Test subject A: Kim
On the Knowledge of Gaming scale, Kim placed herself somewhere between None and Very Little. However, she confessed to having played - and liked - quiz-'em-up Buzz and post-pub favourite SingStar, and that she also enjoyed a little finger-wriggling with the PSOne version of Worms. She has tried a spot of Wii-based hand-waving, although she "got confused with all the coordination stuff".
Prior to our 'experiment', Kim hadn't crossed the threshold of a game store for a "very long time". She had previously entered a geek stronghold to purchase Abe's Oddysee on PSOne for a friend's birthday. So hardly what you'd call a patron.
The quickest of our three newbies to make a choice, Kim picked Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock for Xbox 360. She knew it would cost more money than we'd given her for the necessary guitar controller, but it's what she wanted, so who were we to argue? And why did she fancy rocking hard with this particular game? "I chose it partly because I've heard people say that it's good, and partly because I'm a big music fan."
This is definite proof that you can't beat a healthy dollop of positive word of mouth to drum up some extra business. Y'know, friends talking about something being good fun because, well, it's genuinely good fun. It's that magical essence of honesty that wanky marketing 'creatives' simply can't concoct with transparent, wanky viral advertising.
So, a smart way to sell more games is to simply make good games. And to make sure they're perfect for parties where they can be exposed in all their gurn-faced glory to non-gamers. Oh, and throwing in some quirky controller device that temporarily transforms players into an axe-grinding God of the Rock probably helps as well.