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Have you ever interviewed for a game tester position?

wookieeArmourwookieeArmour Registered User
edited March 2007 in Games and Technology
I have an interview next week and I was wondering if anybody else has ever had the job, or remember their interview.

I'm pretty sure I can nail it like a coffin but feedback and input is always welcome.

THanks.

wookieeArmour on
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Posts

  • CrashmoCrashmo Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    This job was right up there with ice-cream taste tester and rollercoaster tester when I was little.

    It's the only one that I would still like to do.

    Crashmo on
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  • CouscousCouscous Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    Crashmo wrote: »
    This job was right up there with ice-cream taste tester and rollercoaster tester when I was little.

    It's the only one that I would still like to do.

    I imagine that being a tester would suck the fun out of it.

    Couscous on
  • wookieeArmourwookieeArmour Registered User
    edited March 2007
    not if you've had other jobs where there isn't any fun to suck out.

    caring about what you do is really important.

    wookieeArmour on
  • SarksusSarksus ATTACK AND DETHRONE GODRegistered User regular
    edited March 2007
    When I was interviewed for a QA Tester position the interview was divided into two parts. A verbal interview and a practical hands-on test, where I was given a game to test and find bugs.

    The verbal interview basically consisted of personal questions about my video game preferences, most likely to gauge my interest. They also asked, if I remember correctly, about future ambitions. They also asked me about hypothetical scenarios. For example, they asked me to go through the process of ordering pizza step-by-step. Another scenario asked me how I would go about testing an ATM.

    The practical hands-on test involved sitting down in front of a game and testing it for bugs. They gave me twenty minutes or so to find the bugs, and then another thirty to document them.

    Sarksus on
  • wookieeArmourwookieeArmour Registered User
    edited March 2007
    awesome sarksus.

    thanks.

    wookieeArmour on
  • DavorDavor Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    If it's a 3rd party company, I hope you enjoy finding bugs in Barbie Horse Adventure 40,000: The Horsening.

    My sister did this for extra money during college, she did get to beta test a few good games, that made the process enjoyable, but she told me that most of it was mind numbingly boring. However if you can suck it up and work hard, more power to ya!

    Davor on
  • wookieeArmourwookieeArmour Registered User
    edited March 2007
    I would be testing a very big game for a very big company. One that I've played and love :p

    It's ass kicking to the extreme.

    wookieeArmour on
  • FireflashFireflash Montreal, QCRegistered User regular
    edited March 2007
    Thes things may vary greatly depending on where you apply but here's what I can remember of mine. Before the interview I had to fill out a small "exam" to verify my knowledge of games: Name x number of consoles, name some movies based on games, name your favorite games, put these games in order which they were released, name x number of game genres with an example for each, etc.

    Then the interview was part basic interview where they asked about me and my previous job, and another part about my gaming habits, and what kind of skills and qualities I thought were needed to be a good tester.. stuff like that.

    Edit: Oh and, testing a game you love, or from a franchise you love, will completely suck the "magic" out of the game. You don't see the game anymore; you see the mechanics behind the game.

    Fireflash on
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  • wookieeArmourwookieeArmour Registered User
    edited March 2007
    fireflash - i already filled out a game questionnaire before they even set me up for the interview.

    but thanks for the input.

    It's It's not a game I play every day but i enjoyed it when I played it. I'm not too worried about getting sick of it at all, meaning I'm ok if i do.

    wookieeArmour on
  • hamburger helperhamburger helper Registered User
    edited March 2007
    I would be testing a very big game for a very big company. One that I've played and love :p

    It's ass kicking to the extreme.

    I tested for a large company for about 6 months and it was the best job I've ever had. I quit so I could pursue academics; don't listen to people who nay-say. I remember being happy going to work. I didn't think that was ever possible. I even toyed with the idea of going back and doing university online.

    Some additional benefits to working for a games company:

    1) Besides playing videogames for a living, you're surrounded by like-minded people who are genuinely passionate about games as well. So it's easy to make really cool friends.

    2) Every lunch hour will probably be a LAN party.

    Good luck with the interview. If they see you're passionate about games and not a total retard, it shouldn't be hard getting in.

    hamburger helper on
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  • wookieeArmourwookieeArmour Registered User
    edited March 2007
    Yeah hamburger... doing something you love is really important to me, as i'd be getting paid less than I am now.

    I hope maybe to parlay it into a career with the company........why not try right?

    I'm very passionate... especially about bugs. I'm pretty vocal about patching and the QA process on the forums related to the games I play the most.

    wookieeArmour on
  • rayofashrayofash Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    Your pony died because it wasn't pretty enough.

    Hamburger, what company did you work for? Yours is the only positive experience i've heard.

    rayofash on
  • FireflashFireflash Montreal, QCRegistered User regular
    edited March 2007
    Oh even if my last comment was somewhat negative, the job is still fun. What I meant is when you test a game you would've normally gladly purchased and greatly enjoy, you won't get to discover the game the same way players do.

