Monday, January 30, 2006

Knowin' your gamer

Robin posted a good anecdote that serves as a reminder that those of us in the games biz often forget what it's like for the rest of the customer base that isn't.

This is especially true for casual games, where the audience is so varied that falling into the "develop for yourself" trap can be far more dangerous than it is in first-person-shooter-land.

Anyhow, that got me thinking. As you may have noticed from recent posts, I've been playing Guitar Hero. Who else is playing it? if I were teh developer of that game, and had developed it for the MTV crowd (assumption) would I know if the audience strayed from that demographic? Would I know HOW people played it?

And then I hit upon a nifty thing, at least for "performance" games like DDR and GH. I typed "guitar hero" into Google Video.


Well, you can do the same yourself and see the result, but here are a few choice bits:

Webcam looking down fretboard.

Playing with the feet.

This kid needs a wireless peripheral so the cord won't interfere with his playing while spinning on his back!

And here's a crazy DDR vid for good measure. Compare to how I've seen it played in Japan (I'm not sure if it gets played that way in the US, but I've seen it in arcades in Japan). The former is about beating the game, the latter is about doing it in style (hitting the pads with knees and hands, not just feet, and also turning the back to the screen at times. Here's another, with two guys sometimes climbing the machine itself. I guess the competitive angle is worldwide, but there certainly seems to be a difference in styles.

Anyhow, there's some cool, free non-quantifiable market research for you! Check it out!

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