Mar 27, 2013
It took me half a year of working as a tester before I first came to realize it. The first time, I read it in a forum post. Soon after, it was in a certain respected YouTube personality’s ‘Let’s Play’. Now that I’m aware of it, it’s much like a broken pack of Skittles; it’s everywhere.
What I’m talking about is this: If there’s a bug in the game, it’s the QA team’s fault.
At least that seems to be what the general public thinks. This makes me strangely annoyed, and a bit sad. It doesn’t matter how many thousands of bugs you find – if anyone finds as much as one graphical glitch on an odd platform, you are apparently a brainless, unskilled monkey rather than a professional tester with years of experience.
But I’m getting ahead of myself here. I guess I should probably follow storytelling conventions and start from the beginning. I am, as you might have figured, a QA tester. You might have come across us before, or even been one yourself. We’re the people who fell for the allure of playing games for a living and discovered it’s more about reporting, cubicles and paperwork (just like Penny Arcade immortalized). I recently started working for a pretty respectable games developer who has turned out a pretty respectable number of titles for a pretty respectable fanbase. You probably would have heard of them. The catch is, I will not tell you the name of the company. Besides, it’s more fun (for me) that way!
Returning to the subject of QA, in a way I sort of get it. It is, after all, our job to find bugs, and we should not let anything go unnoticed. What the majority of gamers and self-proclaimed all-knowing reviewers don’t seem to realize, however, is that it takes two to play co-op. There’s no tiny magician that solves the issue just because it’s reported – it’s up to the programmers to get around to fixing it. If you’re working with a smaller team, it might get lost in the vast ocean called ‘ToDo’.
I guess being a QA is sort of like being a goal keeper. People only talk about you when you’ve screwed up. And it’s not really like you can defend yourself without throwing cakes at the developers either. Maybe we will just have to take it. Keep our heads high and just continue doing our jobs. We are the silent guardians of game development, and they will never have to thank us.
– The Secret Tester
Tune in for a new entry of The Secret Diary of a Tester every other Wednesday!