Although game testing might appear to be all fun and no work, if you do not have what it takes, the game might “break” you instead of you attempting to “break” it.
Learn what it takes to become a game tester, and decide if you’re up for the challenge!
n contrast to most high-paying jobs, game testers can kick-start their careers with just a high school diploma! It is worth noting, however, that having a tertiary education and some programming knowledge can assuredly improve your career prospects.
Since testers not only test websites but work with developers and programming teams. Hence, if you are familiar with programming languages, you will be able to find and report errors much more easily.
Qualities required for becoming a game tester
Despite working for a video game company, don’t expect to lounge on your couch all day playing games with no care in the world.
Deadlines will be set and pressure will be applied to meet those deadlines and to find, ideally, all the errors players will encounter before the game’s release.
Game testing might seem methodical; however, creativity is crucial to its success. One has to think outside the box to find those irksome glitches. Furthermore, one has to be passionate about video games and well-versed in the gaming community.
However, it won’t help much if you are an avid gamer but suffer from “gamer rage”. Significant patience is necessary as one will be doing quite a lot of repetitive work.
Take your game testing to another level
Alternate between gaming devices – Rather than only playing on gaming consoles, switch it up. Though, I do not mean to swap your PS4 for a Nintendo Switch. A game tester needs to be familiar with all the gaming devices to assess how they affect the user experience.
Diversify your gaming genres – Take the time to play different game genres, such as multiplayer battle arenas and real-time strategy games. The result is heightened senses and a better ability to identify common glitches in certain game genres.
Brush up on your English – A common misperception is that a game tester only searches for a few glitches here and there, but that’s not entirely the case.
Game testers are not only on the lookout for objects defying gravity but misspelt words and incorrect use of grammar. So, I advise you to dig out your grade 12 workbooks you stuffed into a cupboard if you still confuse “there” with “their”.
Gain a deeper understanding of game development – Some companies require game testers to identify any type of error, from copyright issues, audio problems, and glitches, to grammatical and spelling errors.
As a result, I suggest you pursue certificates in art design, computer science, and mathematical modelling as this will enable you to spot any errors and offer solutions to developers, maximizing the amount of time before the launch.
Ways to find “bugs”
- Don’t follow the rules.
- Avoid certain actions when instructed or “skip” a few steps to determine if the main objective will still be achieved.
- Make use of all the functions everywhere.
- Ensure that you press every command, at every level, even if they are not necessary, to ensure that they are functional..
- Try unauthorized actions.
- Examine restricted areas. Press various buttons at several locations continuously. Make sure to retrace your steps before completing the level to compare the results. Examine the consequences as well of trying to walk through objects, such as a wall.
- Perform functionality tests.
- Test the menu and its functions to ensure they are operational.
- Evaluate durability.
- Look out for any “surprises”. For instance, attempt to run a game without a memory card for two days and observe its performance.
What to do when an error is found?
Testers need to keep track of how many bugs they reported, the date when they reported them, and the severity of the bug. In the build-up to a game’s release, time is of the essence.
When trivial glitches are prioritized over those that affect the user experience, time is not only wasted but money as well.
Imagine a scenario in which a player enters a car, reverses it, and instead of crashing into the car behind, drives through it. Now suppose in this scenario a player continues to crash into a building roughly 100 times, but with the 101st crash, the car passes through the building.
In both of those two scenarios, a bug was detected. Even so, it’s unlikely that both will be fixed before the release date as there is a significantly higher probability of the imagined occurrence happening in scenario 1 than in 2. Developers would therefore be more concerned with fixing the error in scenario 1 than in scenario 2.
Where to search for a game tester job listing?
In the same way that you would search for any job, you can start by searching for postings on LinkedIn and Upwork. In addition to that, you can browse through popular tech-industry job sites like Monster, or job aggregator websites like Indeed.
It may also be worthwhile to check out job openings at established companies like Electronic Arts, Nintendo, and Ubisoft. As another option, you might want to consider taking a look at a public beta testing site like Game Tester, Alpha Beta or BetaBound.
A common misconception is that anyone can become a game tester since no degree is required. The reality is that in many cases when you lack a degree, you are often expected to accomplish and push yourself much more. The games you evaluate will test your patience, capability, and perseverance.
Are you up for the task?