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[TRENCHES] Tuesday, March 18, 2014 - Remixed Signals

GethGeth LegionPerseus VeilRegistered User, Moderator, Penny Arcade Staff, Vanilla Staff vanilla
edited March 2014 in The Penny Arcade Hub
Remixed Signals


Remixed Signals
http://trenchescomic.com/comic/post/remixed-signals

While the Publisher may be evil, the QA Department is AWESOME!

Anonymous

Note: This is not technically a “war story”, but still very much worth telling.

Between the Summer of 2006 and the Fall of 2007, I worked for the “sports game” division of a MAJOR Video Game publishing company, that as a whole, is consider to be one of (is not THE) most evil, corrupt, and responsible for ruining any game and/or franchise they touch.

But, here’s the twist: I absolutely fucking LOVED the job.

This story is not about how much they suck… it’s about how much the the people who work there are kickass fucking awesome!

This is a story of my tie with them, or at least… the highlights. :)

First, the hiring process IS INTENSE. They give you a phone interview first, which is easy to pass, as long as you’re not a psycho or a douche (though apparently people manage to fuck this part up).

Then they get the top ~20ish people into a room, and tell you what to expect during your time there, which surprisingly enough includes a guy who -actually says- something to the equivalent of: “While we do not condone Prejudicial/bigoted speech, it may still happen, so if you don’t have tough skin for that sort of thing, this job may not be the place for you.”

Now, that statement wasn’t meant to discourage any person of any race/creed/gender/orientation/etc. from sticking around, he was just stating a simple fact that on the testing for, sometime people can be crude. The general idea was that since they couldn’t patrol everyone every minute of everyday, you had to take personal responsibility to “know your audience”. Again, a very smart, common sense, approach.

When I first got hired, I was sent to a building -across the street- where I (and another girl that was hired on the same day) were told to play a game that the company had already RELEASED… why? Because they we’re making the 3rd game, and wanted to make sure me and this other girl (who was in the same hiring class I was in), I spent 2 days working on this before one of the Senior Leads from the QA department came over and told both of us to follow him.

When went down the stairs, back across the street, entered the -main- QA Building, and were given our assignments, she was given the “Major movie license game that had been scrapped after a YEAR of working on it and restarted from scratch with 6 more months to go before the DVD release which was to coincide with the release of the game.”

However, I was lucky! My first project was a “European version of Baseball” game, and I kinda liked it I got to work of the PC version of the game, and got to tweak Windows settings in order to screw the game over in weird and complicated ways. I even got a free copy of the game! (Note: we got free copies of any game that our names appeared in the credits, and in order to get into the credits you had to work on the game -officially- for at least 2 weeks).

Over the course of the next year I work on some MAJOR titles, some lesser titles, got moved to a specialty team that was considered THE hardest team to get into and learn from, became “first officer” of a team (3rd in line under the Senior lead and the Team Lead), and genuinely enjoyed my time there. In fact if it wasn’t for other opportunities that came to be, I would still be working there to this day.

But, here’s the best part: (and the point of my whole story).

The QA PARTIES.

You see several times a year the QA Department would use their left over budget and throw parties for it’s team members.

KEG PARTIES.

That’s right, we’d come into work one day, clock in, GET PAID, and proceed to eat, and GET DRUNK!!!

I kid you not.

Our -bosses- would be grillin’ various meats outside, there would be KEGS (plural) for you to drink from, a cotton candy machines (which made a HUGE mess that had to be scraped off the wall), video game competitions, the whole bit… it was epic!

My best memory of this time is in fact, having myself, a buddy of mine, the 1st officer from project I was working on at the time, and an actual developer for the same game we were working on, all sitting around in a conference room, finishing off the last “foamy bits” of beer out of the bottom of a keg” (i.e.: floating the keg). And here’s the most important thing, everybody felt like a TEAM, the idea of “devs vs QA”, and “the company thinks of us as robots instead of human beings” ... all of that? It went right out the window… They made sure we had fun, and more importantly, that made sure we were SAFE: They paid for ANY and ALL cab rides people may of needed in order they made it home safely, and a lot of times, it was the leads and developers themselves driving people home.

Moral of the story: Sometimes, even the “Worst Company of the Year”, really does care about it’s employees, and isn’t as bad as people actually believe it to be. :)


Geth on

Posts

  • vardisvardis Registered User regular
    Even when I was in college, I don't think I was as excited as this person about the prospect of free beer.

  • GezzerGezzer Registered User regular
    Well pretty hard to figure out which company was being referenced. lol
    And you know what I believe every word of it. When you consider the bad press that was received at one time for employee treatment, I'd be really surprised if it wasn't at least an okay environment to work in, if not great.

