Tales from The Trenches Archive

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An Incorrect Assumption

One of the most common assumptions people make when they think about the horrors of testing games is that you might be forced to test a kid’s game for 8 hours a day or more. “Can you imagine, you could be on Barbie Horse Adventures!”  I’m here to finally speak on behalf of the testers of the kids’ games.

To be frank, it’s fucking awesome. Having worked on AAA titles as well, I would never want to trade back. The thing about games for kids is that I have no desire to play them. At all. That means I don’t have to ruin a game that I would otherwise want to play and like by logging thousands of hours into it and associating it with some of the most mind-numbing and awful times one can have with a video game.

Because you have to remember, you’re not *playing* these games, you’re testing them. And by the time they’re in any kind of state that’s not riddled with crashes and is actually playable you don’t really have much interest anymore.

But it’s not just because I won’t ruin a good game. They also have nice, short development cycles since there usually isn’t much to them.

That way you don’t wind up looking at the same game for quite as long. But the best part of kids games, THE BEST, is when you’re working with licensed intellectual property. Because the thing is, the good people at Mattel, for example, have an image in mind for Barbie, and they don’t want anything that would possibly ruin that image.  So those adventures she’s having with the horse?  If that horse’s head ever goes anywhere near her crotch, if anything looks like it could be interpreted sexually between her and that horse, that’s a HUGE issue.  It makes for a database of hilarious bugs as well as a crew of testers that are the dirtiest motherfuckers around so that they’ll catch anything that could possibly be interpreted the wrong way.

So next time you think that you can’t imagine a worse hell than working with Dora the Explorer yapping in your ear all day, think again.