On Monday, October 14, the team went to the Thelma Lovette YMCA for our third playtest. This was an important change of location from the Children’s Museum because now we would indeed be teaching with low-income kids, the project’s target demographic. While we had suspected that they would not behave too much different from kids at the Children’s Museum, we had never done a test to back that up.
The game that we tested was essentially the same version that was tested on Friday, October 12 for Playtest #2 at the Children’s Museum. There were some minor tweaks to certain interactive elements to make them use glow instead of the sparkles that we had been temporarily using at the last playtests, but otherwise, content did not change.
The testing was very revealing. The kids, as Susan had warned us about, were indeed much shier and quieter when we spoke with them since their guardians were not around. And while some also would look to see how their companion playtester was doing, mostly, the kids were focused on the game. In fact, arguably just as much as the middle/upper-class kids at the Children’s Museum were. The caretakers at the YMCA even mentioned that this was the most focused they usually ever see the kids.
What the team believes this means is that while kids from different socio-economic backgrounds do behave differently in social situations, they seem to be similarly engaged by an interactive experience. This is a good sign for our game and we are extremely optimistic that an iPad game can really be something that works across income-levels.