The video game industry is a dream destination for many. The thought of spending the day playing video games, especially those that aren’t out on the market yet, is simply too good to ignore. However, video game testing, often the first stepping stone in a career in the video game industry, is more than just a leisurely activity. Find out how to become a video game tester and discover how to take this interest to the next level.
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What is Video Game Testing?
Video game testing or QA (Quality Assurance) testing is a critical process in game development. Testers are charged with playing games in development to find and document any bugs or glitches. Beyond finding technical errors, they’re also looking for elements that detract from the user experience, such as difficult controls or poor graphic design.
This role is paramount to ensuring that video games are free from issues that can hinder gameplay, disrupt the player’s experience, or even halt the game entirely. It is an essential component of quality assurance, requiring keen attention to detail and a comprehensive understanding of video games across different game consoles.
The Role of a Video Game Tester
The game tester job description is far from monotonous. Testers do more than simply play a game; they meticulously analyze every feature of the game, documenting any irregularities and issues that may arise. They also work in close conjunction with the game design and project management teams to provide feedback about the gameplay, controls, and overall user experience.
Additionally, game testers may need to do a bug report, follow test plans, help with quality assurance, and, at times, even dip into game code to understand problems better. They might work on entry level tasks initially, but as they grow in their roles, their responsibilities might include designing test scenarios or leading a QA team.
Becoming a Video Game Tester
If you’re looking to land game testing jobs, there are several prerequisites to keep in mind:
1. Passion for Video Games: You need to love playing video games. The role demands that you spend long hours experimenting with different aspects of a game, often repetitively, to ensure all components work flawlessly.
2. Qualifications: While there’s no strict educational requirement for becoming a game tester, having some background in IT or computer science could be beneficial. More important is a history of playing video games.
3. Skills: Good communication and writing skills are crucial as you will need to accurately document and report bugs. Basic knowledge of graphic design and understanding how games are built can also be advantageous.
4. Start at the Bottom: Most people start their career in the gaming industry at entry-level game testing positions. While it might sound unglamorous, this is where you learn the ropes and understand the industry from the inside.
5. Networking: Attend industry events, join online communities, and connect with people already working in the sector. Networking can often lead to job opportunities.
6. Apply: Some video game companies advertise video game tester jobs online. Check their websites and job boards regularly. Apply to the roles that match your skill set and career goals.
Where To Apply To Be A Video Game Tester In the Capital Region
The easiest way to become a video game tester is just to ask. Several local video game developers are actively recruiting employees, and also welcome video game players. Here is a list of video game developers in and near Albany NY:
- Blizzard Entertainment (Formerly Vicarious Visions) – Albany NY & Irvine CA.
- Velan Studios – Troy NY.
- 1st Playable Productions – Troy NY.
- WB Games – Troy NY.
- Wolfjaw Studios – Troy NY.
- Jahnel Group – Schenectady NY.
Digital Game Events
- GameFest: Held in Spring at RPI, the annual event is a symposium and exhibition of student games (from Rensselaer and beyond.) For more details, see the GameFest website.
- Game Events
- Global Game Jam: The Global Game Jam is a networked worldwide event where new computer and board games are created by enthusiasts, gamers, artists, designers, developers and anyone else who wants to learn something—beginners, students, amateurs, and professionals. First, a surprise theme is announced (each time zone has different parameters). The participants then form themselves into ad hoc teams that each create a theme-related game, on-site in the next 48 hours. For more information, head to the Global Game Jam website.
- Computer Club: Capital District Linux Users Group – Monthly meetings in East Greenbush, NY.
Video Game Museum
- International Center for the History of Electronic Games – Rochester, NY.