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(SFGate)   Video game tester makes $40K a year, but can work up to 106 hours a week   ( divider line
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14932 clicks; posted to Main » on 05 Mar 2003 at 7:02 PM (15 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»

170 Comments     (+0 »)

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2003-03-05 10:48:34 AM  
And thats a problem? Buddy of mine does that in 3 days.
2003-03-05 10:59:53 AM  
Wow, 3 days? Where's he get the extra 34 hours?

That said, I'm guessing that being a video game tester is its own reward...for a while. After that though, most of them are probably ready to move on to something without quite so much repetition. The "attention to detail", excellent communication skills and creative problem-solving required for the job probably look great on a résumé.
2003-03-05 12:12:13 PM  
Hey, I live just down the road from Guildford. That's the closest a Fark article has ever come to me!
2003-03-05 12:18:32 PM  
Carpal Tunnel syndrome soon to happen. Call me.
2003-03-05 12:25:42 PM  
Video game tester makes $40K a year, but can work up to 106 hours a week

That's why I chose to become a kagel tester.
2003-03-05 01:16:01 PM  
I've always wanted a job like that, but I think it would get REAL old REAL fast. However, theres nothing quite like getting paid $40K for goofing off ALL THE TIME.
2003-03-05 01:49:24 PM  
My room-mate(another Farker) is a video game tester. It gets old fast. He's working 11 hours days, 7 days a week, playing the same damn game over and over again. The worst part is, you don't even get to pick which game you play.
2003-03-05 05:50:56 PM  
Could you imagine playing some the really aweful games for 106 hours a week? It's not like you get to choose the games. Heck, I'd love to get paid to play Metroid Prime or Madden for 100 hours a week... but if they made me play some some Disney game... Yeesh.
2003-03-05 07:06:46 PM  
I dont care, id love to have video games ruined for 340k a year.
2003-03-05 07:07:39 PM  
-300k thank you.

and poo on flood protection.
2003-03-05 07:08:42 PM  
So that works out to, what, $8 an hour? Sounds like he needs a better job.
2003-03-05 07:08:47 PM  
Could you imagine playing some the really aweful games for 106 hours a week? It's not like you get to choose the games. Heck, I'd love to get paid to play Metroid Prime or Madden for 100 hours a week... but if they made me play some some Disney game... Yeesh.

I would play friggin Barbie's Playhouse for 106 hours a week for $40k a year.
2003-03-05 07:08:47 PM  
Not only do you get to play lousy games, you get to play lousy games that still don't work right! YAY!
2003-03-05 07:10:22 PM  
Trust me, as a person who works/ed for a video game company, it's not as fun as it sounds. You have to beta test very early versions of the game, basically every build the game goes through you have to play. Which means if it's a racing game you have to go through every single lap many upon many times, or if the game has annoying sound effects or music, you have to listen to it over and over again..
Ah, and the hours thing? That's mainly during crunches, like when there is a deadline that has to be met, or in the final stages of the game. The testers at our company worked forty hour shifts mainly because the company paid them by the hour and wouldn't pay them overtime...but that's another story.

It's much funner creating the games, trust me.
2003-03-05 07:11:00 PM  
i like the sound of this job - it seems to be the kind of job you could do drunk.
2003-03-05 07:11:27 PM  
DeathOfRats: I trust you, I trust you. Jeez!
2003-03-05 07:11:42 PM  
And obviously you have to tediously go through every scenario to make sure it works.
2003-03-05 07:11:43 PM  
$40K a year? In the Bay Area? In Marin????

The man is a) not buying a house, b) not saving anything c) not getting any nookie...

Oohch. fwiw I think he's not getting a good deal for wearing his ass out that many hours a week, unskilled labor or no.
2003-03-05 07:11:58 PM  
They obviously wouldn't make you play a game geared for 4-8 years old if your 18+
2003-03-05 07:11:59 PM  
That works out to somewhere between $7 - $8 an hour.

/useless comment
2003-03-05 07:12:21 PM  
Not to burst anyone's bubble, but senior testers (those who log the most bugs and are the most useful to developers and PMs) probably get first pick at whatever "good" games the house creates.

Article mentions Lucasarts. Be great to test SW Galaxies and Jedi Knight 2 - Jedi Outcast all day, but someone has to test Super Bombad Racing and Obi-Wan.

And if you don't get on with a dev house like Lucasarts, and money gets tight, who are the first to be laid off?

Well, technical writers, but QA is a close second.

(former QA lead)
2003-03-05 07:12:53 PM  
$40K in SF? I can tell you right now that kind of money doesn't get you far in the bay area.
2003-03-05 07:13:11 PM  

Well, maybe if *I* had been beta-testing Xenosaga it wouldn't crash when we open segment 16's door in the simulator...

