Being a game tester seems like the dream… getting to play brand new games before anyone else! Surely you will complete the games and find any cheats before all other players get their hands on it.
In reality this dream job might not be all it’s cracked up to be! Here’s what it really means to be a Quality Assurance Game Tester.
It goes without saying that you will have access to games before they are released. Whilst you will travel through all levels of the game, you won’t be playing but rather breaking.
The main aim is to find bugs and all the smaller glitches that haven’t already stood out to the developers. Rather than playing in the intended manner, trying to complete the set tasks and move on to the next level, a tester will go against the grain.
The tester will interact with the game in unexpected ways that the developers never predicted in order to check the code. This can start off small, such as walking into walls building up to something much more destructive. We all remember the grenade glitch in the original Halo, throwing grenades before you got out of the pelican transport clearly wasn’t tested!
Some bugs can be so minor that only a tester would notice it as an issue, but level-breaking glitches can make or break a players experience. Whatever the bug or glitch size, a QA Game Tester needs to find it first.
Are you cut-out to be a QA Game Tester
Not only is it an immense pressure to be a QA Game Tester but the nature of the role isn’t for everyone.
The repetitive and detail oriented aspects of the role mean that testers have to go over the same area of a game multiple times to check the tiniest elements of each map or task. It’s also not the time for thoughtless playing as you have to concentrate at all times, which can very quickly become a very monotonous activity! When you do find a bug or glitch the whole process in finding it needs to be logged clearly.
Creativity is key! You’ll have to think outside the box on how to play the game in unusual ways and predict all the ways competitive gamers might play.
How do you become a QA Game Tester?
As with most Software roles, there are multiple ways to get the same role. There are increasingly specific degrees being released each year such as City University of London’s Computer Science with Games Technology degree.
You can also land a role as a QA Games Tester through vocational routes such as high school and college courses along with a passion for testing and gaming.