Game tester

Hi, i'm new.
My question is about becoming a Game Tester. There was a couple of things I was wondering about this type of job. Firstly I was wondering what kinds of paths I would have to take to land a job like this. Considering this type of job is more than likely in high demand, I imagine it's not exactly an easy task. I had written a few letters of inquiry to places like Ratbag Games (since it's also Adelaide based) etc, and basically was told just to play lots of games. I need to know if there's any sort of prior experience needed in any other field, aside from testing games. It's a field i've wanted to get into ever since I was 10, and i'm now 19 and have been out of School for a year, so I think it's about time I started looking into it.

My second question is about a Resume. I'm aware that you would need a decent resume, but i've got no idea as to what kinds of things to put in it, I don't really have any qualifications or anything. This question kind of ties in with the first question.

Any help would be appreciated, thanks! I've really got no other place to look, when it comes to actually FINDING this kind of information, I am clueless.

unknownuser1's picture

I have a friend who is also interested in this, so this turned out to be quite a nice thread.

My suggestion would be to play games as much as posible (like you were told), but take that level of playing a little bit further. As a tester, you are meant to make sure that the game is solid. Both technically and gameplay wise. You should have the ability to try to do things that can't be done normally within the game (ie jumping out of levels). You should also be able to find faults in game, but have an idea on how it could be fixed. And that means fixing it towards the masses, not your own personal tastes :D

Here is probably a good place to start. You can always start up threads in the 'General Chat' area about the latest games and start criting them.

A resume is one of the biggest bastard of thing you could ever write. I'm doing up some now to try to get another part time job. A resume for this kind of job is a specialty deal. You should have the following:

. Cover Letter. Intro to you and a brief reason why you would be good for the job. Try to wrap up your whole resume in one page. Make it NO LONGER. These people are busy and they don't want to read an eight page essay about your cat fluffy and the lovely suprise she coughed up two years ago.
. Personal Details. Name, DOB. All the usual stuff.
. Education History. What you have studied. You can include marks and grades if you are pleased with them, but probably not overly nescecary.
. Work History. Any jobs you may have had. Even if it was working a year at McDonnalds, it will still show that you have team skills (VERY important).
. References/Refereees. A list of any people who can vouch for your abilities and character. Friends are a quick and often useless idea. They dont want to speak to your friend of 5 years as they will of caurse say that you are a good guy. Have bosses, fellow workers, and even teachers from school. They should be able to say that you are an honest hard working guy who can work well in group situations.

The Important parts for you.

. Write down the top 5 games you have played. What made them good, why you enjoyed them. But also have why they pissed you off at times, and how they could be made better.
. Write down the last 5 games you have played and repeat as above.

Try to keep it sounding professional, yet show a more 'causual' style. You will all have to work with wach other a lot. It is important that you can all get on well as you are a friendly guy. Try not to use emoticons though ;) (yeah. like that).

Try to make it stand out. If they have to read a few dozen resumes in a week, how are they going to remember yours? Print it on some nice paper. If you know some graphic design, then make up a flashy looking one in PhotoShop. Presentation is very very important. This resume is presenting you. They will have to trust what you are like by a bunch of paper. Make it good.

Lastly. SPELL CHECK IT!!!!! Read it to make sure that it sounds and flows well. Take it to a past english teacher and get him/her to read over it. The more they pick the hell out of it, the less a future employer can. They can also help you with your wording.

That is my two cents. There are people here though who actually have jobs in the gaming industry and can probably help you out a lot more with this. I would also like to know.

Good luck.

Kritter's picture

Hmmm, well I think i'm already pretty good at looking for errors in games. I'm always playing them and looking for flaws or ways to make them better, although I have no idea HOW to fix them.
And thanks for the Resume help, most of that stuff explains itself really. Emoticons in a resume, you'd be doomed from the start I think. I could probably get some good references maybe...but I don't exactly have any work history yet. Maybe it would be a good idea to get some experience first?

Also, if anyone else has anything to add, please do because I could really do with any help offered. [;)]

smeg's picture

Perhaps the most important thing about testing games is your commitment. You will be playing the same game, the same levels, over and over for up to a year. The developer wants to know that you will be able to continue trying to find bugs in the game without bitching (or leaving :D).

Having said that, its important that you realise (and show them) that you are not just there to play games and get paid for it. When you find a problem, you have to try to reproduce it, work out exactly what you did to make it break, write up an explaination and probably even suggest what has gone wrong.

Obviously no one expects you to know the cause of every bug; but with a few weeks/months experience you should know whether the problem needs to be fixed by the artists, the animators, the level designers or the coders.

Everything else was covered neatly by Aven. =D Hope I've said at least something useful.

cheers

jacobt's picture

Hey Kritter, good to see another Adelaidean around :D

I have a mate who started as a tester a few weeks ago. Before that (and continuing now, I think) he wrote games reviews for different magazines.

Just an idea!