When I was reading this Penny Arcade strip, I thought to myself, “A reality show where the contestants win a position as a games tester. Oh, ho, ho, ho, what fanciful jesters this Gabe and Tycho be. No one would be as daft as to compete for such a non-wager. No one indeed! Ho, ho, ho!”
And then I clicked on the link. This. Is a real thing. With hosts. And contestants. The hapless fellow you see in that strip is an actual contestant, Anthony “Nauseous” Brown. WHY IS THIS A REAL THING?!
It appears that in 2010, the game industry still has too much glamour for its own good. Sure, you can get ahead in the games industry by starting as a games tester. But instead of being recognized for your talent or creativity, you go through a glorified hazing ritual that tests your ability to deal with a lot of organizational BS and getting fired every Christmas. That can be difficult if you’re hampered by things like a love of life and a human soul.
This might sound like I’m bitter about my experience of being a games tester. Far from it. I learned a few things. Working a boring, repetitive, high pressure job can motivate you to find a better one. Giant, faceless corporations aren’t exactly as malevolent or even as competent as they seem. I hope any future job I take will be awarded to me based on my skills and education, not on my ability to take mental punishment.