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Food Fight!

09/26/13

Food Fight!

New comics every Tuesday & Thursday


Tales from the Trenches

QA testing: The psychological problem

To imagine the job of an average QA tester:

1. Get a children’s platform game
2. Play (only) half a level, over and over, for two weeks
3. After two weeks, increase the playable area by half a level and play again
4. Repeat step 3 for 12 months

I was a tester for a few years in one of the better companies, good people, full time work - casual wages (paid for overtime hooray!). So for me the job was… acceptable. It was easy and paid the bills, even though it seemed tedious and mind numbing.

Several years after leaving the company I was watching a TV show on the effects of sensory deprivation on torture victims when I realized why it was so mind numbing.

QA testers undergo a kind of mild sensory deprivation: it’s voluntary self torture. Limited new experiences, painfully constrained actions, penalties for failure but no rewards for success. Things you like get taken away without warning, things you hate become features.

I worked with a guy who had to test a Barbie game for six months and after the game shipped he had become allergic to the color pink.