Quality Assurance in computer games? You what? My adorable daughter, who only five minutes ago was insisting that pink was the only colour she was willing to wear, that Hero Quest 2 was the best computer game ever (though her hands were too little to kill orcs) and that we had to have a dog, has now suddenly become a very cool young woman who no longer wears pink, plays roller derby (London Rockin’ Rollers, since you ask) and works in the computer games industry. She still wants a dog, but is being mature about it because she doesn’t really have the time or space for one.
People often ask me what she does. I tell them QA – quality assurance. They say (usually, because they too are digital immigrants) what’s that? I say… er… Sometimes I try to blind them with bs, but that doesn’t usually work.
This, in her own words, is what she does.
“So recently a bunch of people have asked me how to get into QA because it sounds like “such a laugh”. While I love my job and would absolutely encourage people (especially ladies, yo! More ladies in games plz) to get into testing as a career, I would also like to explain to those outside of game development why we can be slightly less than responsive when someone says “wow! Playing playstation all day must be the cushiest job ever!”
Sometimes it’s straightforward and you find a bug that’s easy to explain & pinpoint. Or a designer comes and asks you to check if their latest update is working as intended. Or you suggest something could be done better because you play it the most so you know it’s kinda awkward. Or you run through your standard list of checks and something has clearly broken since yesterday so you track down exactly when it broke.
You know when someone is compulsively superstitious? Or a conspiracy theorist who sees connections EVERYWHERE and it was THE BUTTERFLY EFFECT from that time someone SNEEZED in NEPAL and now 9/11 was an inside job because LIZARD PEOPLE?
Imagine being that person, except *a lot of the time you’re right*.
What I’m trying to say, prospective future testers, is that when a QA job spec says “excellent attention to detail” or “good memory” that is because sometimes you will have to write bug reports that are the game-dev equivalent of “to see this utter fuckery you must first spin around 6x anticlockwise, recite the declaration of independence, go make a cup of tea and punch yourself in the face. It will then occur about 40% of the time. And for reference it seems a lot like a similar wackiness that happened about 2 months ago to someone else on the QA team which is potentially completely unconnected but READ BETWEEN THE LINES, MAN. Also plz don’t ignore because when it *does* happen it literally rips apart the fabric of reality kthxbi.”
This is why we are a bit on edge a lot of the time.”
I also laughed out loud with that final paragraph. God, she’s talented.