The "Ask a Video Game Tester" Thread! 5 replies

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#1 4 years ago

Pretty much what the title says.

Since there seems to be quite a bit of mystery surrounding the specifics of what exactly video game testers do, I decided to start this thread in order to answer any questions curious forum members might have about the profession. There's a lot going on in my life right now, but I'll try and drop by at least once every two or three days to answer any questions people might have.

Due to non-disclosure agreements, I can't reveal anything about upcoming releases or go into too much detail about older ones, but I'll mention specific titles if I have something good to say about that particular game or publisher and avoid naming names if I don't.

So, if anyone has any questions, fire away! :)




Andron Taps Forum Mod

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#2 4 years ago

How much do you make testing video games, because...yeah...I'd totally jump on that :p

Also: I test hardware, so I'm always willing to swap stories about the two intertwined fields.


"I'd shush her zephyr." ~ Zephyr.



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#3 4 years ago

Adrian Ţepeş;5746176How much do you make testing video games, because...yeah...I'd totally jump on that :p

Also: I test hardware, so I'm always willing to swap stories about the two intertwined fields.

Woo! A question from a moderator! I'm honored. Also, there's no better place to swap stories than here. :)

To answer your question, though, I first need to clarify that there're actually three different types of video game testers, though the work they do overlap to a certain extent:

1. Functionality testers are what come to mind when most people think of video game testing. Their job is to not only to make sure that the game works as intended, but to subsequently do everything in their power to break it. This involves doing things such as using items in unconventional ways or combinations, backtracking, sequence breaking, attempting to access inaccessible areas, making sure collision is working so you don't walk through walls or fall out of the game world, etc.

2. Localization testers are foreign language speakers who test the game to make sure all the in-game text and audio are translated and implemented properly. They're also responsible for making sure that cutoffs, overruns, spelling and grammar mistakes, etc. don't make their way into the game. This particular type of testing is what I specialize in.

3. Compliance testers have the job of verifying that all the in-game terminology, visual representations of hardware and software, legal documents, etc. comply with Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo's standards. Most of the time, compliance testing is done by functionality and localization testers, though there are some companies where they form their own separate team. This is probably the most important type of testing to get right, as games can fail submission if there's anything that doesn't comply with the rules. Anything questionable they run across is flagged and inquiries sent to the experts on the certification team for further evaluation.

If you're a tester for an outsourcing company - i.e. not an in-house tester, for, say, Nintendo, who most definitely pay their employees more money - functionality testers make the least money to start, i.e. around minimum wage. Localization testers are more specialized and thus make two or three dollars more per hour.




Red Menace

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#4 4 years ago

What is the worst mistake you've ever come across?


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Ryojin

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#5 4 years ago
Lunar Archivist;5746501 1. Functionality testers are what come to mind when most people think of video game testing. Their job is to not only to make sure that the game works as intended, but to subsequently do everything in their power to break it. This involves doing things such as using items in unconventional ways or combinations, backtracking, sequence breaking, attempting to access inaccessible areas, making sure collision is working so you don't walk through walls or fall out of the game world, etc.

This was my last job... Man, I got so good at breaking games... XD


Disclaimer: Personal opinions still not endorsed by Ryojin.



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#6 4 years ago

Red Menace;5746604What is the worst mistake you've ever come across?[/QUOTE]

Depends on what you mean by "worst". :)

If you mean facepalm-worthy in general, I was testing a real-time strategy game on a PC and started looking through the skirmish levels...only to find that one of the maps had rivers in the shape of a swastika. That was pretty much on par with the Rock Band game where part of northeastern Canada was referred to as "Iceland". I found it, wrote a bug report about it, and it was waived. :confused:

The worst localization problem I've personally run across was a blind, context-less translation attempt on the now-defunct MMORPG LEGO Universe. While going though the game's inventory, I happened upon a medieval helmet that was inexplicably referred to as "Baby Crib" in German. Turns out the original English word was "bassinet", which is indeed a homonym for both a type of medieval helmet and a baby crib in that language. :D

My colleagues have found some real howlers, though:

1. There was a PlayStation 3 error message that helpfully informed the user that the system was unable to connect to Xbox Live. (Thank god for that, or you'd have a whole new set of problems.)

2. A warning message which had apparently been fed through Babelfish resulted in some hilariously wrong translations ("Do not turn off the power." and "Xbox Memory Unit" became "Do not shut off the electricity." and "Xbox Mneumonic Unit of Measurement", respectively).

3. The Spanish translator on a Nancy Drew game didn't do their homework on George Fayne and ended up translating every pronoun referring to the character as male instead of female.

4. A World War II strategy game with a sci-fi bent had the crew of a submarine pick up a male member of the Hitler Youth that was originally named Joseph Ratzinger...which happened to be the real name of the then sitting Pope Benedict XVI.

5. The following Xbox 360 error message which appeared in the Italian version of a game:

Please insert a Memory Unit into the controller port to continue. Si Nein

That one had us in stitches because we couldn't even begin to describe everything that was wrong there.

[QUOTE=Ryojin;5746632]This was my last job... Man, I got so good at breaking games... XD

It does take a certain special mindset to do that job. And I mean that in a good way. :)