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Oh, the Trenches

March 17th, 2015
  • Sumo

So I like Penny Arcade.  I have some favorites I will list here:

Squarts
The Sucking
Acclaim
Katamari
Seriously though, For Real
Alone in the Dark
Mancraft

While on their site, I was clicking some random links and found The Trenches.  I devoured the whole comic series in a few hours and enjoyed it.

However, I was clicking some random links on The Trenches and found the motherlode: a series of posts about the game industry.  People can post their tales about working, and I am reposting my favorite, which reminded me of the show ‘The Tester’:

Not Worth It.

  • 10/04/2011 – Anonymous

Back in ‘06 I spent about six glorious months working for a very large name game company on a few of the most well known franchises in the gaming world. The most memorable experience was before I even got in the door.

In short, the hiring process felt like being on a modern day reality TV show, competing at small rigged contests for the pure amusement of others while attempting to win a mystery prize that ends up sucking.

The whole ordeal starts by arriving at the front of the QA building as you and 20 to 30 other gamers are herded like cattle into a tiny lobby. Some of them were evidently “hardcore,” as you could identify them by the scent.

Eventually, when on the verge of passing out from the heat and smell, an “official” employee comes to gather everyone into a slightly more spacious room. You are given a written exam.  Nothing that was too strenuous by any means. Here is a picture of a controller, identify which system it goes to. Basically it was there to weed out idiots that wanted to play pre-release games but didn’t know anything about systems. The half that passed said written test moved on.

Round two takes place on a variety of consoles. You are shown standard bugs in a game (clipping, audio, video, gameplay) and then given a sheet with directions for recreating some of the bugs.  After you go through the process a few times you get 15 minutes to find as many bugs as you can, reproduce them and then write the directions for a dev to follow to reproduce them.  On average, maybe 5 people get past this.  Those 5 people move on to the next round.

Round three is an actual interview.  In my case, I was lead to a room with two guys behind a table. They greet me and ask some random getting to know you questions for a couple minutes and about five minutes in I, no joke, get handed a blindfold.  After it is firmly affixed, the “real” interview begins.  You get hit with a never ending assault of questions about what they are each wearing, what they look like, what the room looks like, what furniture was in it, what colors the walls are (three of the four walls were different colors), etc.

After what seemed like hours, the questions stopped coming.  You then get to sit out with the receptionist out front. Out of my group of five, I was the only one to “win” a position. I guess that was supposed to be something special as they said statistically only about 3 of every 100 applicants actually got a job.

The prize however was not on par with the obstacle course you must run to “earn” it.  80 hour weeks leading up to a game release with no overtime pay and never seeing your loved ones let alone the light of day… and for some a shower, is not worth a free copy of the game on the system of your choice upon release.

Penny Arcade Reality Show

Borrowed from Penny Arcade without their permission.

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