It seems that a convenience sample really is the only way to go for my project at this stage. I have long entertained the notion that some kind of randomization would work to my benefit in some abstract, cosmic way. The problem is, I’m developing a product for an established audience. As much as I’d like to reach out and get new audiences interested, that will have to come later.
That sounds harsh, which is probably why I hadn’t actually considered it until recently. In reality, it could work toward my larger goal of bringing in new audience members by streamlining the development process.
I’ve discovered that non-gamers tend to get hung up on things that aren’t actually unique to Deme, but are rather common game elements with which they’re not familiar. Imagine trying to design a dashboard GPS system, then discovering that a fair number of your testers aren’t familiar with internal combustion engines and doubt they will ever catch on. I need people who can already drive.
Games—electronic, tabletop or otherwise—come with a vast array of cultural norms and assumptions. Remember the first time you played a videogame wherein the “Jump” button—the button that was just simply always “Jump” on your console of choice—did something other than jump?* It was like somebody sewed your arms where your legs were supposed to be, wasn’t it? It was somehow offensive, because the game designers had violated a set of cultural norms by mapping the buttons “wrong.” There’s often a subtle ergonomic reason that button is usually the “Jump” button, but it has just as much to do with user expectations.
In non-Deme news, we’re all excited to welcome our new Senior Aquarist, Colleen Newberg. She comes to us from Baltimore, but used to work next door at the Oregon Coast Aquarium. I learned last week that she is a Virginian, leaving Sid as the lone Yankee on our husbandry team. We’ve got some interesting things in the works, and Collen has been remarkably cool-headed amidst a torrent of exhibit ideas, new and changing protocols and plumbing eldritch and uncanny.
*I’ve personally observed that button-mapping has become less standardized as controllers have become more complex. I could be wrong, though—my gameplay habits do not constitute a large representative sample. Trigger buttons, of course, would be an exception.