So many of us have expressed this interest at one time or another that the question seems down-right ridiculous.
But--and think carefully before you answer--do you really know what the job involves?
Testing a game requires you to play the game as the developers demand, find bugs and report them, have an eye for detail and some knowledge of the various genres. It does NOT mean you play your favorite shooter until you win.
Expect: to work long hours with little financial compensation and even less appreciation. Make no mistake, unless you are a professional game developer yourself, as a game tester you are the bottom man on the totem pole.
Expect: A short-term gig. You are there for one purpose and one purpose only, and once that has been completed, your job is done.
Don't expect: job security, a high standard of living while the testing is going on (or afterward, if the salary is typical of company standards) or to work in the comfort of your own home, with your own consoles. That's just not the way it's done.
But we know, even after all of the above, you are still reading this. You still want to do it, don't you?
HERE'S HOW TO MAKE IT HAPPEN:
If you don't live in a town where the huge gaming companies have a base, move now. They will not come to you. No matter how many levels you have beaten on how many games, they are not going to fly you in to test their games. Get real.
So where do you move to?
Seek out Newport Beach for Shiny Entertainment, creators of Earthworm Jim and Enter the Matrix. While you're in California, check out Agoura Hills-based THQ.
Don't like California? Fine. Redmond, Washington is even more of a hot spot for potential testers. That's where Nintendo looks for talent.
2. Work on Your Writing Skills
WTF? I have to know how to write, too? Yep. If you want to get ahead as a game tester, you have to be able to document bugs and phrase criticisms and critiques into well-formulated sentences in written reports. Don't believe us? Check this out:
if you actually become a tester you're going to be writing up bugs quite often. I imagine they would want to see someone who can write properly since your writing is going to be floating around the company databases...
Big Huge Games
My QA application included a cover letter that detailed all of the things I look for and/or enjoy in the games that I play. It was essentially a personal essay, but took no more than a single printed page. It must have helped, as I have just celebrated my sixth anniversary with the company.
"Where quality begins with QA!"
Quotes from IGDA forum.
3. Learn Another Language
Hey, it may sound extreme, but if you want to run with the big dogs, you gotta...well, you know what we mean. Gaming is a global enterprise now, and the big game developers actively seek translators to avoid any "all your base are belong to us" glitches. And they just don't get any bigger than Blizzard nowadays, do they?
Oh, wait! Maybe they do. Ever heard of these guys?
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Tuesday, April 24, 2007