.

  4. jrodman says:

    meyers briggs is a list of some properties. They’re certainly not core defining ones, and the way the test works of course means that it’s really a combination of which questions you get and your self-perception which changes more often than your personality.

    However these people attempting to deconstruct it make a variety of false claims, like that the test is based on binary selection, or that it is supposed to have predictive power. Those are deconstructions of how people typically try to shove the data into little boxes, and use them like astrology.

    It’s a very limited evaluation of self-perception and may have no practical value, but that alone doesn’t make what is being evaluated false or invalid. You’d have to come up with much stronger deconstructions to indicate that.

    • jrodman says:

      Scientific value aside, i will say it has the same potential positive upside as astrology does. It’s a system that posits a variety of scalars that people can vary on, and encourages them to think about varying personality types.

      Yes the idea of fixed types and invariants is a potential harm, but I think a lot of people have had their social repertoire expanded by realizing how people vary as a result of both instruments.