The most frequent thing I get asked as a twenty-four year old is, “So what do you do?”. It’s been asked so many times that I know to expect it, and for a while I used the same canned response about being a student or “just taking it easy”. What I didn’t expect is that my reply would be “I test video games.
When I think about the influence of video games on my life, the original Playstation console is the first thing that comes to mind. My favorite games were Twisted Metal 3 (I was always Flower Power), Spyro: Ripto’s Rage, and anything WWF. I played almost every day, and kept playing in the years after that (XBox, Wii, PS3). But although I had such a love for gaming, I never considered pursuing it as a career. When I went off to college I immersed myself in Literature classes and hardly picked up a controller at all.
Today, I’m a Quality Assurance tester here at Kingdom Games. A typical day for me starts with a cup of coffee (sometimes two) and booting up my computer to grab the latest build for testing. If you’re familiar with any reference to Q.A. testers in movies and TV shows, you might hear “testing” and think “playing”, and you wouldn’t be wrong. I play videogames for work every day (say whaaat?).
So as someone with no background in testing outside of a love for games, how did I even get this gig?
I started my time here at Kingdom as one of the Office Managers. I told myself that even though I didn’t have the strongest gamer background, I had a pretty strong gamer heart and I could work hard as an Office Manager. The position was a perfect foot in the door to the industry, and, as time passed, my interest and enthusiasm only grew.
My curiosity eventually carried me toward quality assurance testing. I mentioned to our Studio Head that I was interested in Q.A. and within a week I was switching desks to begin my newest adventure in game dev. I was stoked; I’m still stoked. Now, when people ask what I do, they often follow up with, “Wait, so is it like Grandma’s Boy?”
Of course, there are aspects of being a Q.A. tester that are not only fun and games, and interesting enough, it’s the workload side of this job that I love most. Quality Assurance is the primary hub for player feedback during much of the development process. Logging and recording bugs requires organization, attention to detail, and the ability to communicate effectively. Q.A. testers are the first ones to really see and experience the game, and it’s our job to tell the developers when something needs work.
I never expected that testing video games would be what I get to do for work every day. I’m learning about the industry and gaining new skills, but I also get to use the skills I was so proud of gaining in college. If you have an interest in something and a passion to learn about it, go for it. It could be awesome.