Tales from The Trenches Archive

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Mighty Casey had it easy.

It was my first job in the game biz after graduating from an art college with a fancy video game degree. A big time publisher had two offices here, and I got to work for their console games division. My first assignment? Testing a baseball game on the PSP. That surely had to be fun, right? Right?

QA’ing a baseball game, never mind one on a portable console, is an exercise in mind-numbing tedium. Sure, some assignments were relatively simple and just involved mindless monotony. Testing every field with every grass pattern. There may have been a tertiary condition that involved time of day. I don’t remember and I don’t want to. There were around five grass patterns that I can remember. How many major league stadiums are there? The game might have had the minor league stadiums available, too.

Of course, none of this even came close to a certain task we had to do. The goal sounded simple at first- you have to take into account a few things to realize the torture that lied ahead. The objective? Hit a home run, aimed specifically at the top edge of the outfield wall between second and third base. It required a degree of precision that would make even Golgo 13 blush. Getting the ball to go right where you want it to go is next to impossible in a baseball game. Is a simple toss from Home Run Derby good enough to do it? Does leaning the control stick even WORK in home run derby? Do we have to tough this out in a real match and risk getting struck out as a result, forced to either restart the match to bat again or pitch our way to a new inning? Is the physics engine going to let us do what we want? Is a PSP even capable of this sort of precision guided batting?

Are we just the Random Number Generator’s playthings?

Ultimately, I was a little sad to see the game go gold and get shipped out. We went through so much together.