You already saw this First Look trailer. You already know whether or not the Nintendo Switch will have a place in your life. But do you know why you have this already figured out in your mind? I would suggest it’s because of how this trailer is produced and edited.
Can you remember any of the faces of the people playing the Switch in this trailer? I can’t. But I can remember their emotional reactions or their looks of concentration, and I felt connected to the experiences they were having.
I could see myself in their shoes.
This is game-trailer gold.
You may have had a different experience with this trailer, but I, for one am really excited to discover the price-point on this device — there’s a chance I’ll be there day one. The key is that I felt like I was having these same experiences with the Nintendo Switch as I watched. That may be because I love playing games on the go and with others, so the mileage may vary. But here’s the key: When you show people in an experience that they can insert themselves into, you grab your game’s audience.
It also helps to hand your game off to players and see what they do with it.
How do players prefer to play your game?
When you’re showing your game at a PAX or Gamescom event, you control the setup and you control the experience — it’s not authentic to how player actually play your game. This can be very hard and scary — since you have no idea what players are going to to when they get their hands on your game. But try this out: just give a few regular players (not developers) your game. Then see what they do with it.
What do players do with your game when you give it to them? This leads to a whole litany of questions from that experience:
- How do they sit?
- At a desk?
- On the couch?
- On a plane?
- Do they share it with their non-gaming family members?
- Is any of that special?
- What surprises occur?
You’re going to be surprised. That may be because of how foolish their play experiences seem to how you intend. Or they may come up with something you never thought of. When I shared That Dragon Cancer with my game group, we had fourteen people cram into my living room. We found ourselves passing the controller from scene to scene — meaning everybody got to play and feel connected to the experience. We didn’t plan that; it just happened naturally — and it worked perfectly. These kinds of discoveries only happen when games are given a proper chance to be put in players’ hands.