"El Tango de la Muerte" ('The Tango of Death') it's like a "Osu" on a dance floor. I just wanted to do something beautifull with a big cultural footprint. The player controls a dance couple who has to move to the rhythm of the music. Each song represents a level of the game and adds new features. The game is set in the Argentina of the 20's on the world of Tango, music and dance. The story is about a boy who learns to dance Tango, a love from childhood that he leaves and meets years after an exile. It is a personal project, built by a person, with the exception of music. YIRA is the name of an awesome band that puts the music into this game. They took tango to modern days.
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Something I often observe at conventions is a player finishing a colleague's game, giving a thumbs-up, receiving one in return, and then the player leaves. What a missed opportunity for valuable feedback! DON'T LET THIS HAPPEN!!!
I typically use conventions to playtest my games. At events like EVA 2023 (Exposición Argentina de Videojuegos / Argentine Video Game Exhibition), where admission is free, both players and developers share the same space, and I love it.
I've developed a list of questions over time, which I've iterated for various games. It's not an extensive list, just the ones I consider most important. I shared it with some colleagues, and they found it quite useful. So, why not share this experience with more colleagues?
This game easily captivates players (they play several minutes at every sit down), so I ended up playtesting with about 20 people per day (from 14:00 to 20:00). What I typically do is approach random people and say, 'Here, play this game; it's about killing people' (not entirely true, but close enough). They usually respond with, 'Sure!'. Then, I stand behind them like a creep, taking notes on the back of the questionnaire if something interesting happens.
When the player finishes playing, I read the questionnaire for them and take notes of their answers. (I usually print a page with 4 repeated lists of questions, to get like 100 copies).
I also include a header with less critical information, like how far they progressed, whether they used a keyboard or controller, and their prior experience with shooter or car games, among other things.
I was indeed playtesting this game, just in case you were curious...
After that, I give them a card, ask them to wishlist the game, and express a huge “THANK YOU, YOU HELPED US A LOT!”. And I mean it because they've truly been a tremendous help.
You can add more questions, but instead of doing that, delve deeper into their answers, and let them explore further. You'll be amazed at the valuable insights you can gain!
This questionnaire has been tremendously helpful to me, and I hope it will be for you too.
So, don't waste your playtesters! They don't grow on trees, you know.
Ask for input, but focus on the IMPORTANT input! Let the players take flight, and you can soar with them.
Happy playtesting everyone!
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Hernán Smicht - Games
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