Tales from The Trenches Archive

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115 hours a week, still paid hourly

Back in the Oughts I was working QA for a big publisher who had a number of PS2/Xbox/PC games in the pipe.  A good number of us were conscripted to move down to SoCal for a couple of months working on a
game.  Everyone got their own Extended Stay hotel room complete with continental breakfast.  The soda machine’s Pepsi didn’t have the proper amount of fizz, but it worked perfectly for whatever random ham
and cheese and onion omelette and hash browns you wanted that day.

That part was okay.  Plus I had my PS2 plugged into the hotel room’s TV and ruined Jak 3.

But there was also work.  And that work took place in a scarily small room clearly not designed to hold the amount of electronics that were in those four walls.  20 people in a 20x10 room, each with an Xbox, PS2, and PC.  In Southern California.  In July.  And we had to build our own fan.

Yes, we had one fan.  And it was pointed out of the room,  If Jesus was an electrician, he would have fainted if he saw this setup.

And if that wasn’t enough, we regularly showed up at work at 8 in the morning and didn’t leave until 2 the morning.  There is a concept of “Drop Dead Time” where you are given 8 hours plus travel time plus 30 minutes to clean the filth out of your various holes.  That whole concept went out the window at some point.

The Apex of this entire endeavor leads up to near the Publish Ready date.  QA gets paid per hour, and this final week, we worked One Hundred and Fifteen Hours.  Let me break that down quickly One standard human week equal 178 Hours.  Subtracting 8 hours for sleep, that equals one (1) hour of not working time.  You have to force a beer down to keep up with this schedule, let alone four to cleanse your mental palate.

And then the game was delayed another couple months, so I had that time to hone my skills in setting people on fire via my mind.