    Because you most likely get to see the game in a very early state: levels are disconnected, have no textures or appropriate lighting, a lot of maps can only partially be done, some builds just crash all the time.

    But on the other hand it's nice to see the game you are working on go from a disjointed mess to a big cohesive game.

    Fireflash on
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  • rayofashrayofash Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    http://www.destructoid.com/developer-tales-the-true-story-of-an-abused-game-tester-30025.phtml

    I wonder what game this was.

    How does one even get a job as a tester? Pure luck?

    rayofash on
  • hamburger helperhamburger helper Registered User
    edited March 2007
    rayofash wrote: »
    Your pony died because it wasn't pretty enough.

    Hamburger, what company did you work for? Yours is the only positive experience i've heard.

    A very large publisher and developer of games world wide. I worked in Vancouver.
    rayofash wrote: »
    http://www.destructoid.com/developer-tales-the-true-story-of-an-abused-game-tester-30025.phtml

    I wonder what game this was.

    How does one even get a job as a tester? Pure luck?

    I had known a person who worked as a modeler there, he referred me. People can also just send in a resume the old fashioned way (aka pure luck).

    hamburger helper on
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  • rayofashrayofash Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    rayofash wrote: »
    Your pony died because it wasn't pretty enough.

    Hamburger, what company did you work for? Yours is the only positive experience i've heard.

    A very large publisher and developer of games world wide. I worked in Vancouver.
    rayofash wrote: »
    http://www.destructoid.com/developer-tales-the-true-story-of-an-abused-game-tester-30025.phtml

    I wonder what game this was.

    How does one even get a job as a tester? Pure luck?

    I had known a person who worked as a modeler there, he referred me. People can also just send in a resume the old fashioned way (aka pure luck).

    Hmmm... A guy who works as a modeller for Naughty Dog is buying a puppy from me. I wonder....

    rayofash on
  • wookieeArmourwookieeArmour Registered User
    edited March 2007
    a recruiter for the company found my resume and contacted me.

    wookieeArmour on
  • rayofashrayofash Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    a recruiter for the company found my resume and contacted me.

    Where was your resume?

    rayofash on
  • Marty81Marty81 Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    If this sort of job payed better, I'd totally consider it. I'm all about mechanics and testing and shit.

    Marty81 on
  • wookieeArmourwookieeArmour Registered User
    edited March 2007
    Well the pay isn't amazing, like i said. But i want to move to the area. So it'd be a good way to get my feet wet and look for other jobs at the same time.

    wookieeArmour on
  • Marty81Marty81 Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    Well the pay isn't amazing, like i said. But i want to move to the area. So it'd be a good way to get my feet wet and look for other jobs at the same time.

    Yeah, that's awesome. Good luck!

    I'm thinking more about long-term careers at this point, though, personally, so I was sort of lamenting the fact that I can't really consider game testing anymore.

    Marty81 on
  • BursarBursar Hee Noooo! PDX areaRegistered User regular
    edited March 2007
    Testing a very big game for a very big company... That sounds like you're getting a testing gig for a game that's already been released, which means an MMO. Blizzard?

    Don't gush all over the people interviewing you. Remember that you're going to be there to test, not play the game all day. "Menial" tasks will be part of the job, so it's not like playing the game as you would normally.

    A great grasp of English is always in demand. Not only must you be able to tell when someone's language is wrong, but you will have to accurately describe when, where, and how a bug was encountered. "Jimmy's animation when he gets off a horse is all screwed up" is not a good bug.

    Bursar on
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  • Swishy RaccoonSwishy Raccoon Registered User
    edited March 2007
    I had an interview once. I don't know why I didn't get the job. They didn't tell me what company it was. Maybe they didn't hire me because I said I hated EA and it was for EA?

    Swishy Raccoon on
  • TaramoorTaramoor Storyteller Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    They're probably going to ask you a one of the following questions:

    1. What would you do if you found a bug like this? Then an example. The ideal response, near as I can figure, is the following:
    -"First, I would stop playing or pause."
    -"Then I would try and get it to happen again so I could get some decent repro steps."
    -"Then I would write it up. Making sure to spell check my bug."
    -"Then I would test around that bug to try and find other, similar, problems."
    Spice up your response with how you would go about doing these things.

    2. Are you aware that you'll be playing an unfinished game for probably eight or more hours a day?
    -"Testing a game is different from playing a game. I'm there to break it, not beat it."

    They basically want to make sure you aren't a moron, you aren't going to waste their time, and you're not going to go insane after testing the different dismounting animations for Barbie and Skipper for fifteen hours.

    Taramoor on
  • deadmilkmandeadmilkman Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    All testing jobs can completely suck your love of said actively dry.

