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Outside The Box


Outside The Box

New comics every Tuesday & Thursday

Tales from the Trenches

Loosest slots in the business!

Early in my QA career I worked as a QA tester for a major casino gaming company testing video slot machines (as well as traditional mechanical reel machines). I really enjoyed the work, despite the never-ending jangle of slot machines. Working in the QA pit was like working on the floor of a major casino.

A large consideration behind slot machines is the RNG - random number generator - a key factor in slot machines. Newer machines, especially video slots, are COMPLETELY unpredictable. Winning truly is absolutely random. When you work with the machines all day and become accustomed to how the math works, you truly understand why, “The House Always Wins” - you don’t stand a chance unless you’re blessed with ungodly luck… and luck is all there is to lean on.

At one point of my short two years with the company, I stumbled across a bug in which triggering a certain win would cause the computer to freak out briefly. This brief computer freakout would cause a decimal place to jump on a win, making a 4 quarter win jump to a several thousand dollar win, and so on.

The problem was, the bug was difficult to trigger, but not impossible. My repro steps were lengthy, but 100% reproduceable. The dev in charge of the title investigated my bug, had me repro it for him, and nodded. A day later the bug was closed as, “As designed” and my lead informed me not to bark up the tree anymore.

Around a month later, the title went prime time… and somewhere in an Indian casino, a man triggered a win that netted him the max machine payout ... on a payout that should have been a dollar.

Hell rained down on the QA department - the devs were furious - and this was a company where Devs saw QA as the enemy.

After a few days of head-chopping awfulness, the bug that I’d logged was found. It had been reassigned, renamed, and put in a backlog bucket of feature requests. The bug detailed EXACTLY what happened. The dev who was responsible had altered the bug without my knowledge and dumped it, hoping to hide the evidence without deleting it… or the detailed notes I’d included.

He was fired by the end of the day and I was later laid off with many of my comrades… but while they were brought back, I wasn’t. My lead’s explanation, off the record at the time, “They didn’t want you back - you’re a sh*t disturber.”