Tales from The Trenches Archive

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Like Meatloaf.

I worked as a QA tester for about 6 months (long enough to realize I never wanted to do it ever again) when I was in desperate need of work and, you know, money. After I was laid off, I thought I was done with the job. But as it turns out, you’re never done.

Years later, doing a university course for something I actually wanted to do with my life, I find myself in the animation studio of the school taking photos of students. Some of them were working on making a game for some reason. A very excited girl runs up to me, asking if I could pretty please play test her game build for her assignment.

“Sure, I don’t see the harm.” I say, and I sit down and play a horrifically broken FPS and show her exactly where it’s unclear how to progress and what’s wrong with her level design, and offer suggestions on how to improve the product.

“Wow. You’re really good at this!” she exclaims.

“Oh? Well I guess it’s just ingrained in me from when I worked as a game tester.” I respond without thinking. Her eyes widen with excitement, and my heart sinks.

I then spent the next 12 hours testing every single game in their class and giving comprehensive analysis to each of them about the builds. I was also asked to come back in a week to do it again.

I was passed around like a lump of meat loaf and wasn’t even offered any kind of compensation for my time after the fact. They all thought “Playing games for 12 hours” was payment enough…