    But you have to consider something else too. They're not considered the epitome of "evil" because of how they currently treat their employees, it's more about how they treat their customers. Oh and driving beloved IPs into the ground doesn't help either. They have lost touch with what they are, a games company. They're now just another large corporation, and they could be pumping out any product you can name and they'd be doing things the same with the same results. They're all about maximizing the amount of money they can extract from their customers over everything else. And that's why they're considered such an "evil" company. It's also the reason so many customers have decided to boycott them, myself included. The day they go back to their roots and start creating great gaming experiences first and foremost, and stop trying come up with more convoluted methods to extract my money from me is the day I'll reconsider my stand. But I'm not holding my breath.

  • ShowsniShowsni Registered User regular
    “European version of Baseball”? I didn't know EA Sports had published a Rounders game...

    forty
  • RatherDashing89RatherDashing89 Registered User regular
    This story, while obviously a small sample set, seems to me to be an example of why it's so silly that said company is voted the worst company of all time, probably meaning mostly gamers voted in the poll. When companies like Walmart treat their customers with contempt (in a direct sense, not just by putting out inferior product or overcharging, but by cutting every corner possible when it comes to hiring enough staff to, for example, keep the store clean or open enough checkouts) and ALSO are mostly terrible to work for, on top of the damage they can do to local businesses, most gaming companies just can't compare. Of course, so many people are used to companies like Walmart being that way, no one would bother to vote them down, whereas games are supposed to be fun so a company that doesn't make fun games must be the worst thing of all time.

  • Warlock82Warlock82 Never pet a burning dog Registered User regular
    I can't tell what's going on in that last panel. Is he giving her a performance review or something?

    Switch: 2143-7130-1359 | 3DS: 4983-4927-6699 | Steam: warlock82 | PSN: Warlock2282
  • HevachHevach Registered User regular
    Warlock82 wrote: »
    I can't tell what's going on in that last panel. Is he giving her a performance review or something?

    Something like that I think. Remember, he hired everybody instead of just the one or two he was supposed to, and now he has to find reasons to fire most of them before their paychecks bankrupt a company that I can only assume is pretty much broke as it is.

    Gaslightforty
  • theaddertheadder Registered User new member
    edited March 2014
    Is it just me or is this tale from the trenches one of the worst tales aesthetically? I mean it doesn't even try to hide what company it is talking about (googling "worst company in the year" gives the company as the second highest result), and seemingly random words are in capital letters (shouting is fun!).

    And then there's this phrase:
    Geth wrote: »
    Because they we’re making the 3rd game, and wanted to make sure me and this other girl (who was in the same hiring class I was in), I spent 2 days working on this before one of the Senior Leads from the QA department came over and told both of us to follow him.
    I don't even.

    theadder on
    forty
  • fortyforty Registered User regular
    theadder wrote: »
    Is it just me or is this tale from the trenches one of the worst tales aesthetically? I mean it doesn't even try to hide what company it is talking about (googling "worst company in the year" gives the company as the second highest result), and seemingly random words are in capital letters (shouting is fun!).

    And then there's this phrase:
    Geth wrote: »
    Because they we’re making the 3rd game, and wanted to make sure me and this other girl (who was in the same hiring class I was in), I spent 2 days working on this before one of the Senior Leads from the QA department came over and told both of us to follow him.
    I don't even.
    Yeah, that sentence is a complete mess.
    First, the hiring process IS INTENSE. They give you a phone interview first, which is easy to pass, as long as you’re not a psycho or a douche (though apparently people manage to fuck this part up).

    Then they get the top ~20ish people into a room, and tell you what to expect during your time there, which surprisingly enough includes a guy who -actually says- something to the equivalent of: “While we do not condone Prejudicial/bigoted speech, it may still happen, so if you don’t have tough skin for that sort of thing, this job may not be the place for you.”
    If only the top 20ish people make it to the second phase, then apparently the phone interview isn't that easy to pass.

    The best card in Hearthstone is your credit card.
  • RobboRobbo Registered User new member
    I registered just for this comment...

    Wow that was hard to read. I almost couldn't make it to the end because the writing was so poor. I always assumed there was some form of editor reviewing these and fixing mistakes... if not there needs to be one. Doesn't even need to be an actual experienced editor, just someone who knows how to grammar.

    On EA and worst company. It hardly is, just pissed off entitled gamers have the loudest voice.

    forty
  • AzeleaAzelea Registered User regular
    Oh. Yay. Another person at EA that doesn't care about how they treat their customers.

