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On the second day of Orientation, we were told about the dreams.
“You will eventually dream about the games you test. It won’t be pleasant.” The lead said. The way he said it made some of us newbies laugh. We should have known better.
After testing a game for 12 to 15 hours a day, 6 to 7 days a week, it quickly becomes a part of your consciousness. You start finding yourself thinking about the game on your off hours, or telling stories about the game to other testers when you should be talking about something else. Eventually it will get into your subconscious, and that’s when the dreams start.
I remember a fellow tester telling me about how he dreamt he was in the game and how awesome it was. Since we were testing a shooter I thought that I could see the appeal (the moral implications, at the time, were clearly lost on us).
My dreams … my dreams were different.
I dreamt that I was testing the game. There was nothing interesting about it. I simply dreamt that I was doing my job. Eventually in the dream my shift would end, and I would go home and go to bed, and then in real life I would wake up and realize that I just dreamt about doing what I was about to do.
That’s not rest! That’s hell! I could not help but thinking that I was losing my mind. This had to be what going mad was like. Not even sleep was a break from the job itself.
When it becomes hard to tell if you’re awake or asleep when doing your job, you know that job might not be for you.
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