Here's the first, regarding the average age of respondents:
Very interesting post - I am sure this will interest the guys at
You'll probably find some other trends:
- Closer to 50%/50% male/female, as opposed to MMORPGs, which are 80% male.
- Higher percentage of college educated
- Lower end computers.
An interesting survey would be to find out where they heard about your
game/downloaded it. Was it from the many Bejeweled-distributing casual game
sights? Or from those like Manifesto games?
I don't know how many replies/data points you had, but I find it kinda
scary that 0% were under the age of 20, and only 10% were under 30.
I don't think Peter's games would be too enticing to a younger crowd
on its own. It might work well if it were placed purposefully in front
of a classroom of kids though, like in a history class. I also don't
think Peter put his games in a place where kids would necessarily find
But of course Peter would be better answering this...
> I don't think Peter's games would be too enticing to a younger crowd
> on its own. It might work well if it were placed purposefully in front
> of a classroom of kids though, like in a history class. I also don't
> think Peter put his games in a place where kids would necessarily find
Well, keep in mind (to answer part of Mike's question above) I only
had the email addresses of folks who bought the game directly from me.
Everyone who bought it from Manifesto, other online shops, or through
stores, I know nothing about them. So I'm only polling about 25% of
buyers, and only a subset of those have responded. Still, I have
reason to believe -- based on all the folks I've sold the game to
personally at lectures, libraries, and the book fair, and knowing what
I do about the museum gift shops the game is in -- that the age
breakdown and average would remain pretty much the same, even with
that missing 75%.
A few teachers have told me they were going to try and use it in their
classrooms, and I've included recommendations for classroom play in
the instruction manual, but at this point I still have yet to hear
from any teachers who have actually done so, excepting a few home-
But still, no one under 20 was a bit of a surprise to me as well. I
knew I hadn't reached that age group very much, but still, the
thoroughness of that failure, I didn't anticipate. And none of the
survey responses so far indicate that someone bought the game for
their kids -- the closest so far is that a few people played the game
WITH their kids.
Some depressing thoughts:
1) (In a fashion designer's tone of voice) "Text is soooo 1980's." As I was
creating intro content for my graphical/multiplayer IF, I was thinking how
nice it would be to NOT have to create 3D models, sounds, etc. However, I
include eye candy because (a) it's kind of fun to create, if not time
consuming, (b) I prefer games with eye candy myself, and importantly (c) I
don't think I can get away without it. It's interesting to note that the
largest graphical MMORPGs have about 100x-1000x the number of players in the
largest text MUDs. They're almost exactly the same game, but one has $30M
budget with eye candy. Given an infinite budget for eye candy, while still
maintaining essentially the same game, I expect the same to hold for text IF
vs. graphical IF (or adventure games). This discrepancy is probably
amplified for people who never played text IF in the 80's (aka: under 30).
2) Not many people have heard of the 1893's world's fair. Even fewer under
20 will have heard of it.
3) Slow-paced puzzle/plot-oriented games have a much smaller market than
FPS's and sports games (and even CRPGs/MMORPGs). (When's the last time an
adventure game was on the top-10? Myst 1 or 2? Syberia?) Again, under 20
males are certainly more into FPS's than puzzles/plot.
4) Multiplayer is in right now... especially with 30 and under.
5) Because your text is in English, you've pretty much limited your market
to 1/3 (?) the gameplaying population. Non-UK Europe and Asia are now large
markets. Which is another reason why FPS's, sports games, and MMORPGs do so
well; they're largely language independent. (It's the same reason why
Hollywood FX movies do well.)
The only solution is to make a $30M game based on a hypothetical 2010
world's fair in London/NYC/LA where space aliens invade and you have to
shoot them up with the modern ray guns that just happen to be lying around
the fair. You'll see lots of the 15-25 male demographic then! :-)
> The only solution is to make a $30M game based on a hypothetical 2010
> world's fair in London/NYC/LA where space aliens invade and you have to
> shoot them up with the modern ray guns that just happen to be lying around
> the fair. You'll see lots of the 15-25 male demographic then! :-)
I'm not sure it's as fair to dismiss the story aspect in video games today,
as it might have been fifteen or twenty years ago. Some of the recent games
I've played have left a lasting impression on me, not just for the
experience, but for the story. In fact, many of the games I've played over
the last year (including some dating back a few years to the PS1) haven't
let me down and seem head and shoulders above just mindless fun. I'm talking
about the Silent Hill games (haven't played the 4th yet), Metal Gear Solid
1,2,3, Psychonauts, Chrono Cross, Oddworld Stranger's Wrath, Zelda: Twilight
Princess... even Halo and Halo 2. Even the games where the story is on the
simpler side (well, Halo might qualify, and games like Sly Cooper), the
games seem more worthwhile than they did in years past.
I'm not saying you can't do *more* in text -- but video games have matured
in many areas, including story. :)