Dec 22, 2009
It’s every gamers fantasy: To actually be there and help create a video game. Any secondary gaming fantasy can’t be printed because I’m trying to keep this PG, but I’m sure it involves chocolate sauce and the bikini girls of Dead or Alive. PRNewsire.com has released a report about the gaming industry and a slight increase in employment in North America. Although you might scoff at how ‘slight’ it may be, seeing as how it increased from 44,400 to 44,806, those 406 newly employed people are making their dreams come true.
With that being said, it’s no big surprise that California is the spearhead for developers in the United States. I got an exclusive interview for GGS in the form of a recently employed PlayStation game tester for Sony. His name is Ryan Durkin and he had some interesting things to say about his job if anyone’s curious about that first step into the world of gaming.
How long have you been working as a game tester?
Ryan Durkin: I’ve been working as a game tester since June of 2009.
What does a game tester look for and do while they play?
RD: What a game tester does is find anything out of the ordinary a game might have. For example if there are three bosses and you’re able to kill two bosses and unable to get to the third, that would be a bug. We also check for legal bugs: for example if there’s a Nike symbol in the game, we have to write that up because the developers might not have permission from Nike to use that symbol. Or if PlayStation isn’t copyrighted or spelled in the right format that has to be written up. It’s really the little things you have to notice, you need a keen eye.
What is it like working for Sony? Do you get any cool perks?
RD: Working at Sony is definitely a feeling I enjoy a lot. The only cool perks about working as a game tester, or as Sony likes to call it “Game Test Analyst”, is that you get to brag that you play video games for eight hours.
Do you go into an office or do you play at home?
RD: You have to go in to an office. They don’t trust anyone to take home a game and just test it there. Believe me: Grandma’s Boy does have a few flaws where some of things they do in [the film] are wrong, but if I did play at home I’d go crazy.
Is there a lot of downtime between jobs? Is it a full time job or do you do it when they call you in?
RD: It’s a lot of both. All titles that you get called in for is full time work but you’re only there for a certain amount time. It could range from two weeks to eight weeks depending on the title and the release date.
Do you have any other experience in the gaming industry? (Like tournaments and etc)
RD: I wouldn’t say this is my only gaming experience, I am very familiar with MLG (Major League Gaming). I did travel to go to tournaments about a year ago, it was very exciting. It was a different culture because there weren’t any stereotypical gamers there, it was just full of cool and relaxed people that enjoyed the same things.
Would you stay in this job or are you interested in another branch of the industry?
RD: Definitely another branch. Although game testing is a fun, relaxing, and comfortable environment, I don’t want to be testing games for the next 10 years. The part of the branch I’m more drawn in to is the development or brainstorming area.
Can you say anything to people who are interested in working in the gaming industry, as some kind of nugget of wisdom or encouragement?
RD: If gaming is really something you enjoy and love to do, then becoming a game tester is a great way to get your foot in the door to whatever you want to do in the gaming industry.
Photo credit from: Designshapesbusiness.com