A playtest involves playing through a game in order to find any bugs or design issues before the full release date. Playtesting involves various different stages and can be open or closed. In order to understand how playtesting can be useful, it is important to establish what makes a great playtester.
Think out loud
Whilst playing through a game it can be useful to talk aloud and describe thoughts, feelings and decisions. This will aid the ‘investigator’ to analyse why certain actions were taken and if any changes need to be brought about.
Reveal your biases
Everyone has a certain genre of games, books and music they prefer and it is important to establish any biases or preferences that playtesters may have.
This links in well with thinking out loud. Rather than expressing that you are happy with a certain aspect of the game, try and explain why you are happy.
Once the playtest has been completed, see the game as a collection of separate elements. Try and provide useful feedback for music, artwork, game play and story. Analysing these as separate elements will provide the investigator with a higher quality of feedback.
Don’t worry if people don’t like your ideas
Unfortunately not everyone will appreciate your efforts and this should not deter you. All feedback is useful and could lead to some great improvements which might just attract more people willing to purchase and play your game.