Tales from The Trenches Archive

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What? You wanted to get paid??

Years ago my buddy came across a posting on a bulletin board (an actual physical one) at BYU looking for game testers over the summer.

Since this is the dream of many a foolish college student we called the number and basically had a phone interview. We were told it was for a new startup company that had a contract with the big boy game companies to develop some titles. Since both of has less than zero experience testing games, this sounded perfectly reasonable so we readily accepted.

The work was in Salt Lake City so we made the drive up from Provo (about 45 minutes). When we arrived we SHOULD have had warning bells go off because the job site was in a warehouse with no signs of a real business anywhere in sight. There were about a dozen computers off to the side with a large wooden desk nearby where our boss sat.

We had none of the amenities that I’ve since heard other testers talk about: bottomless refrigerators, fun, a paycheck.

You see they told us that we started in the middle of the pay cycle so we wouldn’t get paid right away and it would be about 3 weeks before we got paid. Sucks but hey we were going to be playing video games all day right!? And play we did. We worked on 3 or 4 different titles, none ever seemed quite ready. Some of the stupidest, boring, mind numbingly inane games ever designed. And buggy. But we were in a “crunch” they said, so we worked 80+ hour weeks. Yay! Video games AND overtime!

And then came the day, about three weeks after we started, that we showed up and the doors were locked. When we went around to the side and peeked in the window the warehouse was completely empty. No desks, no crappy computers, no note, and certainly no money.