A Cool Job
Charles Lane loves playing games, all kinds of games. He has loved games all his life. He has always been interested in computers, too. Today, his love of games and his interest in computers come together in his work. Charles works for a company that makes video games.
Charles did not really plan on this career. "It all started by accident," he says. "A friend of a friend worked for a video game company. He knew how much I loved games, and he told me about a job. It sounded like fun." It was a job as a video game tester.
When a video game company has a new game, they give it to testers. Testers play the game and look for bugs in it. The word bug commonly means an insect, but a bug can also be a problem in a computer program. "For example," says Charles, "you're playing a war game, and you're flying a plane. You drop a bomb on a building but nothing happens—the building is still standing. The bomb didn't work, so you know there's a bug." The company has to find and fix any bugs before they sell the game.
Video game testers need to have good computer skills. They need to understand how computers work. They have to install new hardware and software. Charles did not have great computer skills when he went to the interview for his first job, so he was nervous. However, the interviewer said, "That's OK. We can teach someone to use a computer, but we can't teach someone to love games."
Testers must have strong communication skills, too. They have to write very clear reports on the bugs they find. They have to describe exactly what is wrong in a game. Oral communication skills are important, too. Testers are part of a team. Every day they talk with other people on the team, such as the game designers and programmers. They all want to make their game fun and easy to use.
Charles had to try to imagine all the things that a player at home might do in a game. He played hour after hour, day after day. Did he ever get tired of playing? "You bet!" says Charles. "After 60 hours of testing in a week, you do not want to play games when you get home."
Charles spent three years as a video game tester. Now he is a video game producer. This means that he works on every part of developing a new game. He really enjoys his work. Charles says, "It's a great field to be in."
Source: Adapted from Password 2 by Linda Butler, Longman