    Ice cream tester? Oh I can just taste that bile comming up...oh yeah baby gimme another hit of that onion tasting mint shit


    Seriously...There are alot, a LOT of bad games out there...and you'll probably end up testing one of them. Seriously...right now think of your least favorite game...now make is worse...now make it your job to play that game for 5hrs a day, spending the remaining 3hrs writing up (repeatedly) bugs. Note: your opinion will almost always be considered "shit" and while you may give it...rarely will anyone choose to listen to it, after all "your only a tester"

    deadmilkman on
  • Houk the NamebringerHouk the Namebringer Nipples The EchidnaRegistered User regular
    edited March 2007
    All testing jobs can completely suck your love of said actively dry.

    Ice cream tester? Oh I can just taste that bile comming up...oh yeah baby gimme another hit of that onion tasting mint shit


    Seriously...There are alot, a LOT of bad games out there...and you'll probably end up testing one of them. Seriously...right now think of your least favorite game...now make is worse...now make it your job to play that game for 5hrs a day, spending the remaining 3hrs writing up (repeatedly) bugs. Note: your opinion will almost always be considered "shit" and while you may give it...rarely will anyone choose to listen to it, after all "your only a tester"
    honestly, at my company, your opinion is only shit after you've proven that you don't know what you're talking about, or you're over-eager to prove how smart you are, or you don't know how to express yourself. You definitely have to earn your reputation with us. Though we're a bit smaller so YMMV and all that.

    Houk the Namebringer on
  • mspencermspencer Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    I'm a Comp Sci grad student but otherwise have no insights into the game industry. I know quite a bit about software development and project management, though, and I recommend you go into this job knowing a bit about how this works -- and what makes your future testing job so important to that process.

    A very traditional approach to systems development is the "waterfall model". http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waterfall_model Essentially the team makes a plan that describes what the finished product will be; they attempt to execute on that plan; and then they test their results and see how well they did. If bugs or problems are found, you go back and fix them.

    If that method seems inflexible to you, I think you're right. I'm not a software development expert -- I would have to have years of experience as an actual project manager to be an expert in that subject -- so I will defer to someone who is actually in the industry and who writes better than I do.

    http://lostgarden.com/2007/02/rockets-cars-and-gardens-visualizing.html

    This article goes into the pros and cons of the Waterfall model, Agile development models, and Stage Gate development, as they relate to the gaming industry. I highly recommend you read it.

    I've spent long hours pondering how to somehow realize my literally life-long dream of working in this industry. (since 14 years old I believe, and I'm 30 now.) I think my current plan is to either make an insignificant indie game and get noticed and hired that way, or finish my Masters and hire on as a programmer with a company that needs my area of specialization.

    Someone once told me that "start as a tester and work your way up" was a valid approach also. I've always wondered why that is. Maybe they like to see confirmation that you're not afraid to do hard tedious work to help get a game out -- that you don't have a naive idea about working on games being nothing but fun. Maybe it's to filter out personality clashes: while you're still in a disposable position they can see if you get along well with the rest of the company, instead of trying to read you from a single interview.

    On an unrelated note, obscure bugs sometimes only happen under very specific circumstances, and that's why they will need someone with good technical writing skills. You will need to be able to articulate what you did before you got to that point. You will need to assume that obvious things won't be obvious to the person who reads the bug report. The bug report might be read by a manager or someone from your publisher, who doesn't know much about the game but is reading random bug reports to try to get a feel for how buggy the game is.

    It might also help to make sure they know you understand there are many different kinds of bugs and many ways of reproducing them. If a game project is still very young, you will probably need to focus on testing core gameplay, assuming a skilled and motivated player. As the project matures and starts gaining polish, you will need to test from many different viewpoints. You will need to pretend to be someone's grandmother and really stop and ponder every action. You will need to suddenly become clumsy and confirm that the game kills you off appropriately.

    It kinda makes me wish I was on unemployment again. I'm too comfortable working for the bank I work for -- I'd be too worried about the cut in pay going to a game testing job. It would be so rewarding working on a game project, even just as a tester, even if it's a game I could never enjoy playing.

    I hope you succeed -- I'd love to hear stories about it later.

    mspencer on
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  • wookieeArmourwookieeArmour Registered User
    edited March 2007
    Bursar -

    Thanks for the tips. Good things to keep in mind. I am going into it with the idea that it's a job and not free game happy hour :p And no, it's not blizzard :p

    Taramoor -

    Thank you for the input, very helpful. check and check.


    mspencer -

    Very nice information indeed. That article will be a great help. I will let you know how things turn out in the coming weeks. The lady who has been working out the details with me said I was probably the strongest of the pack because of my gaming knowledge, so I feel confident. I hope to make some contacts at the actual gaming company and look for other work.

