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[TRENCHES] Thursday, September 4, 2014 - Dollars And Sense

GethGeth LegionPerseus VeilRegistered User, Moderator, Penny Arcade Staff, Vanilla Staff vanilla
edited September 2014 in The Penny Arcade Hub
Dollars And Sense


Dollars And Sense
http://trenchescomic.com/comic/post/dollars-and-sense

My Very Short QA Career

Anonymous

I had a yearly summer gig at one of the three big telecom companies in Canada, but it always started two months after Spring exams. One year I decided it’d be neat to work in video game testing while I waited for the other job. Hell, maybe I’d even stick around game testing instead. I applied and quickly got into a major QA lab (as opposed to in-house testing) with offices all over Canada and the States.

My first day was also about 100 other people’s first day. We were all crammed into a room without windows, just cafeteria benches. Names were called out, people were taken away to various teams. I met a few people, never to see them again. After two hours or so of awkward small talk in the stuffy cave, I’m called to my new home.

I pass rows of testers hunched over their screens or reclining casually, controllers in hand, talking and laughing. These people seem like they’re having a good time. I even recognize some games as I’m rushed by. I could be playing one of those! What could I have been put on? I’m excited!

Basketball. I got fucking basketball. Broken-ass, pre-alpha BASKETBALL.

So when I applied to this place I filled out a survey. What kind of games I like to play, what kind of games I’m good at, what kind of games I don’t like. All of my answers very clearly indicated that I’m not a fan of sports games, that I don’t know how to play sports games, I have no interest in them. “Put this guy on basketball!”

I talk to my lead, ask if I can get a different assignment, even though I liked my team. “Look, I can’t switch you. Maybe you’ll find bugs others can’t BECAUSE you don’t know the game. You’ll look at it from a different perspective.” Horseshit. I’m less likely to notice bugs because I don’t know the rules. Entire objects necessary to the sport could be missing and I wouldn’t notice.

So I go talk to the manager. “Look, I can’t switch you. If I switch you, everyone’s going to want to switch. I’m sorry.” “Alright, if I can’t get switched, I’ve gotta quit. I clearly indicated my gaming tastes on my application. I’m useless on this game. And playing a broken game of a sport I have no interest in is not a job, it’s misery. I understand your position, but certainly you can see mine, too. So, I guess I’m resigning?” This is about 4 hours into my new job, and the ballsiest move I’d made, or had to make, up to this point in my working life.

And it fucking worked.

So I get put in a new office down the hall, on Simpsons Wii. Fine, whatever. It’s also pre-alpha, broken as hell, but I KNOW that Marge’s hair shouldn’t look like that. I can actually recognize that it’s broken.

This office is a bit more cramped, and there aren’t enough test Wiis in the office, so we partner up on one console (the game, at least at the time, was single player). My partner (happily) plays and finds bugs, I chat with my neighbours till he finds a bug, we reproduce it, I write it up.


Geth on

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    SkunkapeSkunkape Registered User regular
    LOL, Good for you it worked out. As a manager if I hired someone and the first thing they tried to do was get off the project was because " I do not like doing that" I would have sent them packing immediately. But I need employees with versatility to hand large diverse work loads, so I am guessing it really is not comparable to game testing.....

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    ShowsniShowsni Registered User regular
    Yeah, that story kind of reminds me of a certain Penny Arcade comic...

    215472893_tU6vc-L-2.jpg

    Fair enough, you filled in a form saying what kind of games you prefer, but that doesn't guarantee those are the games you'll be testing.
    I KNOW that Marge’s hair shouldn’t look like that. I can actually recognize that it’s broken.

    Is this the game were they included the original design that she had a pair of massive rabbit ears a la Life in Hell hidden under her hair?

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    donavannjdonavannj Registered User regular
    As someone who occasionally plays basketball games, I would not want a non-basketball person to be play-testing a basketball game. That's a recipe for a very broken release. Then again, there's a pretty high chance there aren't enough game testers into sports to go around for all the sports games that need testing in the industry.

    steam_sig.png
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    Emperor_ZEmperor_Z Registered User regular
    edited September 2014
    donavannj wrote: »
    As someone who occasionally plays basketball games, I would not want a non-basketball person to be play-testing a basketball game. That's a recipe for a very broken release. Then again, there's a pretty high chance there aren't enough game testers into sports to go around for all the sports games that need testing in the industry.

    I wouldn't want ONLY non-basketball people to play a basketball game, but I agree with the manager in the story that having a tester or two who isn't familiar with the game may be beneficial. They may do things that are outside of the realm of reason to someone who knows what they're doing. Software should be idiot-proof, and having "idiots" test it contributes to that.

    Narrator sounds like a whiny baby to me. If he gave me that ultimatum, my answer would be "Okay, bye"

    Emperor_Z on
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    Murphy0XMurphy0X Registered User new member
    As someone that has worked as a software engineer on Xbox / Playstation games I will attest that you should have been let go. You're the one person we don't have enough of. People sign up in droves to test games they're really interested in, but it's hard to find people that will test something they don't like. Those other players that are in to basketball are going to spend all their time finding bugs in the gameplay. The guy that spots the typo "press strat" on the title screen -- That's going to be you. There are lot's of bugs in games (I know), and we need people that are going to approach the game from many different perspectives to find them all. You were probably selected for that purpose, you're going to play the non-serious and more casual modes, something a sports game fan won't do.

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    Blackbird71Blackbird71 Registered User regular
    Why does it seem to me that the tale was cut off before the end? The last paragraph seems anticlimactic, like it was building to some sort of ending but never got there. The title suggests a time in QA which was cut off, yet as of the end of the story, the teller is still working that job. Maybe it's just me, but I feel like I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop.

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    plki76plki76 Redmond, WARegistered User regular
    Emperor_Z wrote: »
    donavannj wrote: »
    As someone who occasionally plays basketball games, I would not want a non-basketball person to be play-testing a basketball game. That's a recipe for a very broken release. Then again, there's a pretty high chance there aren't enough game testers into sports to go around for all the sports games that need testing in the industry.

    I wouldn't want ONLY non-basketball people to play a basketball game, but I agree with the manager in the story that having a tester or two who isn't familiar with the game may be beneficial. They may do things that are outside of the realm of reason to someone who knows what they're doing. Software should be idiot-proof, and having "idiots" test it contributes to that.

    Narrator sounds like a whiny baby to me. If he gave me that ultimatum, my answer would be "Okay, bye"

    Yep, pretty much all of this.

    "You were hired to test this game. You have two options: test the game, or walk out that door. If you choose to leave, on your way out please send in one of the 50 people waiting to get the position you are vacating."

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    fortyforty Registered User regular
    Geth wrote: »
    And playing a broken game of a sport I have no interest in is not a job, it’s misery.
    No, that sounds like a job all right.

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