Tales from The Trenches Archive

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Man of the Match

I remember very clearly the first game I ever tested.  Ken Griffey, Jr’s Winning Run for the SNES.  America’s pastime being developed by a UK developer (they couldn’t figure out why the MVP of the game wasn’t called the “Man of the Match”).

But what I remember the most is learning how different testing was compared to playing a game.  I don’t normally sit down to a baseball game and play a tie game to 99 innings to see if the game will freak out when it hits 100.  I don’t normally sit down at a video game with a scorer’s book and chart the pitches of the CPU pitchers to make sure they are throwing the correct ones.

This was not “getting paid to play games” – this was “getting paid to perform monotonous, time consuming, mind numbing activities.”  This was sit at your desk and try to hit a home run that barely crosses the top of the fence just a little right of the footage marker in center field of the Kingdome because three builds ago the sprite of the center fielder that jumped up to catch the ball warped through the wall and disappeared off screen… oh, and this only happens in the bottom of the fifth inning.  Does it take you two hours to recreate? Four hours? Three days?  It doesn’t matter – doing it is your task.

You learn to hate every game you test (with some small exceptions). You go to sleep thinking about them, wake up thinking about them and even dream about them. Hours spent in a small windowless room with little ventilation.

Trapped.

But in the end, it’s all worth it. Actually, no wait – it wasn’t. That bug you spent the last week trying to track down just got waived as a feature.