    I was also told that there is probably a lot of over time on this project, so the money might no be that bad. I'm pretty serious about the whole deal so I'm going to work my ass off.

    wookieeArmour on
  • wookieeArmourwookieeArmour Registered User
    edited March 2007
    All testing jobs can completely suck your love of said actively dry.

    Ice cream tester? Oh I can just taste that bile comming up...oh yeah baby gimme another hit of that onion tasting mint shit


    Seriously...There are alot, a LOT of bad games out there...and you'll probably end up testing one of them. Seriously...right now think of your least favorite game...now make is worse...now make it your job to play that game for 5hrs a day, spending the remaining 3hrs writing up (repeatedly) bugs. Note: your opinion will almost always be considered "shit" and while you may give it...rarely will anyone choose to listen to it, after all "your only a tester"

    I'll only be working on one specific game, and it's very good game with lots of replay value. I have no worries that the game i'll be testing will be boring to test.


    And coming from the perspective of having a lot of different jobs in my years since college, being interested in the job you do makes all the difference in the world, even if it isn't the most amazing job ever. A job is still a job.

    wookieeArmour on
  • baddmanbaddman Registered User
    edited March 2007
    I'm a QA lead at my video game company and there are three things I look for when I interview testers.

    1 - No dungeon folk. I want well-spoken, extroverts who don't come to me from their basements of JRPG paraphernalia. Confidence is the personality trait that stands out the most in an interview.

    2 - Any video game experience beyond just playing them. Beta testing, comp sci education, building your own PCs, any coding experience -- all huge plusses.

    3 - No Windows n00bs. If I have to show someone how to map a network drive more than once or tell them where to get video card drivers, I generally don't want them working for me.

    baddman on
  • ZoldenZolden Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    just roll up in there drunk and reeking of alcohol and cigarettes. do not wear a collared shirt. make sure there are some kind of food stains on your t-shirt and they are clearly visible. have a very introverted, pissed off kind of attitude and make sure you say how much you hate life at least once.

    or do the complete opposite, whichever.

    When I did QA work I just got the job (internship) purely out of knowing my professor who worked there, so I had no interview. but they did expect me to be knowledgable about pc's and computers in general and to pick up on things quickly. I think working QA does suck the fun out of gaming, it killed gaming for me for a whole year. it was good money and good industry experience though, even if I turned around and left game design for sound design. I think the funniest part was the fridge of beer in the office.

    Zolden on
  • TxdoHawkTxdoHawk Registered User
    edited March 2007
    Yeah I can't say I envy game testers. I think even most of the people who are smarter than "I'm gonna get paid to play video games, yaaaaaaay!" don't realize how mind-numbingly boring the process can be. It doesn't matter how awesome the game is, you are still checking every nook and cranny, of every single part of the game, every single boring options menu...

    TxdoHawk on
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  • TaramoorTaramoor Storyteller Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    TxdoHawk wrote: »
    Yeah I can't say I envy game testers. I think even most of the people who are smarter than "I'm gonna get paid to play video games, yaaaaaaay!" don't realize how mind-numbingly boring the process can be. It doesn't matter how awesome the game is, you are still checking every nook and cranny, of every single part of the game, every single boring options menu...


    This is the key here.

    It can be exceptionally boring.

    However, you NEED to look at this as a job, not as "being paid to play games".

    You aren't going to be playing anything, you're there to fucking work.

    If you can separate testing games from playing games in your head you'll probably come out of there more addicted than ever. I play games more now than I did before I started testing.

    Taramoor on
  • VeganVegan Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    rayofash wrote: »
    How does one even get a job as a tester? Pure luck?


    In L.A., everyone knows at least one person who has been a game tester at one point. It's one of those summer anyone-can-get-in kind of jobs. Like telemarketing.

    Vegan on
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  • ElbasunuElbasunu Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    Any idea on where I could land a gig like this in New Jersey?

    My life is going to take me out to California eventually, and I'd like at least SOME experience in the field before I get there.

    Elbasunu on
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  • wookieeArmourwookieeArmour Registered User
    edited March 2007
    I was contacted when they saw my resume on a job site :p
    I have a state college degree in computers and computer industry work background, as well.

    wookieeArmour on
  • wookieeArmourwookieeArmour Registered User
    edited March 2007
    Well, I got the job!

    I'm going to be working on Gears of War.

    wookieeArmour on
  • RenzoRenzo Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    Well, I got the job!

    I'm going to be working on Gears of War.

    I...I think that game already shipped.

    Renzo on
  • wookieeArmourwookieeArmour Registered User
    edited March 2007
    yeah, im not sure if it's for patching, or GOW2, or a pc port... or what.

    the MS guys wouldn't tell me yet.

    wookieeArmour on
  • FireflashFireflash Montreal, QCRegistered User regular
    edited March 2007
    It is generally preffered that you keep quiet on the details of you work in this industry ;)

    Fireflash on
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