Feedback - I love that shit!!
Feedback is just so valuable, and it's crazy how your brain is hard-wired to dismiss it. It happens automatically, and it's super-difficult to check your ego/bias and undismiss it.
That's why I like to go back to feedback that I dismissed later. In Ludum Dare, I'm so fried at the end of the 48 hours that it spills over into the next week and my brain is mushy and I cannot step far enough away from my game to see it clearly, or properly digest the comments trickling in as tens of people actually play your crappy hobby game and leave their impressions.
But those comments... Before doing it, I assumed the value of an LD was the experience, but with each one I do, I think more and more that maybe it's actually the feedback comments that could be the most valuable thing. They teach you that your games (and design choices) do have something good about them, but also have something else bad about them that stands in the way of delivering the goodness to the player. And that's such a huge humbling lesson! Or at least it was for me.
This past LD, that one crazy comment on my game that made me think, "hahaha wtf is this shit?" Well, guess what? That shit was RIGHT.
And I was wrong.
I came back to the game later, tooled it up. Put it in front of people. Maybe 4-5 cycles where each time I really learned ONLY FROM FEEDBACK AND WATCHING PLAYERS FAIL. Only then was I able to sand the rough edges off and make something approachable that actually delivered the good aspect to the player's brain.
And the version I ended up with was so nice that despite the humble nature of the game it got noticed on GameJolt and featured, and something like 1,700 people played it and it got a lot of nice comments. Wow, what, really??
I gotta say it was all thanks to the generosity of people leaving feedback, and especially those super-generous folks who uploaded youtube footage of them playing it cold. SO helpful.
BEFORE ITERATIONS: "At start, game seems to be promising and chellenging. Maybe too much elements arrived in game and i lost my way into. Parsimony in game elements distribution could help balancing that game in a really good way because for now, some elements are here but i don't understand why." ... and ... "Very cool game, but the inertia for the player's physics is a very bad idea."
MID ITERATIONS: "This game is bamboozling me."
AFTER: "Complete addiction. Great controls, great concept - the perfect time killer."
So thank you everyone who ever leaves earnest thoughtful feedback, especially the negative stuff!