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Which Do You Like Better?

I worked in standards testing for a couple of contracts. To those of you who don’t know, this is the last step before a game is released on a console; the title spends a week or so in testing by the platform owners’ QA dept before it gets wide release. Standards testing is not very in-depth but you get to test A LOT of different titles.

On my second contract, I was on a team with a New Kid who had only been there a couple weeks at that point. Our second week on a team together we had the following conversation:

New Kid: Which do you like better, LastWeeksCrappyTitle (a major sports title) or ThisWeeksCrappyTitle (a licensed racing title)?
Me: Neither.
NK: Really?
M: Really. I don’t care, testing is testing.
NK: C’mon, you gotta have a preference.
M: No, I really don’t.
NK: ...
M: But I guess I prefer TWCT because we’re getting overtime on it.

(And then OT was canceled and I was a sad panda.)

I think this highlights a difference I often see between seasoned testers and new testers. There’s no point in thinking about or even asking if you like a title or not - they all have to be tested.

When a hotly anticipated title comes in, experienced testers do still ask those assigned to it for their opinions. But we mostly ask “How is it?” or “What do you think?” rather than “Do you like it?” Because
even a good game is less enjoyable when you’re testing it, and if you’re enjoying the game too much, you probably aren’t doing a very good job of testing it. It’s also highly likely to be in a genre that you don’t like anyway, so even if it is the very best example of that genre, you’re still not going to like it.

So, no, New Kid, I don’t like it. And when you said “Do you like anything?” when I told you I didn’t like either one, the answer is, yes, I do like things. Just probably not the things that you like.