Before games like Spin the Bottle and Seven Minutes in Heaven became household names at middle school parties, they went through rigorous periods of playtesting with a small focus group of teenagers in Cincinnati in the 1950s.

Here are the notes from those tests:

Spin The Bottle

  • Is there any specific reason why it’s a bottle? Just curious. (Carrie)
  • I will say the bottle felt arbitrary to me, only because it’s not the first thing I think of when I hear the word “spin.” (Dan)
  • Definitely love the part where it’s going 'round, though, because there’s “where it stops nobody knows” aspect to it. That feels very alive and specific. (Shannon)
  • On that note, is there any kind of limitation on who you can kiss? Just thinking back to the moment where I spun the bottle and it landed on Shannon, but she’s dating Brett. (Oswald)
  • I also felt weird about that. (Brett)
  • I actually personally liked the part where I had to kiss someone who was in a relationship already, because it just lowered the stakes, you know? (Carrie)
  • The gameplay feels a little uneven to me, because some people end up kissing a lot. (Emily)
  • That part felt fine to me. (Shannon)
  • Not to be super cis-normative, but is there the option to spin it to someone else if your sexual orientation doesn’t fit the person it lands on? (Dan)
  • The market for the game does feel a little limiting. Like you wouldn’t play this at, say, a family reunion. Right, or? (Emily)
  • Watching other people kiss felt less interesting than when I was kissing someone. Not sure how to solve for that. (Carrie)
  • The part where the most popular girl has to make the least popular girl spin it just to humiliate her in front of her crush feels a little nonspecific right now. (Emily)
  • All the kisses started to look the same to me, and I was kind of bored by the time it was my turn. Could each kiss have to include progressively more tongue? (Oswald)
  • Also I know this is just in the development stage, but you said this was just going to be spread by word-of-mouth? That seems like a gamble. You just want it to be this thing people “know about.” (Shannon)
  • If you’re going to go that direction, and obviously do you: I think it shouldn’t be a bottle. (Dan)
  • Yeah, agreed. What about a knife? (Brett)

Seven Minutes In Heaven

  • Okay so with this one… I guess I’m just not clear on how the game play gets enforced? (Brett)
  • The time constraint is good! But the options are confusing. (Carrie)
  • The moment where I somehow got told to go into the closet with Shannon, Brett shot me this look that said “You’re dead meat,” and I’m just wondering if that could somehow be avoided. (Oswald)
  • Yeah, for me this one also imposes a kind of tyranny of choice. Knowing we could do everything in the closet made me not want to do anything, you know? (Dan)
  • I didn’t feel that way. (Shannon)
  • Seven minutes also seems kind of limiting depending on who you’re in the closet with. Like since Dan and I are both virgins we didn’t know how long each “thing” would take. (Emily)
  • Both? (Dan)
  • Why is it a closet? Just curious. (Carrie)
  • Word of mouth might be hard for this one. I can’t imagine someone saying “Okay guys, let’s play Seven Minutes in Heaven” and everyone knowing what you mean. (Shannon)
  • I do like the aspect of privacy in this one. (Oswald)
  • Yeah, but how does anyone know if you don’t do anything in the closet? Not that we didn’t. We definitely did, I just mean, you couldn’t prove otherwise. (Emily)

Truth or Dare

  • Okay, this one I can get behind. It’s super simple, either/or structure, gets sexy fast. (Dan)
  • Definitely! Though I didn’t love having to disclose the details of what I did in the closet with Dan. (Emily)
  • You mean what you didn’t do. (Carrie)
  • I’m saying the games shouldn’t be played in succession. (Emily)
  • I'd just say that when Oswald got dared to kiss Shannon, it didn’t feel as part of the game as the rest of the dares. (Brett)
  • Has anyone seen Oswald, actually? (Carrie)
  • No. Hey, should we play spin the knife? (Brett)
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