2003-03-05 07:13:41 PM  
Zorgon beat me to it.
2003-03-05 07:13:57 PM  
Reedster I know someone that had to test the interactive Barney Doll. How'd you like that for 106 hours?
2003-03-05 07:14:25 PM  
sounds better than me working 2 jobs, very physical, where I only have time to fark about a hour a day, and sleep 4 hours a day. My back hurts, my brain is on automatic, give me sore thumbs anyday.
2003-03-05 07:14:36 PM  
man, they couldn't pay me enough to play those crappy lucasarts games. too bad sega's kaput :(
2003-03-05 07:14:52 PM  
It's worth saying twice or more, Waterbottle. The article hints at it, as well.
2003-03-05 07:15:58 PM  
Rhiannon, et al, $40k/yr is a little less than $20/hr.

And that's pretty standard for QA, at least up here in Microsoftland.
2003-03-05 07:16:29 PM  
Sorry to burst your bubble, but to test Jedi Knight 2 you'd have to go Raven, and to test SW Galaxies, Verant.
2003-03-05 07:16:41 PM  
Yeah but if anyone has the connections or knows of a place in the D/FW area needing testers let me know. I would like to do that. Currently I work for an ISP and their sister startup CLEC and I'm on call 24/7 and I would seriously like to give game testing a try without having to move to far away.
2003-03-05 07:16:59 PM  
This is what I wrote in my /. comment about working as a QA Lead.

it sucks don't do it.
2003-03-05 07:17:27 PM  
QA sucks! They underpay you, work you long hours, and you are forced to play games over and over and over. I use to do it a while ago, I was good enough to where I decided what game I wanted to work on...

Lets just say it isn't a glory job like some people think.
2003-03-05 07:17:45 PM  
My personal best was 94 hours in a week.
2003-03-05 07:18:03 PM  
Well, for arguments' sake, anyway, LucasArts would have acceptance testers for their license, wouldn't it?

But we know what each other means.
2003-03-05 07:18:04 PM  
Kanyakumari: Not with 107 hour work weeks it's not.
2003-03-05 07:18:24 PM  
Wow. /.'ed and farked in the same day, and the server is still standing. Amazing. Didn't think it could be done.
2003-03-05 07:18:27 PM  
Adam cole check with Terminal Reality up in Lewisville..they usually hire testers regularly.
2003-03-05 07:19:16 PM  
I love how SFGate gives us the option of enlarging this picture:
[image from too old to be available]!!!
2003-03-05 07:19:27 PM  
03-05-03 07:16:59 PM Warcupine
This is what I wrote in my /. comment about working as a QA Lead.

it sucks don't do it.

I agree :) I was in the same position and hated it. I got so burnt out on games I still can't bring myself to playing most unless they are REALLY good. If i find a bug in it... oh man, I just can't touch that game again. UGH, the nightmares!
2003-03-05 07:20:10 PM  
Kanyakumari true true..just didn't want people to assume that everything that comes out of lucasarts/disney/microsoft/et al, actually comes from those playes..gotta give credit where credit is due. ^_^
2003-03-05 07:21:00 PM  
As a lead game tester for San Rafael's LucasArts Entertainment Co., Alamano acknowledges that he works in a kick-back atmosphere, and he likes his $40,000- a-year salary.

Yeah, that's something to be proud of. Are we supposed to be impressed that they make that much for a job which doesn't even require a high school diploma?
2003-03-05 07:21:03 PM  
Anyone working 107 hrs/week exempt from overtime is an fool or a masochist.

Hey! 4:20 pacific time!
2003-03-05 07:21:19 PM  
No thanks, I'll continue to drink beer, live in my parents basement, and fap all day.
2003-03-05 07:21:57 PM  
..playes = places..
2003-03-05 07:23:26 PM  
40,000 in bay area is crap wages, seriously. you'd break even at best.
2003-03-05 07:23:33 PM  
Here's another great quote from the article:

"You say, 'There's a bunch of jerks playing Quake III 24/7,' but then you see the same people having these really intelligent discussions, and you see a different side of them," said Pahlka. "Game developers are passionate about their work and think about it on a more intellectual level than you would imagine."
2003-03-05 07:23:44 PM  
Well, if he ever gets tired of playing video games all day, he can always retire and devote himself full time to playing drums.
[image from too old to be available]
2003-03-05 07:24:25 PM  
My roommate is amazing. I think 118 is his tops.
2003-03-05 07:24:45 PM  
Okay, I have called Warcupine a fool or a masochist for working massive overtime for no pay.

Ha, ha!

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