Friday, February 5, 2010
On PSN right now is a preview of Sony’s The Tester series: a repulsive, degenerative cross between Big Brother and (country)’s Got Talent, featuring 11 gamers who really, really want to become games testers. Watching it really, really makes me want to kill myself. (well, not really)
With Thursday’s update to PSN I had been planning on writing a series on what’s worth getting in each region of the PSN. Plus some photos of cool stuff they’ve removed (Kojima’s Hong Kong tour video is now only available through the search engine, for example).
But instead I’m going to rant about The Tester.
I don’t care what anyone thinks, to me reality TV, especially Big Brother, symbolises the de-evolution of humanity. Five Thousand years of cultural development and refinement, and now we have morons sitting around in sweat pants talking indescribable garbage. Ever seen Mike Judge’s satirical film Idiocracy? It postulates that in 500 years the human species will consist solely of stupid people, where stupidity is rewarded and intelligence criticised – which considering how popular things like Big Brother are, I’d say we’re not far off. We're probably already there.
In case you’ve not seen The Tester on PSN, CLICK HERE.
There are many things wrong with The Tester, here are two:
1) It makes the hobby and everyone interested in it, look stupid. This is not about the “are games art debate”, this about 11 idiots jumping around and putting beer on their cheerios like they’re at some kind of frat party. It doesn’t matter why you personally like games, the image The Tester portrays is one of rank stupidity.
2) Games testing is a sh*t job. I have worked alongside enough ex-testers, spoken to enough people who are testers right now, and have read more than enough blogs and magazine articles to realise that testing is not a cool job. It’s only marginally worse than games journalism: low pay, long hours, awful conditions, run mostly by idiots who invoke Godwin’s law when I try to describe their personalities.
One guy I worked with was once a tester for Rare, and he hated it. He ended up giving up on the industry and, I think, ended up getting some job selling insurance. There was no respect from senior staff and it had an environment of psychological abuse. PLAY magazine had a column by Greg Orlando describing the absolute hell of being a tester (issue 68, Blue Dragon cover). Brandon Justice, in a different issue of PLAY, talked about how badly testers are treated. Look at the anonymous EA and Rockstar blogs which talk about how terrible the conditions, hours and pay are at those companies, especially in testing. I’ve spoken to guys on forums who have ludicrous crunch times, and for 12 hours a day play those insidious Barbie Horse games and other such tween-marketed nonsense. I’ve also read them describing the dark emotional depths they’ve fallen to, living that kind of life in the industry. Destructoid and dozens of other sites have horror stories on being a tester.
Testing is awful.
I find it disturbing that Sony would rope 11 people in, to compete against each other, in an attempt to land a job which is so awful, I’d rather be flipping burgers at MacDonalds. I realise we’re in a global recession and having a job is important, but damn it people, have some self-respect. If Hal Sparks, Brent Gocke, David Jaffe, Katherine de Leon, and the rest of the judgement panel with their sh*t-eating grins, spoke to me like they do to the contestants in the trailer, I’d punch them right in their smug faces.
Katherine de Leon is credited as producer for the abortion that is PlayStation HOME, and yet she has the gall to sit there and pour scorn on a human being to the point that they’re in tears? Who the hell is she to criticise anyone about anything? This isn’t entertainment people, it’s disgusting. I’d find public hangings less offensive than this. At least the dead would have some dignity afterwards.
The worst thing is, this isn’t even for something which I can understand the value of. Like a car, or a house, or loads of money (though the winner does get a small signing bonus), or a respectable job which will pay well and prove satisfying. It’s for the lowest rung on a generally corrupt and unpleasant industry ladder.
If watching the video and reading the hyperlinks doesn’t convince you of the above, well, I frankly don’t have the words that could convince you otherwise. I for one, though, will be boycotting such gaming gangrene.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to hide in a bunker somewhere. Call me when the four horsemen of the apocalypse are finally here.