    Yes, we really care about your corporate parties. We're so happy that you're getting drunk. Now I'm totally looking at EA in a different way.

  • formatformat Registered User regular
    edited March 2014
    Glad I'm not the only one who had a problem with that tale.

    See this is why even computer science majors need English classes. RANDOM words CAPITALIZED is annoying TO read. If only 20 people pass the phone interview, obviously the phone interview is pretty hard. The random punctuation, if you want to say you and another person went across the street, say that, not you (and another girl) went -across the street-.

    And are corporate parties really that rare? From my experience they aren't. Most big corporations have one a month at least, especially if you are competing for programmers you need to draw them in somehow. Maybe QA is different considering the other tales that show up here.

    format on
    You don't know if I am joking or not.
  • wallachiwallachi Registered User new member
    edited March 2014
    I wish the grammar were the worst part of this story.
    Now, that statement wasn’t meant to discourage any person of any race/creed/gender/orientation/etc. from sticking around, he was just stating a simple fact that
    ...that the "mystery company" known as Enigmatic Associates sees fit to not-so-vaguely imply that speaking up against casual, pervasive bigotry is a sign of weakness.

    Not that I can blame them for that position, seeing as you'd soon have to start showing the actual trouble-makers the door. The mindset behind such behavior, especially in the work-place, is self-absorbed, myopic, and full of "chillax, it's not a big deal." That's also the mindset which allows their opinion of a company allegedly SKIRTING THE LINES OF A FEDERAL OFFENSE to be swayed by
    KEGS (and) cotton candy

    If they couldn't do that, they'd have to actually answer to their employees for (arguably) actively cultivating a hostile workplace environment. Allegedly.

    Speaking of "allegedly," someone wake the editor up. I don't mind if the sentence structure is as utterly distracted as the author, or the grammar is as messy as the implications of the story. But you probably don't want to get stuck arguing there is no editorial negligence, much less any diligence, when the "gatekeeper" doesn't enforce the publicly-posted ground-rules for submissions.

    That last bit comes from a place of sincere Trenches-love: I don't want to lose you guys, especially not just because a Tales-submission thought it was much, much more cute and clever with its "hints" than it actually was.

    wallachi on
  • RobboRobbo Registered User new member
    Azelea wrote: »
    Oh. Yay. Another person at EA that doesn't care about how they treat their customers.

    Yes, we really care about your corporate parties. We're so happy that you're getting drunk. Now I'm totally looking at EA in a different way.
    Just in-case you were talking about me, EA is a terrible company and I do not like anything they do. I was just saying they are hardly the worst company in the world at all. Just gamers are loud.

    forty
  • Ori KleinOri Klein Registered User regular
    edited March 2014
    1) Isaac is becoming more and more like a complete, incompetent, idiotic, loser. Thereby kind of making the whole comic seem like a waste of time with nothing to say. Clarification: Isaac was a lousy loser to begin with, but apparently he could do something somewhat well, at least partially, in his past whereas now he's a complete buffoon who shouldn't be in-charge of an ant hill. Also, I would expect Q to be a bit smarter than that? Just wait when he get the HR salary bill...
    2) A personal experience at a company is all about how skilled you are at the job, how well you mesh with management and how human(e) are your direct superiors. Place can be heaven and you'll be in hell and vice versa.
    3) While this person had a good anecdote, having known people who worked in the company in various degrees of positions (and their personal experience wasn't necessarily bad, but the things they know and tell...), as well as how they treat their products and clientèle, I would still deem them quite worthy of the title.
    4) A company's reputation all in all stems from its upper management. When that structure is rotten and narcissist, the rest tends to decay downwards.

    Ori Klein on
  • NeuroskepticNeuroskeptic Registered User regular
    Ori Klein wrote: »
    1) Isaac is becoming more and more like a complete, incompetent, idiotic, loser. Thereby kind of making the whole comic seem like a waste of time with nothing to say.

    The second sentence doesn't follow from the first sentence. If you don't like Trenches, you don't like it, but don't try to rationalize it.

  • AzeleaAzelea Registered User regular
    Robbo wrote: »
    Just in-case you were talking about me, EA is a terrible company and I do not like anything they do. I was just saying they are hardly the worst company in the world at all. Just gamers are loud.


    And you were and aremaking a good point, too. No, my comments were directed at the trench tale guy.

    It's so oblivious that because he as employee is being treated well, that that would somehow invalidate the complaints customers have against said organisation. Worse, he throws them under the bus by identifying them.

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